Romney back on top in new CNN national poll
January 13th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
11 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. Jane

    Remember when some insightful person said that Gingrich sounds like what a stupid person thinks a smart person sounds like? Well, finally figured This out: Truth and Nothing But the (yada yada boring name) posts like what a stupid person thinks a smart person would post like. Whew! Glad that's settled.

    January 13, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  2. toadears

    Can't stand him. Grandfathered in, daddy was governor in Michigan. Grew up on the government teat and still sucking. Yuck. Another Jerry Brown, Al Gore, G.S. Bush. Hedge funder offshoring money. Earned NOTHING by himself.

    January 13, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  3. toadears

    Can't stand him. Grandfathered in, daddy was governor in Michigan. Grew up on the government booby and still sucking. Yuck. Another Jerry Brown, Al Gore, G.S. Bush. Hedge funder offshoring money. Earned NOTHING by himself.

    January 13, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  4. Cindy

    They must be polling wallstreet.

    January 13, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  5. Jim

    Well, those numbers look dismal for Romney all around. He's not going to get the nomination next November. The country hungers for a TRUE LEADER, a CAPABLE LEADER, the country needs Barack Obama to continue moving this country forward.

    January 13, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  6. K Denver

    NO ONE IS EXCITED ABOUT MITT ROMNEY. It's like going to the freezer when you're craving cookie dough ice cream and all you have is sugar free popsicles. You're like, "ughhhhh that's all we have left? Yeah? Ok I guess I'll have one". And then you eat two bites and throw it away. Sugar free popsicles are gross.

    Obama wins.

    January 13, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  7. David

    If Romney is the force fed choice for republican, ( whatever that means ) choice, then we might as well hunker down and win with our knowledge.

    January 13, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  8. jim

    Patronizing SOB – pathetic

    January 13, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. jim

    Unless your one of the 1% club – whats Mittens going to do for you?

    Wake up people

    January 13, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  10. Riley

    More importantly, Romney is ahead of Obama in the national polls, too.

    January 13, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  11. Lynn

    Romney's an uncomplicated smart guy. Seems many can't deal with his sucess. Obama will laugh all the way to the bank on the backs of all the 99% who think he really cares about them. Start with General Electric, his friend and "economic" advisor who paid no taxes. Why isn't Obama willing to cut his own pay in half if he is so concerned about the middle or lower incomes classes who are killing themselves for small wages. He wants to get rich just like the next rich guy. He has really snookered you all.

    January 13, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  12. Garrett

    Don't Elect someone just because you think they have a chance to "Beat Obama" anyone can beat that man, probably even Rick Perry for crying out loud! America needs someone who knows our American heritage&history. A man that wants a Freer America and less government control over people's individual lives. And that man is, RON PAUL!!! A man who wants to End Prohibition, reduce government power to the way it is suppose to be and cut our inflated military budget that is killing this country from the inside out.

    January 13, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  13. Aacon

    Photo reminded me of Richard Nixon . Enter Tricky 2 🙂

    January 13, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  14. donna

    Let's see....

    Romney lost to McCain in 2008, who then lost to Obama. How is Romney going to beat Obama in 2012? Especially after Obama has accrued so much experience and has an awesome team in Biden and Clinton? There's no way.

    Obama 2012

    January 13, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |

    Actions speak louder than words

    January 13, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  16. clarke

    I just don't see what is likeable about him. I don't get it. All I seem to get from him is being negative about others, what is his plan, how will he do things . I want plans, the how, the when, the who.

    January 13, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  17. SaveAmerica

    Newt 2012 He is the only one that can beat Obama.

    January 13, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  18. The

    if this country can't see thru all the politacal garbage and realize that we need major changes, then we are all in big big trouble. if Ron Paul doesn't win this thing, i'm seriously considering vacating the country. everyone else running is just a talking head.

    January 13, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  19. Dan S

    Look at the actual "Full Results PDF" posted in the article.. You will discover that this poll overrepresented the age 50+ population.. If you look closely, you will find "N/A" for all age groups under 50 years old.. This means that they did not have a large enough sample to post results for this group.. So, in a nutshell, this poll DRAMATICALLY underrepresents the Ron Paul supporters, who are generally under 50. Get a relatively equal number of people representing each age group in the poll, and you will have a more telling story..

    January 13, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  20. Dee

    The President needs to continue to do the business of the country and keep an eye on Iran. The Republican runners should keep their mouth closed about Iran and what the President should or should not be doing. This is a military top security problem do they think he is going to tell them how he is thinking or what actions will be made? If that was the case he would never have gotten Osama Bin Laden.

    Republicans are hurting themselves and spending their money on ads while the Democrats are sitting back and watching, how smart is that?

    January 13, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  21. Venkata

    This is pure politics that Republican are playing. George Bush make the economy went down in the two terms he was at helm and I don't know where these so called Republicans are there at that time. And when Obama is cleaning the mess that Bush left and people are not happy with him. I felt what the voters are thinking when Bush got elected not even one time, two times? It is a shame if people are thinking to hand the power to Republicans again.

    January 13, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  22. Rasputin

    Republicans, it may be better to dance with the Devil you know!

    January 13, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  23. neine, neine, neine

    If Romney is so bad why is the D.N.C., Biden, Obama, Liberal media and many of the no – brainers posting going after him so hard? They should be encouraging everyone to let him (Romney) win so President Arrogant could have his way with him.
    However, that is not happening, they are desperate to have anyone else win because Romney will tear him apart.

    January 13, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  24. Bozzz

    no matter. Obama is going to mop the floor with anyone the GOP puts forward, as well he should.

    January 13, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  25. Kevin Lanigan

    Romney will win the nomination, but he will limp into the general election and loose.

    January 13, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
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