Poll: Good news for Gingrich and Obama in early states
December 11th, 2011
01:06 PM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Good news for Gingrich and Obama in early states

(CNN) – Newt Gingrich is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination in the early primary states of South Carolina and Florida, but he and fellow top-tier candidate Mitt Romney fall short when faced with President Barack Obama, according to a new survey.

The NBC News/Marist poll released Sunday showed Gingrich, the former House speaker, leading Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, by 19 percentage points in South Carolina and by 15 points in Florida as he continues his surge in the 2012 race.

In South Carolina, which hosts the first primary in the South, Gingrich received 42% to Romney's 23% among likely Republican primary voters. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas followed with 9% while Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Texas Gov. Rick Perry tied at 7%. The other candidates received less than 5%. A similar survey taken in October had Romney vying for the lead with then-candidate Herman Cain, who suspended his campaign amid controversy earlier this month.

In Florida, the site of another early primary, Gingrich led Romney by 44% to 29%, followed by Paul with 8% among likely Republican primary voters. The remaining candidates received less than 5%. The Sunshine State figures are another blow to Romney, who was in a close battle with Cain for the top spot in the October poll.

CNN/TIME/ORC polls released recently showed similar results with Gingrich ahead of Romney by 23 percentage points in South Carolina and Florida.

However, Obama would beat Gingrich and Romney in both states, according to polling results on such hypothetical general election match-ups in South Carolina, a reliably Republican state and the battleground of Florida.

Obama, who lost South Carolina to Sen. John McCain in 2008, leads Romney there, 45% to 42%, a disparity within the margin of error. Obama also leads Gingrich 46% to 42%. The result is a reversal for Romney, who bested the president by six percentage points in the October poll.

In Florida, a state Obama captured in the last election, he would beat Romney 48% to 41% and Gingrich 51% to 39% in a potential match-up. In October, voters were divided between Romney and Obama.

The new figures also showed voters in the two crucial states are more committed to their choices than they were in October, with 43% of likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina saying they are firmly behind their choice and 47% saying the same in Florida.

However, Gingrich received more loyal support from his backers than Romney. Half of the voters in South Carolina who said they were behind Gingrich reported unwavering support, while 34% who backed Romney said the same. The difference was even greater in Florida, where 60% of Gingrich backers said they were strongly behind him and 38% said the same about Romney.

In South Carolina, 2,107 registered voters, 957 potential Republican primary voters and 635 likely voters were questioned by telephone between Dec. 4 and Dec. 6, with respective sampling errors of 2.1 percentage points, 3.2 percentage points and 3.9 percentage points.

In Florida, 2,119 registered voters, 683 potential Republican primary voters and 469 likely voters were questioned by telephone between Dec. 4 and Dec. 7, with respective sampling errors of 2.1 percentage points, 3.8 percentage points and 4.5 percentage points.

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Polls • President Obama • South Carolina
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Greg

    Wait a sec, I thought all of the Liberals taught us that everybody in the south is a racist redneck? And yet, here is South Carolina leaning Obama in a hypothetical race? What does that tell us about Hysterical Liberal Social Philosophy? Sounds to me like Southerners are just as easily swayed as everyone else in the country.

    So how about it Liberals? If everyone in the south is a racist, why are they leaning Obama?

    December 11, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Bushper

    The American middle class is seeing time and again that President Obama is out fighting for them everyday while the GOP is fighting for their Wall Street and Big Bussiness bosses.

    December 11, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. mark

    If the liberal press talks America into Obama again you mine as well call it quits

    December 11, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Keith in Austin

    Obama's Divide and Conquer, Class Warfare strategy will ultimately lead to his re-election implosion next year. Simply put, we are the UNITED States and as Americans, UNITY is what separates us from 3rd-World and/or Socialistic nations. Obama Pointing his blame at the "so called" wealthy or anyone with opposing views just won't wash among the multitudes of voters that know in their hearts that false promises from a President's overspent, bloated nanny Government primarily appeals to only those that expect Government to control the outcome of their lives. The TRUTH is that self reliance, hard work, sacrifice and the committed belief in oneself is the typical formula that leads to success in America. NOT th veil promises of hope from the Government in a sordid quest for more votes and continuance of political power!

    December 11, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    If the Republicans would have tried to support the President for the people of America...and the programs that Obama tried to have instituted were in fact allowed...and those programs were a complete failure...then I would be ready to find a new President. But, that isn't what happened. They did to him like they did to Clinton and stayed true to their announcement at the outset of this President's term that they wanted him to fail and would do whatever it would take to so. Even as we the American public were crushed by the Republicans resolve. It is too late for the Republicans to come back and say they want to help America!

    December 11, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. matrix09

    I love it. It truly show the character of the Republican electorate. They talk about morals and ethics, and then line up behind the most corrupt individual their party is running. Could it be because he, above all the other's truly represents what they are?

    December 11, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. vivian

    Gingrich against Obama? Really? Thank you, God!!!!!!! Four more years!!!!! There is simply no comparison between them. Obama will mop the floor with Gingrich. As corporately bought and owned as Obama is, he is light years better than the best Republican candidate. But, really, Newt Gingrich? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Newt? LMAOROF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 11, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    lol. Romny was the only one who had any chances in beating Obama. He cudda potentially stole some dem. votes. no way dem. voters gonna support Gingrich:)

    December 11, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. mojo

    This is not unexpected. As it gets closer to election day most voters not committed to straight party tickets, will prefer the known to the unknown. Obama has done just enough to win. He hasn't met our expectations and his disapproval ratings not withstanding, has not been as dynamic as we'd like. But, the economy is a bit stronger, 401K's are back to normalcy, housing is bit better, jobs are slowly coming back, our troops are coming home and Bin Laden is dead. That said, the Republicans have failed miserably in producing a viable candidate.

    December 11, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. JT

    Well the nomination of Gingrich is proving that to Evangelicals this election is not about values (given the likelyhood of them nominating the ethically challenged Gingrich) as it is about protecting their political base. They simply don't want a Mormon candidate, even if that candidate has strong family values.

    December 11, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Robert

    I dont think so, I would not in no way vote for Gingrich. he is a loser, and cnn poll don't realy know how I or others would vote. they only call people that would support gingrich it's all riged.

    December 11, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. Niki

    I'm quite floored by the results. I thought Obama would lead over both Gingrich and Romney, but perhaps not in SC and FL and certainly not by this much. Like many others, the GOP candidates in general are just undesireable. I really like Ron Paul, but again like many others, I don't like the idea of removing all of government all together!

    December 11, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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