Romney back on top in new CNN national poll
January 13th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
9 years ago

Romney back on top in new CNN national poll

Washington (CNN) - It's amazing what back to back wins can do for your poll numbers.

One-time Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is back on top in the race for the GOP nomination, according to a new national survey.

See full results (pdf)

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A CNN/ORC International poll, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday after the New Hampshire primary, also indicates that the former Massachusetts governor's support nearly doubles in hypothetical one-on-one match-ups against his strongest rivals.

According to the survey, 34% of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say they're likely to support the former Massachusetts governor for the nomination, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 18%, and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania each at 15%. Texas Gov. Rick Perry stands at 9% in the poll, with former Utah Gov. and former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman at 4%.

Romney and Gingrich were tied at 28% support in CNN's last national survey, which was conducted in mid-December, before Romney's narrow victory in last week's Iowa caucuses and his big win Tuesday night in the New Hampshire primary. Romney became the first non-incumbent to win Iowa and New Hampshire back to back.

Gingrich finished out of the money in Iowa and New Hampshire. Romney edged up six points while Gingrich dropped ten points since the last poll. Paul, who came in third in Iowa and a strong second in New Hampshire, has inched up a point, while Santorum, who lost to Romney by just eight votes in Iowa before coming in fifth in New Hampshire, is up 11 points.

"Romney's increased support has come entirely from conservative Republicans, and mostly at Gingrich's expense. Romney has actually lost support among moderate Republicans," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "And most of Romney's newfound strength has come among higher-income categories - he has gained only three points among GOPers with less than $50,000 but 11 points among those who make more than that amount."

The poll also looks at hypothetical two-man matchups for the GOP nomination, with Romney leading Gingrich 59-37%, beating Santorum 60%-37%, and topping Paul 67-31%.

But Romney is certainly not unstoppable. Only 37% say they definitely will support the candidate they are currently backing, with 56 percent saying they might change their mind.

And the poll indicates Romney has some weaknesses.

Paul, for example, is a little bit ahead of him when Republicans are asked which candidate cares most about people. Gingrich tops Romney when Republicans are asked to name the candidate who is most qualified to be Commander-in-Chief.

But Romney continues to have one ace up his sleeve - electability. Seven in ten Republicans say that they prefer a candidate who can beat Obama to one who agrees with them on every issue, and 55% believe that Romney has the best chance of defeating Obama in the general election.

"That's the biggest advantage of winning a race, such as Iowa or New Hampshire. Candidates who have won something look like winners; candidates who lost look like losers," says Holland. "Iowa and New Hampshire are probably a major reason why the number of Republicans who think Romney can beat Obama rose by 19 points since December while the number who think Gingrich has the best chance in November dropped by nearly two-thirds in that time."

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International, with 1,021 adult Americans, including 449 Republicans and independents who lean Republican, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Also see:

Gingrich calls out own super PAC, sort of

Romney mail piece touts endorsement from Nikki Haley

Santorum begins S.C. push by contrasting with Obama

Colbert for president (again)


Filed under: 2012 • CNN/ORC International poll • Mitt Romney • Polls
soundoff (327 Responses)
  1. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Well, those numbers look great for Romney all around. He's going to get the nomination and demolish Obama next November. The country hungers for a TRUE LEADER, a CAPABLE LEADER, the country needs Mitt Romney to turn the Obama disaster around and get this country moving FORWARD again.

    January 13, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. Sandy

    But Romney's numbers are slipping. In South Carolina he and Ginrich are at a statistical tie, 23% to 21%. The negative ads are working.

    January 13, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. kakaraka

    Higher income earners? Corporate raiders, wall street guys? I will never support Mitten. He's not one of us 99%.

    January 13, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    He looks tire and sick - I don't think his magic underwear is working He'll never keep up the pace with our HEALTH PRESIDENT.

    January 13, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. Idontknow45

    AGAIN ANOTHER FLAWED POLL. Download the pdf file, this poll is only of those ages 50+...The ages where Romney does best. You are so unethical for this biased reporting.

    January 13, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. Tyler1982

    I don't get what people see in him. The flip-flopping isn't a red flag?

    January 13, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. mrpom

    Same Old Guard Republican survey. You have to get not just Republican to be elected you have to draw Independants and even Democrats not counted here.

    January 13, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    He says the poor are angry at the rich being rich because they're envious?
    He still hasn't produced his birth certificate to prove he's an American?

    The only thing this guy should be topping a CNN poll for is one of the most moronic GOPers out there.

    January 13, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. MnNick1

    Too bad the bias poll results having nothing to do with actual voting

    January 13, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Romney still has only glass ceiling when it comes to support among Republicans. If this were a two man race, Romney versus a Christian Conservative, Gov. Romney would lose.

    January 13, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. demogoat

    Not for long after his "envy" comment. I was considering him until today. But he stuck his finger in my face with his comment on how poor people envy rich people.

    January 13, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. mirrorlogic

    ...and here comes the influence the masses with polls nonsense! Where would we be without reporting that plasters "group-think" across the headlines to ensure Willard Mitt Romney or any the other flavor of the day gets the band-wagon effect?

    January 13, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    "Seven in ten Republicans say that they prefer a candidate who can beat Obama to one who agrees with them on every issue, and 55% believe that Romney has the best chance of defeating Obama in the general election. "
    --------------------
    How many of them believe that the Earth is only a few thousand years old?

    January 13, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. mirrorlogic

    ...ever notice how something with a "quote" gets immediately sent to the CNN comment moderation branch - who are those mysterious bandits anyway? Do they sit in cubicles reading these things eating milk-duds all day? Hey, at least they get to have a job - Bain Capital would probably eliminate them if they could.

    January 13, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. bczu

    International poll?

    January 13, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Ricke1949

    The choice of the Obama team and CNN. Hummmm. Something is wrong here.

    January 13, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. Kashbmaryd

    We'll see who beats who in the general election. I don't think Romney can pull it off. He is too timid when it comes to his own record. In other words, he can dish it out, but he can't take it. I'm going for Obama.

    January 13, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. vic , nashville ,tn

    Good information from the poll in fine print those are

    “Gingrich tops Romney when Republicans are asked to name the candidate who is most qualified to be Commander-in-Chief.”

    “Paul, for example, is a little bit ahead of him when Republicans are asked which candidate cares most about people.”

    January 13, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. jim dollinger

    polls are for dancers, it's votes that count. you have to ask why Iowa suddenly changed the rules to no ID required to vote? why did they move the ballots and count them in secret? we preach freedom and democracy and hold elections more shaky than a third world nation.

    January 13, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. PJ

    So only 66% still don't like him. Hardly a victory.

    January 13, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Kaathoga

    To paraphrase a great woman, once the First Lady of the White House "Kids, Just say no!".

    January 13, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  22. Ron

    Some Mormons practice Polygamy. Is that the next thing to be legalized in this country thanks Mr. Romney?

    January 13, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. tc

    i cant get over newt the newt creeping around these states spewing his venom against romney.

    January 13, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. SixDegrees

    Not surprising that he's gaining at Gingrich's expense. Gingrich completely overplayed his negative ads, and came across as mean-spirited and downright nasty to the point of turning voters off. It's the sort of antagonism that should be reserved for the actual opposition, if it's to be used at all.

    January 13, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. mirrorlogic

    I'm kind of 'envious' that Romney is doing so well...The other candidates probably 'envy' his numbers as well...But wait until Willard Mitt gets the blow-back from his describing Income inequality as just 'envy' - That will be like a iron weight on a transatlantic swimmer.

    January 13, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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