CNN Poll: Gingrich lead gone, dead even with Romney
December 19th, 2011
11:55 AM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Gingrich lead gone, dead even with Romney

Washington (CNN) - Newt Gingrich's lead in the race for the GOP presidential nomination has evaporated, according to a new national survey.

A CNN/ORC International Poll released Monday indicates that 28% of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say the former House speaker is their choice for their party's nominee, with an equal amount supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. In CNN's previous national poll, conducted last month, Gingrich held a 24%-20% margin over Romney. And Gingrich's lead over the rest of the field of candidates was even larger in other surveys conducted at the beginning of this month.

Full results (pdf)

"Early-December polls from other organizations tended to show Gingrich's support in the mid-30s with Romney in second place, so the current figures indicate that Romney has recently gained ground at Gingrich's expense," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to the new CNN survey, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is in third place at 14%. That's a five point rise for Paul since last month's poll. The survey indicates Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota at 8%, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 7%, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at 4%, former Utah Gov. and former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman at 2%, and nine percent undecided.

With 15 days left until the Iowa caucuses, which kickoff the presidential primary and caucus calendar, the poll indicates that only 35% of Republicans are definitely supporting the candidate they're currently backing, with the rest undecided or willing to change their minds.

So what's behind Romney's rise and Gingrich's drop in the poll?

"Romney's appeal to Republican voters seems to be based mostly on his personal qualities, many of which - including likability and trustworthiness - are problem areas for Gingrich. For Romney, that's not a bad position to be in when six in ten Republicans say that personal characteristics will matter more than issues when they decide which GOP candidate to support," Holland said.

The survey indicates that a plurality of Republicans nationwide say that Romney best represents the personal qualities a president should have. Romney is viewed as the most honest and trustworthy candidate, with only 12% saying that Gingrich is the most trustworthy Republican in the race - his lowest score on any item tested.

And Romney is seen as the most likable Republican in the field, beating Gingrich and Bachmann on that measure by a two-to-one margin.

"Gingrich has one major advantage - he remains the candidate who Republicans view as the strongest leader, with more than four in ten giving Gingrich a thumbs-up on leadership," Holland added.

Just over four in ten Republicans say that they think Romney, who's making his second bid for the White House, is most likely to win the GOP nomination, regardless of whom they are backing, with Gingrich four points back at 37%. Everyone else is in single digits. As for which candidate has the best shot of beating President Barack Obama next November, 36% say Romney and 35% say Gingrich, with everyone else in single digits.

More than eight in ten Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democratic party say they want Obama to be renominated next year.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from Dec. 16-18, with 1,015 adult Americans, including 436 Republicans and independents who lean Republican and 497 Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democratic party, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Also see:

Bachmann pauses in Iowa tour to talk 'myth' of Kinsey Report

Paul claims Bachmann 'hates' Muslims

S.C. governor rallies crowd for Romney

Filed under: 2012 • CNN/ORC International poll • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Polls • Republicans
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. Dan Thomas

    There are some grammatical errors in my previous upload: Perry up and out ; Cain surged, was castigated, and now is purged; Gingrich down and is losing ground; next up Ron Paul...pleeeease, pleeease don't even consider giving Bachmann any consideration. She is so hell bent on getting her message out that she can't remember facts to recite them accurately. I follow MEET THE PRESS (primarily because I am a Tim Russert fan – but I do like David Gregory's style as well) and I caught part of her act Sunday before her hemming and hawing and errant insight on what she believes Obama to be responsible for caused David Gregory to try to stop the diatribe. Iowans educate yourselves what you see now is what you will probably get more of should she get the Republican nod.

    December 19, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. loathstheright

    You mean the immoral, unethical, corrupt republican voters are losing faith in an immoral, unethical, corrupt adulterer? Well, they can go with the job and company destroying, golden tablets, special underwear Mitt then.

