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. Confused American

    So someone please explain to me, how will Romney's plan to broaden the tax base help our financial issue? From what i understand, he plans on lowering tax on the top income earners in America and taxing the lower income Americans, the vast majority of which make less than $20,000 annually. So basically he plans to let the rich pay less and the poor pay more on a leap of faith that the rich will use their even heftier wallets to employ more people? This doesn't match the "maximize profit" trend we have come to see in today's corporate world.

    January 14, 2012 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  2. Benmckass

    Who doesn't know these polls are false and that they do this to make Romney more popular.But I tell you Romney has more deadly scandals yet to come to light.The media is only trying to help him to be popular but more than 60% of the electorate know Romney is fake and unreal.his common tag is HE IS ARROGANTLY PROUD!!.

    January 14, 2012 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  3. Benmckass

    CNN,what are you moderating? look and read most of the offensive comments posted even against the sitting President and you want to hold unto what?please with all due respect,just allow people who post to express their support FOR THE PRESIDSENT to get through.whatever you do this man called BARRACK OBAMA WILL STILL WIN HANDS DOWN!! YOU HAVE SEEN NOTHING ELSE.GOD ALMIGHTY IS WITH HIM.NOTHING YOU DO WILL HOLD.

    January 14, 2012 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  4. NoTags

    The CNN/ORC poll has Romney at 34% and Gingrich at 18%. Most of the other polls in South Carolina indicate a closer race. In the latest South Carolina polls;

    PPP Poll: Romney 29% Gingrich 24%
    Rasmussen Poll: Romney 28 % Gingrich 21%
    American Research Group Poll: Romney 29% Gingrich 25%
    Insider Advantage Poll: Romney 23% Gingrich 21%
    We Ask America Poll: Romney 26% Gingrich 21%

    I wouldn't be surprised to Gingrich upset Romney in South Carolina.

    January 14, 2012 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  5. Mare

    I don't know what you wld call them, but, if "Evangelical" christians would never, ever vote 4 Romney, if that is what they want 2 classify themselves...they can't strattle d fence on this one. ..if they vote 4 him, they need 2 find another category 2 classify themselves....

    January 14, 2012 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  6. Jeff

    After doing some research, I noticed that Romney has a family line in Mexico, That's all we need, a mexican family line in office, i hate mexicans most if not all are illegal s.o.b. and electing this guy as president we might as well take down the the wall that separates us from Mexico

    January 14, 2012 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  7. Tom Wittmann

    CNN's poll in South Carolina gives Romney 28% versus 24% Gingrich, bur Rassmussen says 28/21!! Quite a difference. Why CNN does not inform this?? Fact is that Gingrich's strategy is totally backfiring,I suspect that if all the candidates remain in the fight, he will finish with 10 – 15%!!

    January 14, 2012 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  8. gg

    As a Democrat, I think Romney is the most moderate of the Republicans. I would never vote for him, but if he is elected President I'm certain he would never implement the crazy reactionary stuff he's saying to win the Republican nomination. Romney would compromise with the Democrats, unlike the Tea Party crazies..

    January 14, 2012 04:21 am at 4:21 am |
  9. Jane

    Obama is intelligent, charismatic and an empty suit as it relates to economics and what it takes to make it work.. Some of us were working for major Olympic sponsors for the 2002 Games. We were $100 MM in debt and Mitt literally SAVED the games and it was an overwhelming project to turn this around and leave $40MM for the State Sports Foundation to support the Olympic venues in Utah for the next ten years for our US athletes to train. He was phenomenal and a fabulous leader with wisdom and know-how to fix a bad situation.

    January 14, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  10. student

    I'm mormon and I'm voting for Ron Paul. I don't understand why people can't see he is CLEARLY the most qualified and smartest man for the job.

    January 14, 2012 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  11. manniman

    HAHAHA Nice try CNN

    All the people polled were 50+, Romney and Gingrich's strongest age group, Ron Paul's weakest.

    Download the pdf and you'll se that. Nowhere in this article is that fact mentionned...

