CNN Poll: Gingrich soars, Cain drops
November 14th, 2011
12:03 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Gingrich soars, Cain drops

Washington (CNN) - A new national survey of Republicans indicates that it's basically all tied up between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, with Gingrich on the rise and businessman Herman Cain falling due to the sexual harassment allegations he's been facing the past two weeks.

According to a CNN/ORC International Poll released Monday, 24% of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say Romney is their most likely choice for their party's presidential nominee with Gingrich at 22%. Romney's two-point advantage is well within the survey's sampling error.

Full results (pdf)

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While the level of support has pretty much stayed the same for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who's making his second bid for the White House, Gingrich has seen his support jump 14 points since October.

The poll also indicates that 14 percent back Cain, down 11 points from last month. Four women have alleged that Cain sexually harassed them during the late 1990s when he headed the National Restaurant Association. Cain denies the allegations.

"Cain is struggling with the charges of sexual harassment, and while most Republicans tend to dismiss those charges, roughly four in 10 Republicans think this is a serious matter and tend to believe the women who made those charges," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

The survey indicates that only a bare majority of Republicans tend to believe Cain, and more than a third say he should end his presidential campaign. Among the general public, Cain has a bigger credibility problem - 50% of all Americans say they tend to believe the women and only a third say they believe Cain.

"Not surprisingly, there is a big gender gap on this matter - women say this is a serious matter and believe the women, but men say the story has been overblown and are split on which side they believe," Holland added.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is at 12% in the survey, basically all even with Cain for third place in the hunt for the nomination. Perry was at 13% in CNN's October poll. The new survey was conducted Friday through Sunday, entirely after last Wednesday's presidential debate where Perry suffered an embarrassing "oops" moment when the one-time front-runner struggled for nearly a minute to name the third of three federal agencies he would cut if elected president.

While Perry's overall horse race number has not suffered, dig deeper into the poll and it appears the "oops" moment is hurting his standing with Republican voters. In September, 72% of Republicans said Perry had the right personal qualities to be president. A majority of Republicans still feel that way, but that number has dropped 14 points since September.

According to the poll, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who's making his third run for the presidency, is at 8%, with Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota at 6%, former Utah Gov. and former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania each at 3%, and 8% are unsure.

The poll's Monday release comes seven weeks and one day before the Iowa caucuses, the first contest on the primary and caucus calendar. The survey indicates that just over six in 10 Republicans say they may change their minds, with 31% say they will definitely support the candidate they are currently backing.

With Cain dropping and Perry flat-lining, it looks like it's Gingrich's turn to become the "anybody but Romney" candidate. If the GOP race becomes a two-man battle between Romney and Gingrich, the poll indicates they are well-matched. Romney and Gingrich are the two most popular Republican candidates among the GOP rank and file, and the only two with favorable ratings above 50% among the Republicans surveyed.

More than three-quarters of Republicans think both men have the right personal qualities to be president and more than seven in 10 Republicans say they agree with Gingrich and Romney on important issues.

The key difference between Romney and Gingrich is electability. For the first time in CNN's polling, Romney now tops Barack Obama in a head-to-head matchup among registered voters. But Gingrich faces an 8-point deficit when paired with Obama in a general election matchup.

"Among all Americans, 58% say that Romney has the personal qualities a president should have, compared to just 45% for Gingrich. Most Americans don't agree with either man on important issues," Holland said.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, with 1,036 adults Americans, including 480 Republicans and Independents who lean Republican, as well as 552 men and 514 women, questioned by telephone. The overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for questions only of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Also see:

CNN Poll: Support rises for health insurance mandate

Democrats obsessed with Romney?

Cain 'totally respects women,' wife says

soundoff (444 Responses)
  1. Joe

    Gringrich is one of those floaters that simply refuses to flush.

    November 14, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. Turboman

    Geez, this sentence needs to be fixed:

    "The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, with 1,036 adults Americans, including 480 Republicans and Independents who lean Republican, as well as 552 men and 514 women, questioned by telephone."

