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. David

    Gingrich would wipe the floor with Obama in a debate. Of course Gingrich actually knows what he is doing which can not be said of Obama.

    November 14, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. Greg

    What a nice picture, with everybody doing the Pledge of Allegiance.

    If there had been a single gentleman in that group, he would have fetched a stool for Ms. Bachmann to stand on.

    November 14, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. Cedar Rapids

    "Sanity – So, now the liberal slander machine can move on too Newt."
    Its only slander if its false and theres plenty about Newt that is known and factual, sorry.

    November 14, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. Mark G.

    Predicatable playbook, Ron Paul is the ONLY ONE that the rebublicans could turn to to gather momentum, yet we all know how corrupt the party, the government, and the media is when it comes to cronyism. So let's trot out another useless party hack. You guys are laughable and so very obvious.

    November 14, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. MaxNatoma

    So, Gingrich is about the third or fourth choice? Impressive. LOL.

    November 14, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. frespech

    What I find most disturbing is that all of us must go through this crap for the next 11 months. Enough is enough.
    Romney beats Obama head to head but most Americans don't agree with Romney or Gingrich on important issues.
    So who do they agree with?

    November 14, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. laughingalltheway

    Baskin and Robbins can't make enough flavors to keep up with the latest GOP-of-the-month.

    November 14, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    Just think. When the GOP regain power, they will start a war with Iran (totally unfunded of course). Then they will draft all the poor people to fight(die) in the war (just like the GOP wants) and give "no bid" contracts to the rich people. Killing two birds with one stone!!! Then we can use Iran's oil to pay for the war. And when the war is over, Iran will sell us cheap oil!!! Just like Iraq........Oh wait........Never mind.

    November 14, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Jay Jay

    Obama in 2012. It's a done deal.

    November 14, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. jb

    Obama will win, no one stands a chance against him.

    November 14, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. Bible Clown

    "Considering the terrible damage Obama has done to our nation" You are a gullible fool, or a liar. Considering that you also said you 'like Newt,' I'm gonna go with liar.

    November 14, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. a6102658

    valwayne: Obama can debate the whole Republican party in one room and still come out ahead, this is why Limbaugh, Beck, top republican resource to name calling, because in substance, they are lost, remember, Republicans run on fear and Fox News, but put them in a room with Obama and they are out of sorts.

    November 14, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. billy

    Turn out the lights the party is over for CAIN - God is Great!

    November 14, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  14. Laurie

    This is pretty amazing. Newt is the face and voice of ignorance, arrogance and all that is wrong with the GOP. Are the voters really stupid enough to not go with their most likely chance of a win. Not only do Republicans try to do everything to defeat Obama, it appears they do everything to defeat themselves...I guess they just are in a lose-lose situation.

    November 14, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. David, CA

    More proof of the psychitzophrenic implosion of the GOP. Good riddance.

    November 14, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. Frank

    So, Mr. Gingrich, if America got cancer, would you just up and leave it for a prettier, younger, healthier nation?

    November 14, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. John B

    Gingrich talks about the "failure" of President Obama as if anyone would be better. We'll find out what failure really is though if the American People don't get rid of the tea party. We need the Dems to fix this economy. We know the Republicans are only interested in the rich.

    November 14, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. felix

    Newt has no chance of being POTUS. Maybe Romney will pick him up as a running mate. But I'll put my bets on Huntsman for that role.

    November 14, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. wirelessjohn

    Ron Paul will be the next president of the USA. Ask a few people yourself.

    November 14, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. george S

    Gingrich is not stupid. I think his real strategy is to become a kingmaker for Romney...and become Romney's VP along the way. He can deliver the Conservatives...act as Romney's attack dog....and basically direct Romney in the same way as Cheney did Bush.

    November 14, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. Lynn

    Another poll out this afternoon by PPP shows Gingrich in the lead. Family values' voters found their candidate!

    November 14, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. open400

    Here is a candidate that talks about conservative values but certainly has not demonstrated that in his privarte life. He is also talking about repealing the Sarbannes Oxely and Dodd Frank laws. Both laws that were put in place to check the banks and Wall Street. Do we want to go back to Wall Street and the banking system of the year 2000?

    November 14, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. nick2

    I would say that the Republican hopes for a Presidential change, are looking pretty dismal right now – with not quite 25% of their followers agreeing on a contender. The 'anyone but Obama' mantra will not get out the vote since there is really no appetite for experimenting with 'fixing' the recession any more. If the economy inexorably improves – and there is perceptible improvement, as little as it may be – then the White House is really Obama's to keep.
    But even more chilling for the GOP, is the growing dislike the Tea Party is generating. The three (rapidly fading) sweetheats of that flash in the pan movement are/were Perry, Bachmann and of course Cain.
    While the OWS phenomenon amy never translate into a formal political muscle – it is indisputable that a very large body of ordinary Americans identify with their values – and these values run counter to mainstream Republican ideology.

    November 14, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. mg

    Wow, things other candidates are looking so bad now that Gingrich is actually starting to look good. That's pretty bad.

    November 14, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. Mott the Hoople

    Cool! An adulterer surges ahead of a pizza king. This is the best that America can offer?

    November 14, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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