    The biased reporting is outrageous, it's getting worse by the day!

    January 14, 2012 04:32 am at 4:32 am |
  12. Mark

    Well I don't get it, but that doesn't mean others don't like Romney. I get bad vibes when i see him talking. I like real people and his body language and smile is so ostentatious. The Republican race is entertaining, but I really think the worst possible thing for the country right now is a Republican in the White House, when we really need one party rule, Democrat to save us. Obama has experience now, has shown leadership and some good accomplishments, and his views seem more rational. It Republicans would rather see the US ship sink, than let a Democrat prevail. It's so clearly wrong. I'm hoping for a Democrat landslide in November. 4 years of getting things done is what we need in a crisis.

    January 14, 2012 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  13. _______________________

    Barack Obama has been a disaster. We are in the Jimmy Carter phase of the next Ronald Reagan Revolution.

    Bring it on in November and let's get this economy moving in the right direction again.

    Send the occutards back to mommy and daddy's basement. And they can take Barack Obozo with them.

    January 14, 2012 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  14. Bill C

    I would vote for a hand puppet over the current disaster in chief. Romney is not the perfect candidate (there is none) but he will be a dramatic improvement over President Obama. Of course, that isn't saying much.

    January 14, 2012 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  15. TheMagusNYC

    One can say that the "poor" are jealous of the rich, but in contrast, envy discribes a depraved state of wishing to gain at the expense of the other. Thus, it is as insulting as these comments suggest, another reason Romney does not measure up as a viable candidate.

    January 14, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  16. TheMagusNYC

    Considering the aledged power of the "liberal media," it is ironic how the impression of Obama has been so tainted, in the same way that big money interests have tainted public schooling and teachers, in their efforts to make money on charter schools and disembowel teacher unions.
    From these comments on CNN, I see that our president has many vocal and strong supporters, and I expect that the truth of this president's successes will win out over the shallow challenges coming from the GOP.

    January 14, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  17. John Brown

    Last time I remember Bush & Chenney who destroyed this country! I will not vote for another Republican like Mitt!

    He likes to fire people like Meg Whitman. He is for corporate people. He did not care with little people like me then. I don't think he is the new Mitt!

    He is the same Mitt Romney!

    January 14, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  18. Mk54

    The action is in South Carolina, where Romney's polling numbers appear to be slipping as a result of the negative publicity around his background as a corporate raider. If trends in SC continue Gingrich could be the winner there. Romney will have then lost momentum and the race will move on to Florida without a clear frontrunner.

    January 14, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  19. John Brown

    Mitt Romney loves to fire people. He loves to send people out of their house. He likes to see your car get reposses. He wants you to work with minimum wages, no benefit and no health insurance and social security. That's what he wants. Do you see his smile? That's a fake smile. That's his smile when he fires people. That's not a sincere smile. Meg Whitman has that kind of smile. It's so fake!! They think they can buy this election with their money!

    January 14, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  20. Mk54

    Mitt's bobblehead would look more genuine than Mitt in person.

    January 14, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  21. mlchmba

    I won't vote for Gingrich. ANYBODY but Gingrch. Even Obama is better than Gingrich. That is saying a lot...Gingrich is a career politician with steep ties to the "establishment". He's the biggest flip-flopper, too. He is vindictive. He is divisive. He's not supposed to direct the super pac, but he does. We don't need a president like Gingrich.

    January 14, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  22. Jennifer NYC

    I would think people are smart enough to see Gingrich for what he is...a jerk.

    January 14, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  23. jordan

    Romney the Liar ! Romney the flip flopper ! Romney a member of the Circus who will not look out for poor or middle class folks.Romney the man who likes to fire people.

    January 14, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  24. Jcray

    The Democratic convention will be like the 2004 Republican convention, everyone will be waving around flip-flops to demonstrate the opponent.

    January 14, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  25. exitoff76

    Hard to believe such a stuffed suit is gaining. Proof, anbody can run for office.

    January 14, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
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