    'Adults Americans'? What is that? Plus, it makes it sound like you've interviewed 552 men and 514 women IN ADDITION to the 1036 you already listed. How about this instead:

    The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, who questioned by telephone 1,036 American adults (552 men & 514 women), including 480 Republicans and Independents who lean Republican.

    November 14, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. Corporations R. People II

    "So, now the liberal slander machine can move on too Newt."

    So stating facts equates to slander? It may be inconvenient for GOTP that those pesky facts have a liberal bias.
    Gingrich hypocritically went after Clinton's character while engaging in some "extra friskies" himself – fact.
    Gingrich was SOH during the govt shutdown of the 90s – fact
    Gingrich stepped out on his ailing cancer-stricken wife to be a "patriot" – fact.
    Newt can contest these in a court of law should he be so inclined, but he'd lose. Just another family values hypocrite.
    BTW How's Sarah's lawsuit against Joe McGinniss coming along?
    InSanity indeed. Take Herb's words to heart concerning the GOP's failures vying for POTUS: Blame yo'self (not the media)....GOTP sounds like a bunch of whining Bachmanns

    November 14, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Caleb

    Ron Paul is by far the best candidate...he has a great plan to balance the budget in his first 3 years in office...Ending wars that were launched via lies and deception by the government and media....the media also ignores Ron Paul all the time...He has won numerous straw polls and not a word from the media...But when Cain or Gingrich wins a poll the media is there giving them a launch pad...all that aside I dont think anyone should vote for anyone anyway...the point is that a man will never save us or fix all our problems...Why dont we vote for Christ instead...God is waiting for us to stop following men...thats why this world is so pathetic is cause men are ruling it...Christ wants us to understand we dont need to look up to a man we need to look up to God...this also means not being involved in a church group being they all are led by instead of voting for 1 of these puppets vote for God.

    November 14, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. Uncle Joe

    I would like to know how a multi-millionaire like Romney can understand what it feels like not to have enough money at the end of the week to afford health care, a mortgage, or to send kids to college.

    The last person who actually was "one of us" was Harry Truman. He knew what a hard days work was and never used his post-presidency to line his pockets.

    November 14, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. pay2own

    Ron Paul or hyperinflation? you choose. Our American debt IN INTEREST is approximately 400 to 500 billion a year, yet none of the candidate brings a DETAILED plan, just catch phrases, amnesia, and puppet strings. The media tell the sheep who looks presidential, and a veteran air force flight surgeon MD, congressman for over 2 decades that predicted the crisis in 2000 ( YouTube it on c span) gets the most donations from our armed forces is unelectable? This country needs a doctor to stop the bleeding. Ron Paul 2012 or bust

    November 14, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. nat turner

    Send in the next clown!

    November 14, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. Mark

    Unfortunately, anyone of these people are a breath of fresh air compared to who's inhabiting the WH now. They all have more "adult" experiences than "boy-wonder" Obama. I'd vote for any of them, along with the majority in the US over Obama. The Main-Stream-Media, CNN included, can't help their boy now, he's going down.

    November 14, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. El Kababa

    Republicans are not going to nominate a Mormon, a woman, an adulterer, a Libertarian, or a Black person. They are going to nominate a White Evangelical Christian male. Right now it looks like Perry is a shoo-in, but another candidate is likely to emerge between now and the primaries.

    November 14, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Robyn

    So, that makes Gingrich the Grinch the Flavor of the Fortnight.
    Until everyone remembers why they hated him so much the first time around
    and he suffers his next self inflicted implosion and disappears for another decade.

    Seriously, none of these people have a strong enough moral compass to direct themselves to the potty,
    Much less to try to lead a nation of 300 million through some fairly difficult and dangerous times.

    Why doesn't the Republican Party just admit that they don't have a candidate who can navigate the shoals of a 90
    minute debate, much less try to lead the world for eight years. This is no place for amateurs to try to learn on the job.

    November 14, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. ProperVillain

    These statistics prove it: Americans are the dumbest bunch of lemmings in the world.

