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:

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Santorum begins S.C. push by contrasting with Obama

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Filed under: 2012 • CNN/ORC International poll • Mitt Romney • Polls
soundoff (327 Responses)
  1. Rizzo

    I really don’t care who wins the GOP , all I want is the current President to do a good Job and make the right decisions for America . I don’t care who slept with whom , what religion they are , if they are gay or not . That’s News Junk. Our Government has turned into a reality TV show .

    January 13, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. Reality

    After his remarkably clueless and elitist remark the other day about the lower income folks (the majority) are just envious of the higher income folks, I'm surprised anyone other than the upper income and elite folks would even consider listening to one more fruitless word out of his arrogant mouth.

    January 13, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. SurRy

    Palin. Trump. Cain. Perry. Bachmann, Gingrich. Hopefully Willard will follow follow suit.

    January 13, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. ndlily

    Romney can't beat Obama for the simple reason that if Romney is matched up against Obama, it will be like trying to pick between twins, just one in red and one in blue. If those are the options that the two parties give me, for the first time since I was eighteen (and I'm now in my thirties), I'll sit an election out because there really is no choice. And I don't think I'm alone. Obama disillusioned me by turning out to be just another bought and paid for politician more interested in his legacy than my well being. But in the end, it's all the same to me whether he or Mitt "You're Just Jealous not Jobless" Romney gets in.

    January 13, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    71% care more about having a candidate capable of beating Obama than they do about having a candidate who represents them and stands by their shared values and principles (with the reverse being 27%).

    Just goes to show how much they actually value principles. That statstic right there gives the lie to the GOPers/Teatrolls ever claiming that they have philosophical, ideological, values/principles, policy differences with Obama. It's just a team sport to them. All they care about is taking back the WH so they can, just like when Dubya was in office, abuse it to do whatever the frack they want. The hissy fit started and continues because they lost in 2008...they filled in the rationalizations and thin justifications for their temper tantrum AFTER deciding to throw one.

    January 13, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  6. SurRy

    The Teaba$$ger-Republicans are just dying that they might be stuck with

    January 13, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. mike

    CNN is big business. Ever watch the commercials on CNN. Quicken/ Bank of America, Natural Gas, BP commercials about the Gulf of Mexico. These companies are responsible for manyof our American problems. CNN has a horse in this race. News companies are trying to tell you who to vote for. Fox tries to get their nit wit hosts elected. CNN tries to direct the conversation. MSNBC wants Obama. News.....really? NO

    January 13, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. lefty avenger

    Mitt is a corporate shill. Romney only cares about the mega-wealthy. He is a top 1% man only interested in the affluent doing great while the rest of us sink. Sorry Mitt, we're not envious, we just despise you and your corporate friends who have tanked this country.

    January 13, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. Not All Docs Play Golf

    This guy is plastic and reminds me of Max Headroom, about as authentic. He was a rich kid who was handed evertything and made money off of his money. That to me is not leadership. I came from humble means and put myself thru med school with no help from anyone. So it burns me up when this arrogant rich kid says Democrats are "envious of success." All he does is offend people with talk like that. He never had a blister on his hands in his life. He will NOT appeal to a broad electorate. I mean, who can really relate to this guy?

    January 13, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Do not believe this propaganda. It is media driven because they want you to think Romney is ahead. This is their poll. they decide to ask the questions and what they want to ask. This is not true, it is here to attempt to influence you and I to vote for their man.

    January 13, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. BLKMANinAmerica

    CLEARLY.......................................the repuks are clearly thinking that his (Romny) $$ will buy them a President. I mean it worked for them in 2000. Thank GOD O and Buffet have more $$.

    January 13, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. Jess Roberts

    Corporations are people? Can anyone tell me when Rick Perry will execute one down in Texas?

    January 13, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. rosaadriana

    I don't understand why these people think Romney can beat Obama in a general election.

    January 13, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  14. Alex

    It appears Ron Paul is surging in SC

    January 13, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. sylvie

    I searched for Ron Paul on the CNN search box here, and this comes up as number one response to my search? LMAO! There is nothing to see here at CNN but their pick, MITT. Sorry CNN but you have made a real disconnect with your viewers. I will take alternate media ANYTIME over CNN and FOX. Your touting lies. Nothing more than lies. We have had over four years of lies. We want the truth. We want Ron Paul in 2012! REPORT THAT for a change, instead of your lies.

    January 13, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. SlammoFandango

    Okay Kool-Aid drinkers, Repeat after me: We must elect the man with the best chance of beating Obama, but Ron Paul can't win the nomination. Ron Paul can't win the nomination. Ron Paul can't win the nomination."

    If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” – Joseph Goebbels

    January 13, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  17. Breezeday

    Support Mitt Romney: Put
    A Phony in the White House

    January 13, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. michael

    romney is a cheating liar who wil never be president. good riddance to him a hole

    January 13, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. Be Sane

    Take this to the bank. Romney will loose! It won't even be because of this stand on issues (whatever they may be at any given moment). It will because of what he did to his dog! No humanity in this man. None. It will be like Kerry and wind surfing, but a million times worse.
    Obama 2012 the human in the race

    January 13, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. Jeff

    Romney 2012. It's inevitable. Be a good team player and support him!

    January 13, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  21. Sproles

    CNN = Garbage.

    Keep feeding people useless propaganda regarding a candidate that would get absolutely destroyed by the Obama campaign (if he were to with the GOP election).

    Romney is so easy to attack (lack of progressive ideas, flip flopping non-stop for decades, his 'great' runs with Bain Capital).

    Really, people?

    January 13, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. lsm

    It's telling that so many economists and business people come to Romney's defense. I'd rather have a rich guy who knew sound finance in the White House than a warm fuzzy average income person who didn't.

    January 13, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. BD70

    They will vote for anyone to take out Obama even if they don't agree with all their views? Scary. So they would put a corporate fat cat in office who will try to apply the business model to government. Epic fail will happen if Romney became president.

    January 13, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. KLDGBB

    If they want someone who can beat Obama, they better start voting for Huntsman.

    January 13, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. Chris

    928 people surveyed.. all over 50 years old. How can this even remotely be considered a valid survey?

    January 13, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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