    December 19, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. Ricardo

    I find it interesting reading the polls to find that we have had many frontrunners who once the spotlight is aimed at them, they fall apart. Michele Bachaman started out strong and then we began to pay attention to what she said and decided that she was not a good choice. We all waited on baited breath for Rick Perry to announce and once he did we found that he was not the savior we had been promised. He too rose and fell. Then was Mr. Cain. A black man with a simple message. All of a sudden, 999 gave us at least an actual proposal. He forced all to talk about important issues and they did. Rick Perry formulated his own tax plan. Once again the heat from the spotlight melted what seem to be a solid contender. Initially, his denial of the accusations was good enough but the number of women stepping up became impossible to ignore and all at once his denials became sleazy. Then there was Newt. He started to sound like a good option until voters started to read the fine print. The more he talks the worse it gets. Newt will go down kicking and making his message more strident as he falls. He just loves to be heard. Now Ron Paul is rising? How long will he last in the limelight before he starts to sound as out of touch with reality?

    Through it all, Mitt Romney has carried himself in a steady presidential fashion. There is just something fake about him that makes it difficult to jump on board completely but as they all fall around him, he will rise as the prettiest horse in the glue factory. His flip-flops and his liberal stance on many issues will play well in the general election but he has to be careful not to over do it trying to appeal to the right. If he, once again, changes his colors, he will widen his already large credibility gap.

    This rise and fall of front-runners speaks to a very weak field where a strong challenge to President Obama is unlikely.

    December 19, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. El Kababa

    Republicans have an awkward problem. The only candidates they like are the ones they don't know. When they pick a candidate – Bachman, Cain, Perry, Gingrich – and start to learn about that candidate, they don't like him or her. They all agree that they hate Obama – though none of them knows why – but they can't find anyone to love.

    December 19, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    > And he still beats every Republican candidate out there, including "anti-Romney".

    Campaign hasn't even started for the Whitehouse and generic Republicans, as well as Romney, beat Obama in polls. He's riding above 50% disapproval, country heading in the wrong direction up into the 70s. It is widely agreed the only way Obama can win is a scortched earth campaign against opponents because he has nothing positive to say about his term. His hallmark accomplishment is Obamacare and he doesn't say a word about it.

    He's been out there blathering so much I think the American people have become immune to his lies.

    December 19, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. DDanny1

    This is going to happen to any candidate that takes the lead. I think Romney is the only one who even has a chance against Obama due to a potential to do better with independents and moderate Democrats. HOWEVER, wait until the Obama campaign rolls the flip side of the "Job Creation Record" he's so proud of. Try this. Google "Bain Capital Dade Dade International". You will see Romney's spin, over 2100 jobs created. "Investors" made over $242million. But you want to look at the SEC filings to get the information that HAS TO BE TRUE. 75% of the initial "Investors" were Bain capital or it's principals that bought the company in 1990, laid off 1700 workers in the U.S., created 2100 jobs in foreign countries, increased debt by $500million, "increased" assets by $1BILLION (think Enron. A plant that was valued at $32million during the sale in 1990 was valued at $194million in 1994 despite the fact 40% of the equipment and 55% of the jobs went to Puerto Rico). In 1994 the company was "sold" to another investment group which included Bain capital ($30Million investment) and Goldman Sachs ($640Million of other peoples money). Company eventually went bankrupt and was sold to a German company and moved to Germany.
    Good luck polishing that t_rd.

    December 19, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. crc

    don't you want to know the truth about Gingrich? Or do you want another Obama?

    December 19, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. Aaron

    there is a MAJOR omission here.

    if you look at the full report, note that of 1015 participants, 814 where contacted via land-line, and just 201 by cellphone.

    how many 21-30 year olds do you think fell into the land-line demographic??
    i think there are some consequential impacts on this survey which make it very unlikely to be the most accurate representation of the voting demographic across the US.

    December 19, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. bear0402

    Gingrich is just like Cain. Flavor of the moment. Republican turrets is in full swing.

    December 19, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. bob

    Losing "momentum"? Losing his mind is more like it. Ignoring Supreme Court decisions he doesn't like? Maybe like the one making corporations people?

    December 19, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Hwt123

    Congrats to Ron Paul who is winning Iowa in two new polls out...Ron Paul was Robbed of three delegates in 2008 in Nevada so Ron Paul looks to win the election..The PPP pole has Ron Paul leading with 23 percent over Mitt ( owned by Goldman Sacks ) Romney .

