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. Dr. Knowit all

    34% or 1 out of 3 is not a passing grade.
    The media should sit back and relax, just report the news instead of sensationalizing headlines to sway opinion.

    January 13, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. nathan

    McCain II. Easy pickings for my President.

    January 13, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Jariv

    Romney can beat Obama easily once he exposes all the lies Obama has told the american people. Uuuggghhh I can't wait to see those commercials saying " Obama says, ' I will spend every ounce of energy working for the American people' " then it shows a picture of him playing golf and getting in about three months (or weeks, i can't remember) worth of playing Golf.

    January 13, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. Dr. Knowit all

    kakaraka – if you have to use the 99% term, then you are either paid to blog, a student of lower learning or a 1% occupier.

    January 13, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Woman In California

    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.

    THIS IS ALL THAT MATTERS. Ignorance is thy true name. They don't care what Romney's policies are or his religious affiliation is as long as he can get the "different" looking president out of the WH. Afterwards, they will kick him out for one of their own. Just watch.

    January 13, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. binky42

    In other words 66% of Republicans would rather have someone other than Romney. How is this good news for him?

    January 13, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. A Latina Independent voter

    My first choice is Obama , then Ron Paul . Religion, and race should not be an issue in this 21th century. Concentrate on how honest and capable the candidate is. President Obama will be elected again. Yeahhhh!!!

    January 13, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. jilli

    What an accomplishment – being the ring leader at the circus.

    January 13, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. Pat

    Everyone interviewed in this poll was 50+. Media bias tactic.

    January 13, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. catwill

    I don;t take polls seriously and especially at this stage of the game and Mitt has not wrapped up the primary yet until the votes are all in,

    January 13, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. Larry in Houston

    The only one who can possibly defeat Obama, is Romney. "The Newter" has enough baggage to sink the Carnival Cruise Lines, in addition to 3 aircraft carriers. ( no offense to any aircraft carrier or any cruise line )

    January 13, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. tanu

    He is a mor(m)on.

    January 13, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. SciGuy

    Romney or Obama, it doesn't matter much. Either way it's four more years of big govt, trampling the Bill of Rights, spending ourselves into more and more debt. Only Ron Paul talks about solving this real, big problems.

    January 13, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. Alice

    Internet search "Mitt Romney meets dying medical marijuana patient"

    January 13, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Nancy - The Democrats just love it. Because they know that Obama would easily beat Romney in the general.
    ===============================================================================
    Haven't seen the polls that say 52% believe Obama doesn't deserve a second term? Or the polls that say nearly 70% think the country is heading in the wrong direction? Have you seen the unemployment rate after 3 years of Obama policies? Have you seen the debt and deficits Obama created? Did you see the results in the 2010 election?

    You really have to start looking at what is happening in the real world. Americans will NOT reward FAILURE with another 4 years.

    January 13, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. Bill

    Like Ann Coulter said: "nless we nominate Chris Christie, Romeny will be the nominee and we'll lose". For once, she was right about something.

    January 13, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. gg

    the only thing mitt every did anything consrevative was when he fired all those people at bains and put thier pay cheques in his pocket

    January 13, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. SurRy

    "he country needs Mitt Romney to turn the Obama disaster around and get this country moving FORWARD again."

    You have no idea what you are talking about. I suggest you look into Romney's history as governor and corporate raider. Disastrous for working people.

    January 13, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  19. Alan st louis

    Im so happy mittens is going to win the primary. I bet the obama team abot to pull out the party hats going to be an easy reelection. This guy better avoid debates obama will chew him up lol. You see the grinch adds on the mittens debate performance this guy is going to be made the bigest fool in america lmao

    January 13, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. scott

    What about DEMOCRATS. Paul leads those

    January 13, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. Mikey

    I want more of Obama, things have gone sooo well the last 3 years.

    January 13, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. Charlie in Maine

    If you make more than $1.000.000 a year, congratulations your man is on the road to the nomination. For those of us who do not, our man isalready in the White House and he needs our votes in November and we need to send him a Congress who will either lead.follow or gey out of the way,

    January 13, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. TamarS

    romney is a slick fast talker without substance.

    January 13, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. SciGuy

    Another bogus CNN poll to seek to direct the sheeple through the status quo gate.

    January 13, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Is America ready for a President whose "religion" banned Blacks, and saw them as filthy animals.
    That's the freakin' question right up there with his vulture capitalism, lying, and flip flopping.

    January 13, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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