    November 14, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. kade

    How soon we forget that in the mid-1990s, Gingrich began an affair with House of Representatives staffer.

    November 14, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. BMAC

    Don’t Poo Poo Newt so quickly. He will kill Obama in debates.....A real intellectual against a prompter reader. The way society is today, the only thing that will matter is what they see on TV just before going to vote for the next presidential, and that will be the debates.

    November 14, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. pat carr


    So, now the liberal slander machine can move on too Newt."

    No need to. His past will do the job just fine. Is he the best you Cons have to offer? LOL

    November 14, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. Ben

    Gotta LOVE watching the GOP self destruct. It's the flavor of the week. Racist, Mormon, womanizer, nut case, perfect tea bag candidates. What no witches or warlocks this time around? Sorry I forgot about Bachmann and Santorum.

    November 14, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Woman In California

    Sue wrote:
    Based on all state/national polls–Romney either beats or ties Obama.

    If Romney wins the nomination, Obama WILL be sent back to Chicago in one year!!

    The majority of Independents have indicated in all state/national polls, that they WILL support/vote for Romney over Obama.

    Unemployment and our economy are not going to miraculously recover in one year. Gas/food prices will not go down in one year.

    if Romney wins the nomination-–he WILL be elected in November 2012!!!

    DREAM ON. Most of my family members are independents now and Romney WILL NEVER get their votes but please feel free to dream.

    November 14, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. pat carr

    "The reason you libs call him "Smug, arogant, etc..." is because he's simply intelligent, and you aren't capable of understanding anyone that can discuss the issues in depth; but instead want to cling to the shallow "fads," and "catchy phrases," spewed by the DNC and Obama's minions.."

    uh oh, a Newt-er! Too bad for you silly Cons that he is one of the most immoral men we have in government. That doesn't matter though to the "party of family values"

    November 14, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Bwahahaha!!! Next clown up. Next clown down. The "Anyone but Mitt" parade continues.

    Can't wait for the Patriotic wife cheater to be in the spotlight.

    November 14, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  19. FLIndependent

    It's so fun to read all the posts from Repubs/Tea all just don't know who to hang your hat on. It really makes one's head spin! The sad part is that all you care about is defeating President Obama and suddenly all your "family values", "morals", and "convictions" go out the door. You claim Obama is an elitist yet you support candidates that are ultra rich and wouldn't know how to live like the majority of us, you say you want an "outsider" but are now supporting a guy that was a former (and disgraced) Speaker of the House and another that has been running for President for the past six years or so. You want our country to be safe from the terrorists yet you can't acknowledge that Obama is doing more than Bush ever did to keep us safe and the only thing these other guys have to offer is more war. As an Independent, my vote if Obama for 2012!

    November 14, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  20. Arrest Bush

    I love folks that call Cain's abuse of women a smear campaign. You don't pay out 6 figure settlements to victims unless you're GUILTY!!!

    November 14, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. bill

    It does not really matter..

    Anybody BUT Obama will the general election.

    Including an empty can of paint.

    November 14, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. Burst Bubble/ brad

    Gingrich who is promoting this guy, so laughable. Why don't the republicans just put an honest crook in the WH?
    I am just kidding of course. Ron Paul sounds like a better candidate. Gingrich has no integrity. I wouldn't trust him because he is one of the good old boys and for other things.

    November 14, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. the Old Chief

    If we want to look at values and morality, I'll pick Cain over Gingrich ANY day. If we want to talk knowledge of how to get things done in Washington, albeit in the old croneyism style, I'll have to go with Gingrich. C'mon you guys! I'm an independent who voted for Obama. Please give me an alternative I can vote for without feeling sick to my stomach.

    November 14, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  24. Ryan

    Newt Gingrich has 1,347,430 followers on Twitter and Cain only 165,244...

    The daily ranking of the presidential candidates on social media can be checked at:

    November 14, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  25. Mike

    He's kind of like Nixon–smart guy, not a people person, and very polarizing. He'd make a better vice presidential candidate to appease the conservative base with a moderate republican at the top of the ticket.

    November 14, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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