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. Just Me

    LOL. The Republican field is a bunch of clowns. Every one and their momma knows this. It will be a shoe in for Obama come next November. The only thing the Republican clowns had to go after Oboma was the economy, which they manufactured past (Bush) and present (Saying NO to job bills etc) to blame Oboma for the economy. Despite their obstruction, the economy is begiining to breath life again, and by Novemeber 2012 will be off life support and breathing it's own despite it will still be weak, but stronger than when Bush left office. So, this poll is an omnious sign, and a sign of things to come. When you see South Carolina tilting towards Oboma, you know the Republican clowns are in trouble.

    December 11, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. carly

    Doesn't much matter if it will be Romney or Gingrich. Either one will lose in 2012 and hopefully Obama's supporters will also wash away all GOP House and Senate candidates in that election to clean out the obstructionists once and for all. In addition it would be great not to hear Norquist's name for the next 4 years.

    December 11, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. jo an

    I will spend every waking moment and every 'spare dime' for OBAMA...the others are too scary...Go Obama.

    December 11, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. GJ

    Lol. If South Carolina of all places is truly that close for Obama, the GOP is screwed in 2012.

    December 11, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. Noodle Nose Johnson

    This is what everyone has been saying for a long time. Obama lose to "someone else" in a hypothetical matchup but clobbers the GOP candidate when they have a name like Gingrich or Perry or Romney. Obama has been governing with one house of congress tied behind his back and has still made progress in turning this country around. He deserves and will get 4 more years.

    December 11, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. Mike Brooks

    I cannot imagine anyone supporting Obama. Department store Santa's are reporting that 25% of the children they see are asking for basic necessities like food, blankets, shoes, and clothing; half of those kids are asking that Santa help mommy or daddy get a job! Obama has taken more Wall Street money than all of his Republican opponents combined, and he and his family jet off to vacations in tropical situated five star hotels, fete parties with the rich and connected, and his campaign openly plans on throwing working and middle class whites to the dogs in their election calculus. Just an observation, but Obama's lemmings are looking more like sociopaths than political partisans.

    December 11, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Angy

    I'm not surprised. People aren't stupid. We can see through the rethugs lies.

    December 11, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. T'sah from Virginia

    ◄Perry said he would support "a constitutional amendment that would allow our children to pray in school any time that they would like."

    Why can't each individual do that NOW???? Perry and the other candidates are such morons!! There is a moment of silence EVERY DAY in the school my kids/grand-kids go to and during that time, they PRAY in their OWN religion!!!

    ►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.◄

    Case closed!! – Obama 2012 because everyone else from the RIGHT are Frightening!!!

    December 11, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. Anthony

    Yes, Republicans, it is time to panic. Your two best candidates are losing to a president when the unemployment rate is at 8.6%.

    December 11, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. yu

    How's that is a good news for Obama. One of these clowns can't beat Obama in general election.

    December 11, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. judith

    It's obvious that Obama is a far better choice than either Romney or Gingrich, if any rational thought it applied. The Republican Party has drifted way too far to the extreme right for most of us. Couplet hat with the GOP tendency to protect the wealthy at all costs during times when ordinary Americans are struggling, and you have a perfect storm coming to defeat the GOP.

    December 11, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. David

    The very thought of these two going head to head in the coming election makes me sick. I don't want either of them for President. We need more choices than this...

    December 11, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Positive

    Comparing President Obama to any of the alternatives makes it clear he is the only choice for President. Watching the debates all the Republican candidates want to do is double down on the bad policies that got us in this mess in the first place. No thanks!

    December 11, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. Yeah!

    This has got to be among the best quotes of all time.

    "As an American I am not so shocked that Obama was given The Nobel Peace Prize without any accomplishments to his name, because America gave him the White House based on the same credentials."

    ~Newt Gingrich

    December 11, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. Arran Webb

    If Newt can keep his cool I would like to see him tangle with the Obama/Hilary team that is in the wings. Blabbing Joe B. is out feeding the fowls from here out.

    December 11, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  16. a disgrace

    obama's failed presidency is already over...

    December 11, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. DDanny1

    Alright! Sounds like we'll get a liberal no matter who wins.

    December 11, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. tigerakabj

    The more people see this GOP debate, even in traditionally red states (as was the case in North Carolina and Indiana in 2008) will start the tip towards President Obama. All of these debates show that the GOP has got no clue as to how to better this economy and our foreign policy credentials overseas. It's all foolishness, anti-everything Obama, and 'those people" (illegals, poor, OWS) are gonna get us and our money.

    Whoever's left standing after this reality tv show is over, I will enthusiastically give my vote to President Obama and the Dems next year.

    Obama/Biden/E.Warren 2012

    December 11, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. partysstink

    Why is it each group has there own polls that show what they want them too.

    December 11, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  20. deb

    Obama will be my vote in 2012!–although it's been a tough few years for him–I think he deserves another chance! And hopefully–the economy will be in a better place and the republicans will get on board with doing what is needed for the country–and not for their own (and the wealthiest) selfish goals.

    December 11, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  21. edmundburkeson

    So what's the good news? Four more years of poverty for America? Obama is like Bush on steroids!

    December 11, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    President Obama's strength will grow as Independents and Moderate (RINO) Republicans become clearly faced with a terrorist "Right" wing or a consistently Moderate incumbent.

    Terrorist is a strong word but well earned... Republicans have shown a total disregard for all but the rich and connected, willing to punish everyone in their political submission holds on any number of things that will be good for a greater majority AND the good of the Country.

    December 11, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. Shane Botwin

    It doesn't matter which clown emerges from the GOP circus car. They can't even muster up a candidate capable of beating a wildly unpopular president. Faux News has destroyed the GOP.

    December 11, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Rodney hughes

    If romney and gingrich are anything like the house and senate republicans the middle class is still in trouble

    December 11, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. Clwyd

    Well, Praise the Lord! All this Holier than Thou crap and then a life of sin had me scared! Maybe voters won't be as stupid as I thought!

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