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. Frank

    Is America ready for a mormon corporate money cult member in the White House?

    January 13, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. Jon

    SHUT UP ABOUT ROMNEY AND HIS $250 MILLION....guy is a classic liar and greedy thug

    January 13, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Nancy

    The Democrats just love it. Because they know that Obama would easily beat Romney in the general.

    January 13, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. JLFuller

    Why did the unions not help the employees buy the businesses Bain Capital is accused of pilliaging and thereby save those union jobs? Unions have done it before and do it today. They could have used union pension funds as seed money to interest other partners and hired their own sympathetic management and even made a profit assuming the companies were as viable as Newt's ads say they were.

    January 13, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Jariv

    Romney is the man for the Job. I am so excited for him. He is going to make everything so much better. People have to let someone successful run the country. Someone who has experience and knows exactly how the economy works. Romney's moral are at the top of the GOP field.

    January 13, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. JLFuller

    No Mormon practices polygamy. Period. End of story. It does not happen.

    January 13, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. diridi

    He may be front-runner of GOP, but will not and can not win with Obama.

    January 13, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Absolutionis

    I missed the reason why people believe Romney is more electable than Paul.

    January 13, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. MLS

    Mitt Romney is cruel to animals.

    January 13, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. El Flaco

    Romney is a special kind of Christian: a Mormon. If he accepts Mormon theology, then he believes that ordinary Christians like Baptists, Methodists, and Catholics are all going to Hell anyway.

    If they are going to suffer in Hell for a few trillion years, what difference does it make if they suffer a few scant decades here on earth?

    Is aborting a non-Mormon child a sin? The child is destined for Hell anyway.

    Is stealing the job from a non-Mormon employee a sin? He needs to get used to suffering to prepare him for Hell anyway.

    January 13, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Ron

    I don't think much of Mr. Romney and his ENVY comment. This is what Republcanism is all about. Furthering class warfare seems to be one of the top priorities of Mr. Massachusetts. I believe we the people will speak loudly and clearly on election day showing the Party of No..Never and I don't think so to take a good long hike down the road to oblivion.

    January 13, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    people only tend to support polls that give the result that they like and you can get basically a poll to say what you want. Case in point saw the results of a Rueters poll yesterday that claims Obama leads Romney by about 5 points in a head to head matchup. Obama supporters would like to see that, GOP supporters will say the poll is flawed. So polls mean little of nothing at this point. Most right wing or FoxNews polls ALWAYS show the president losing to ANY GOP rival, but of course fair and balanced polls are never skewd

    January 13, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. steven

    Romey doesn't have the stamina to keep up with Obama on the campaign trail. Obama is a machine when it comes to campaigning. Love him or hate him.... you know its true.

    January 13, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    LOL! He's losing moderate Republicans. Probably to Obama, It's becoming more and more obvious that Flipper is the second coming of GWB. Only seriously delusional people want a repeat of that!

    January 13, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. Woman with a brain

    Has anyone taken the time to investigate Bain Capital??

    Hello...the assets are in the BILLIONS! And they own the MEDIA communications!!! How nice.

    Romney may appeal to old rich people-but anyone with any sense can see the truth.

    GO OBAMA!!!

    January 13, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. jdog

    How many wives does he have all totaled?

    January 13, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. Cindy

    Those people in the polls haven't seen those political ads yet.

    January 13, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Jonathan McMillan

    I'm glad you chose to make your polls say Romney but this poll means nothing in the whole scheme of this political race. Ron Paul has the young vote so if you want to put the importance on older voters, I think that is silly because the future of our government lies in the hands of our young vote.

    January 13, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. Jim Colyer

    Mitt Romney is the one Republican who can beat Obama. Mitt Romney 2012

    January 13, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. Ronald

    It is funny how the national GOP/Tea Party is telling candidates not to bring up Bain Capital.They know it is true! The sacred cow of the GOP job creators, even though they don't create any jobs, is being shown in the media as not true. Their candidate who brags about being a "job creator" actually lost jobs! Go figure? The truth is that the GOP/Tea Party ideololgy doesn't work. Trickle Down Economics is a sham, it doesn't work. Lots of companies and wealthy people are sitting on so much money now but aren't hiring or investing. The only thing they say is "we need to go back to what we were doing before Obama came into office". Well, those policies got us into the mess we are in!

    January 13, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. Rob Leger

    these poll numbers mean NOTHING at this point...

    January 13, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. jdog

    OK CNN if you are going to not allow my comment on his wives total – let's talk race – all of a sudden he is the 'Latino' candidate – the 1st Latino American president – really – is he like 1/1000th Latino – that is too funny! anything and use anyone to win!

    January 13, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. wow

    Romney sucks.
    He's the only candidate the press talks about. He has all of the money, all of the bankers, all of the corporations in his back pocket...AND he's still BARELY winning.

    January 13, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. longshot

    I'll take a rise in Romney over a Santorum surge any day....

    January 13, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Holly

    I'm surprised Gingrich's numbers are so high considering his sabotage of Romney's free-market capitalism. It's heresy and I expect to see his support drop to 0 in the coming days.

    January 13, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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