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. sandra

    To all the Obama lovers on this post and the young people that put him in office, guess what? The over 50's are gonna take this country back. And we're going to do it with a Republican president named Mitt Romney. Cry your hearts out!

    January 13, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  2. 2left feet

    This guy is the anti christ , look at him . A face only a mother can love .

    January 13, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  3. joe

    Sorry Mitt, but your unwillingness to disclose your tax return will cost you any chance you have of being trusted by independent voters. And why do I guarantee Romney won't release his taxes returns? Quite simply, because he didn't pay any taxes (or so little that even the people down south will be disgusted (but still vote for him). Everyone else, will not.

    January 13, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  4. jbm66

    Romney is a Fraud, and a joke of a candidate like all the others. The only person who has a shot of beating Obama is Ron Paul, because he does not BS, also all those anti-war liberals will go to Ron Paul because Obama policies mirror Republican policies especially on foreign policy. I find it a joke that all these idiot right wing republicans keep calling Obama a marxists/socialist Liberal, when in fact his policies are very Republican. I gues it must be the black thing...

    January 13, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  5. pcf621

    This must have been a poll of CNN executives. Romney is leading the polls because CNN says he is. But Ron Paul supporters are everywhere. I have yet to see a Romney sign or bumper sticker. New (got rich off us taxpayers) Gingrich was forced to resign as Speaker of the House after 84 ethics violations charges were brought against him. He plea bargined to a few of them if the rest of the charges were dropped. He was found guilty by a vote of 395-28. And people want to put him back in public office. Crazy world! He should be tarred and feathered, not elected.

    January 13, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  6. roger

    There will be many of us independents who will not vote for him. I just dont trust him to tell the truth anymore than I do Eric Holder.

    January 13, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  7. hickenlooper

    This election will turn out the same way the 96 election did. A third party will take votes away from the Repubs. Ttim Yenmor is in trouble.

    January 13, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  8. nunya

    he is more of the same and will likely make no positive difference for our nation. We need another Abe Lincoln who came out of no where with no political agenda and more importantly comes from the average Joe who will step up to the plate as the average AMERICAN

    January 13, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  9. 2left feet

    Who would really vote for a person like this ? Only the older folks sitting on their thumbs thinkin that 12 dollars they saved will go towards their retirement , go ahead take it with you when you go you single minded all about me greedy f)@($ . If rumage gets in , I see a revolution in the near future . The people are tired ......

    January 13, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  10. WeDon'tMatter

    Quite surprising to me, can't believe the conservatives especially are rooting for the Mexican anchor baby to be president. Must be his plan to insure that we have a two class society with his merit system that has them falling in line.

    January 13, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  11. Larry in Houston

    sort of hope Romney wins -to be perfectly honest – maybe that will put that "mormon thing" to bed. this way – we've had catholics / protestants / baptists / ( whatever Obama is) and Now, Mormons.

    January 13, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  12. College_student

    Romney is a Mormon. Mormons want all people to become Mormons which is why every young man must spend two years on a mission. DO we want a president who will push those strange ideas. Do we want a president member of a racist religion?

    January 13, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  13. Terry

    Who are these pollsters interviewing? I could not, and will not, vote for Romney.

    January 14, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  14. CaliMafia

    The man is a conniving, duplicitous puppet for the rich who wiil say and do ANYTHING to advance his agenda.

    January 14, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  15. Anonymous

    I wish Huntsman was rising in the polls. However, if it is between Romney, Gingrich, Santorum or Paul, I would prefer Romney. I voted for Obama in 2008 and am not happy with the result. I wanted Clinton over Obama. Doesn't seem like my candidate ever makes it past the primaries. Maybe I'll just write Huntsman in.

    January 14, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  16. Deia ~Mass

    Are you kidding me? because he did such a great job here in the baystate. He's a joke. I'm not a big fan of Obama BUT for those of you who say "it can't get any worse" you have no idea. Just like his "Einstein" for health care here. He's a moron. and I HATE that stupid fake grin!!!!!

    January 14, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  17. Jerry

    "National" poll?

    Take a look at the PDF. All the respondents live in the south and the suburbs and as someone else pointed out, they're all over 50.

    What a crock.

    January 14, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  18. Patricksday

    Its amazing how simple minded people can be, they want a Corporate CEO to be the President of the United States because he saved the Olympics. He has shown he has no respect for the Working Class Americans and cannot relate to them in any shape or form as he comes from wealth. He thinks the hording of profits and laying off Americans and sending jobs to China and Mexico SAVED the Corporations.

    January 14, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  19. matt

    I'm voting for Obama because he has done a great job of driving America into further crisis. The candidate I want in office needs to be an idiot that will only further this nations inevitable decline. I don't want a Harvard business graduates that knows what he is doing. I'm not being sarcastic, I really will vote for Obama because I know he won't do a good job as president. Beyond that, please shut up California girl. You sound jealous. Romenys' parents did a great job of raising him and gave him everything they could. You wouldn't do the same for your children if you had the financial means to do so? I know some black guy who brags about cheating the Army and getting disability for his entire life. The same guy talks about racial inequality and economic oppression. As I told him: shut up. If you wanted to succeed and be wealthy, you would do so. It is your own fault that you live one poverty.

    January 14, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  20. Smako

    If the only thing you don't like about Romney is that he is rich, take another look at the rest of them, they all are. Some made a fortune off the stock market invested in the companies that Romney laid people off from. If you don't like him because of his religion, do you trust a fornicator who lies? They all aren't worth the paper they are written on, but since the middle class candidate cannot afford to get his name mentioned anywhere but a rest room wall, they are all you got, unless you want Obama to break his new campaign promises again.

    January 14, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  21. Chris

    I don't know why anybody would be proud or call themselves a Republican and pick Romney. He's a bigger RINO than McCain ever was. Must be the hair.

    January 14, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  22. tc

    glad to see that romney is on top in the polls.

    January 14, 2012 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  23. Dan Thomas

    Are you kidding me??? Are the American people stupid to vote this corporate raider in?? Do you honestly think he is going to stand up to Wall Street, the Big Banks, and the War Machine on the American people's behalf? I don't think sooooo?? He is nothing more than a sell out who will say and do anything for power. Shame on CNN for promoting this garbage. I love how you ignore Ron Paul? Why is that?? I guess it is because you know he is the only one who can beat Obama. Obama is going to destroy Romney in an election and you know it!!!!

    January 14, 2012 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  24. andrew

    ROMNEY has my vote! The LIBERAL machine will be out in full force to try and derail his campaign... but we all know OBAMA is a failed president with failed policies. It only took him 3 years to completely turn this country upside down. ROMNEY 2012!

    January 14, 2012 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  25. colt45

    If Romney wins the nomination it will truly be the 1% vs the 99%. I don't think the 99% will let one of the 1% take over the country!

    January 14, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
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