    December 19, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. joe

    Wake me when they finally wise up to the fact that the only candidate really qualified to be president is Jon Huntsman.

    December 19, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Annexian

    Should be obvious the Republicans now as in the last election do NOT want to win.
    Cain and the Grinch compete in repulsive abrasive personalities plagued by scandal after scandal. Romney is a member of the Church of Moron which the "Good Christians" can't stand.

    They get to blame a Democratic president for all their looting and incompetence, then use blocking (threatening filibusters, blocking bills, threatening government shutdown) to get more than they'd have gotten with the presidency.

    December 19, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. vic , nashville ,tn

    Mr. Newt democrats didn’t dump you. your own party members talking bad about you

    December 19, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Annexian

    Should be obvious the Republicans now as in the last election do NOT want to win.
    Cain and the Grinch compete in repulsive abrasive personalities plagued by scandal after scandal. Romney is a member of the Church of Mormon which the "Good Christians" can't stand.

    They get to blame a Democratic president for all their looting and incompetence, then use blocking (threatening filibusters, blocking bills, threatening government shutdown) to get more than they'd have gotten with the presidency.

    December 19, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. coy4one

    The fact that there is a major up and down roller-coaster ride for each of the Republican candidates goes to show that the Republican voting base is either unsure or unhappy with the entire group of Republicans running for office. I doubt any of them will be able to beat President Obama in the November 2012 elections. After the Iowa caucuses, I predict that one or two will drop out, but by Spring, Perry, Bachman will be gone. However, people don't feel comfortable with Romney and like his dad, will only be a loser in the long run.

    December 19, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  17. angryirish

    Meh...this is just more of the same news. The only the thing the majority of the GOP can seem to agree on is "not Mitt."

    December 19, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. John N. Seattle, WA

    Who cares? At this point it is PAINFULLY obvious (or should be!) that NONE of the Republican candidates have a snowball's chance in Hades of EVER becoming President! The only thing Republican Primary season is good for at this point is the comedic value! Have fun loosing, guys!

    December 19, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. Badua

    And you want these greedy guys to rule us–NO CHANCE. I can't wait till election day. THEY JUST DON'T HAVE HEART.
    God –your God, my God, says help thise who are in need.

    December 19, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  20. BrianLL

    Whoever wrote this araticle must have gone to the Fox Noise School of so-called Jounalism.

    >>>Poll released Monday indicates that 28% of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say the former House speaker is their choice for their party's nominee<<<

    Republicans "lean" towards the GOP? Excuse me, they ARE the GOP!!!!
    And since when do "Independents" vote for "their party's nominee"??? Independents by definition do NOT belong to a party, so how can they vote "for their party's nominee"??

    Seriously, go back to school!! And NOT Murdoch's school.

    December 19, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. DoNotWorry

    Now they are saying Romney is "likeable" and Grinch is not. Less than a week ago it was the opposite. The truth is most Republicans are not "set" on their candidate because the RNC didn't field any strong candidates.

    December 19, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Terry

    Attention Mike58: The POTUS is currently at 46% Approval Rating, and the House of Representatives is currently at 18% Approval Rating. Souce: Gallup and Rasmussen.

    December 19, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. billyslap

    Monday, December 19, 2011
    Iowa GOP Caucus
    Ron Paul 23%
    Mitt Romney 20%
    Newt Gingrich 14%
    Michele Bachmann 10%
    Rick Perry 10%
    Rick Santorum 10%
    Undecided 7%
    Jon Huntsman 4%
    Gary Johnson 2%

    December 19, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. Alex Jameson

    Mikey, spin it any way you want, but those numbers are not "astoundingly good". No president with even close to that low a level of approval has EVER been re-elected.

    The republicans should not underestimate Obama's campaign abilities, just as the democrats should not underestimate the people's penchant for kicking guys out of office when things just aren't going well.

    December 19, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. abby1

    Newt is extremely arrogant. He was already claiming victory for the Republican nomination.

    December 19, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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