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. Marie MD

    LOL, really? The teapublikans just changed, again!, from a man who has no respect of women to another loser who asked his wife for a divorce while she was battling cancer (way to be there in sickness andnin health) to marry his third wife, a man who wanted Clinyon impeached while he was doing the same, or worse. A man who.left congress in disgrace and while many Americans can't afford to put food on the table for their families he goes to the Greek Islands on a cruise and he has a $500,000 (half a million for four and akquitter who don't understand numbers) credit line at Tiffanys. Yep, what a bunch of hypocrites!!

    November 14, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. pierre

    American people are so fickle... because they change candiates lke sun pops out. Whom ever they pick america problems, it is nt going solve lke they want. change is nt going to come overnite...Bt as far as who stick to there views newt does it better than one of them. thanx pierre glenn columbia mo.

    November 14, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. gwats

    I guess Newt is hoping every registered Voter in the Country has a bad long term memory. Between his total disaster as the house Speaker in Congress, his multiple marriages including his current 'Stepford wife', he's totally unqualified to be President. Keep on trotting these walking, talking Zombies out there, GOP.

    November 14, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. bman

    Newt is the real reason Bill Clinton gets so much credit for his presidency. Newt, as speaker, balanced the budget, reformed welfare and increased defense and intelligence capabilities, all against President Clintons best judgement. The result: Budget surpluses which are always credited to Clinton by the left, 60% of welfare recipients were able to find jobs or get job training and of course, strong national defense and intelligence gathering speaks for itself. I can't think of a better person to fix all the problems Obama has refused to even address.


    November 14, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. rrinbr

    Obama is in trouble with an approval rate in the mid 40's overall, while Gingrich is surging to a tie with Romney where both are in the mid 20's just among Republicans. Sounds like Obama has the advantage here.

    November 14, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. Indy Jim

    I think they coded the poll wrong, they show Cain with more support in November than he had in October? Anyone else think the stat's geek messed this one up?

    November 14, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. Indy Jim

    On a side note, if they could pull it off, a ticket of Romney and Gingrich would be a strong one in my opinion.

    November 14, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. Anthony

    Newt is the smartest man running or in office hands down. His problem is that most Americans do not understand the issues nor do they care to understand the issues. It really comes down to people's perception, speaking ability and overall likeability of a candidate as portrayed by the media.

    November 14, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. John N. Seattle, WA

    While watching these guys run around attacking each other is fun TV, I dont thing ANY of them can stand up to Obama in 2012, ESPECIALLY since no GOP candidate will have even the full support of their own party! Some wont vote for Romney because he is Mormon, some wont vote Cain because he is black...and most wont vote for Perry or Bachman because they are just plain stupid! If this field represents the conservative sides "best and brightest", we are ALL in trouble!

    November 14, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. cpabooks

    I think the legend is backwards. Nov 2011 should be gray, right? Red for Oct 2011. I haven't read all the comments, but this hasn't been mentioned.

    November 14, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. NeonLeon

    These CNN polls are very accurate and are not designed to control your vote.

    November 14, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. corby

    The graph legend is wrong

    November 14, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Robert

    Gingrich is the next in the media-powered flavor of the month/ anyone but Romney. The impact of the media on the presidential campaign is discussed in Bringhurst & Foster, The Mormon Quest for the Presidency: From Joseph Smith to Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman (2011).

    November 14, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. Mary

    How many times has Gingrich cheated on his marriage? A strict consertative cannot vote for him.

    November 14, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. Tom

    Any of these republicans have a better plan than 'hope and change'. And, now we know that Obama cannot lead. So, whoever comes out of GOP will be good for our country!

    November 14, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. Jeff

    The chart incorrectly shows Gingrich was tied in October and has now fallen in November.

    November 14, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. Nlanigan

    So, a CNN poll is now indicative of who is running the pack??? It's a sad day for America that any of them might be chosen over the only damn honest one standing on any stage-RON PAUL 2012

    November 14, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. mb2010a

    What's with the graph anyway? The graph says Cain is way ahead of Gingrich, just the opposite of what the article says??

    November 14, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. chiles

    Not Newt. I can't bring myself to vote for a guy that was cheating on his wife while she was going through chemotherapy!

    November 14, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. Nacho1

    At this point in time I don't think it really matters as much as it did a few years ago. Our country is in very sordid shape as is most of Europe and the middle east............this world in which we live is about to collapse economically.............there is NO candidate on either side who has the answer to economic survival.

    November 14, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. estibaliz

    Obama is a pathological lying narcissist.

    Newt /Cain 2012 !!

    November 14, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  22. greg

    Hey, make sure you guys don't let Ron Paul get the same amount of answer time. He's the only candidate that could evoke the change we need. All the other candidates are a complete waste of time and we're going to get the same results with all of them. Not that it matters though, 2013-2017 will be the hardest hit economic times in the US. Civil War II in right around the corner. Get ready.

    November 14, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. Rsprings

    Cain is in pain..Only only a democratic candidate can survive this type of stuff....remember Bill Clinton? You know the guy who just won't go away. Newt..probably not electable on the national level...but a real good idea man. I think it is going to boil down to Romney. Obama is bad for the country and needs to go.

    November 14, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. dreamer96

    Newt Gingrich on foreign policy.....

    Newt Gingrich is raising funds and speaking out against Obama's decision to withdrawl from Irag...

    Funny in a very sad ironic way, because Mr. Gingrich played such an important secret role in the planning of the war in the first place.. Hired as a consultant to the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, by Rumsfled, and Cheney, Newt was involved from the start, that is in September of 2001, just days after the September 11th attack, invited to a 19 hours planning meeting at the Pentagon, on what to do in response to the 9-11-2001 attack. Even at this early date Newt was pushing the invasion of Iraq as the opportunity to replace Saddam... the members of that meeting agreed to attack Iraq as soon as the initial phase of the war with Afghanistan was over. Newt has stated ”If we don’t use this as the moment to replace Saddam after we replace the Taliban, we are setting the stage for disaster.” Newt was right there with Cheney and Rumsfled involved in several meetings at the Pentagon and the CIA. One reference to back this up is a March 16th 2011 story by Megan Carpentier, just google it.

    Who decided to disband the Iraq army leaving the pipeline, power plants, arms depots unprotected, even Patton used Nazi's to run the country until he had people to replace them...

    Disbanding the Iraqi army led to looting, blown up oil wells and pipelines, looted weapons, and IED's...

    Was that your idea Newt?

    Newt failed in his foreign policy...

    He is too reckless with the lives of our many who never serve in uniform...Cheney took 5 deferments to stay out of Vietnam, Bush trained on an obsolete aircraft...

    After how many dead, and wounded U.S. soldiers, maybe Newt should just call it a day, and go home and file for bankruptcy

    November 14, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. Roger

    Cain never was in the race. So it doesn't matter what he did or didn't do. He did what many men in power do: abuse that power. What else is new!? Not presidential material anyway. So it's a non-issue. Always was.
    Not a single one of Repub candidates remembers that the reason the health care law got passed was not that it made anybody happy, but that it made everybody equally UNhappy. That's the political "sweet spot", when everybody is equally ticked off. Or maybe they all have a memory like Perry's... here today, gone tomorrow.
    They also forget that it passed because the CBO confirmed that it would reduce the deficit over 20 years. A fact that Repubs conveniently forget since it raises the question: Why abolish a law that will reduce the deficit when you are so much against the growing deficit? The deficit problem IS a reflection of the health care problem, solve one and the other nears solution. That's just one of the illogical stances that all the Repub candidates take that makes me wonder if they have a brain. If you draw conclusions on just the facts you like, rejecting or ignoring the rest, you can justify almost any conclusion you want to. They want to get rid of health care, so they conveniently ignore the link between health care and the deficit. For a President, that kind of "cherry-pick the facts you like" thinking could be extremely dangerous. We saw that kind of thinking with Bush – big time. And it has cost us many of our sons and daughters.

    November 14, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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