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. Jim

    On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being most important, where does experience rank on the qualifications that voters look for in a presidential candidate?

    Just a little ad hoc poll. Thanks.

    January 13, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Lenn

    Romney becoming POTUS has about the same chance as a Junebug in a chicken coop.

    January 13, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. Globalist

    He's a globalist. He doesn't care one speck about us.

    January 13, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. MikeSA

    Romney as leadership material? – don't make me laugh. This guy is as gutless, elitist, and incompetent as they come, and changes his views on any given subject quicker than he changes his diapers.

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

    Everyone knows about Romney's ties to Bain. But did you know that Bain owns Clear Channel. And Clear channel owns much of the media, especially the big GOP talking heads like Limbaugh, Beck and others. Now you do know.

    January 13, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. Peter Cornstalk

    hahaha what a fixed poll... all over 50 years old. What a joke CNN. You are a worthless source of information.

    January 13, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. Name tunji12

    Rommey he's not a real conservative hey just a phony politician saying anythings to win election hopefully he will soon terribly lose

    January 13, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. ObamaJoe

    pools ???????? come on,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Know who will be the nominee,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    January 13, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. David

    I thought Romney had a finite ceiling on his support? Well, looks like he's gaining national support from republicans...and I'd bet it's going to get stronger. Dems can sound off with name calling and everything else they want, the record of Pres. Obama and what Romney will do as president will bring an end to this administration. Sorry!

    January 13, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  10. Haneef

    Did you know that Mormon religion teaches that blacks are filthy, dirty people?

    January 13, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  11. scott

    LMAO. This for only people over 50 in the survey. How biased canny CNN get?

    January 13, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. mike with a mustache

    Just because Romney played the US President in Independence Day does not make him our best option!

    January 13, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. Larry in Houston

    I like Ron Paul 2012 – – – but if Romney is the one, then it is , what it is. One good thing if romney is our nxt prez – we can put to bed – that "mormon card" Then, we will have had all – catholics / baptists / Lutherans / ( whatever Obama is) And Now, Mormons !!

    January 13, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. Kebos

    Romney is an idiot. Same old politician type. Expect nothing from him that will create positive change. Zilch!

    If you want change for the positive, Ron Paul is the one.

    If Ron Paul doesn't get the nomination, Obama will get back in. Guarantee it.

    January 13, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  15. cisom

    At first Romey seemed to politcally calculating for my tastes; however, the more I read about Romney's fiscal record, the more I like him. He didn't collect a check while governor and got rid of a 3 billion dollar deficit. He destroys Obama on fiscal policy alone.

    January 13, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  16. Independent

    Romney will not win the general election. He is unrelatable and appears extremely out-of-touch to most Americans. He is referred to in the blogosphere as "Thurston Howell, III." No Romney, that's for sure. Obama will win.

    January 13, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  17. MikeSA

    Romney is a terrible choice for President, as the policies he plans to enact are absolutely 100% the same as GW Bush's policies. If policies like that all but destroyed the Country the last time around (remember 800,000 jobs lost PER MONTH?), why do the exact same thing again?
    Some Americans never learn.

    January 13, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. jesse

    why??? this guy is the biggest fake robot "wanna be president to be cool" candidate i have ever seen!!! he is never authentic and never presents precise ideas, only robotic rhetoric that always seems to get those stupid republican people riled up. I've never seen such a stupid segment of our population as them. they just love shiny god loving things. sad people.

    January 13, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. Republican Not Voting for Romney

    I will not vote for this guy. The Republican field is so weak. I will vote for Obama and know lots of fellow Republicans that will.

    January 13, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. Kit Gainer

    Romney is a weasel who will steal your retirement fund. Since when has crook become a synonym for capitalist? How much did this cost weasel 's scamming the taxpayer?

    January 13, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  21. jolman

    Romney won't win. The majority of Americans won't vote for a Mormon. They may say they will in a public poll or situation because they don't want to be UnPC but in the privacy of the polling booth they are not going to pull the lever.

    January 13, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  22. Mittens magic Undies

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Well, those numbers look great for Romney all around. He's going to get the nomination and demolish America. The country hungers for a TRUE LEADER, a CAPABLE LEADER, the country needs Mitt Romney to turn the Bush agenda around and Finish this country once and for all.

    January 13, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  23. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Honestly Sniffin, did all the Hillary Clinton supporters support Obama because of their principles or because he was a Democrat? Most of them detested Obama, but I'm sure most of them voted for Obama in 2008. So I giess they have no principles either? Ridiculous.

    January 13, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  24. Cullenpest

    Seems they skipped yesterday's poll that said Romney would beat Obama if the race was held then.

    January 13, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. Woman In California

    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.

    Truth, people who are voting for Obama have something you don't understand (and I am not going to explain) WE HAVE GREAT MEMORIES and that is what will motivate us to go to the polls and VOTE AGAINST the vulture capitalist Willard Romney.

    January 13, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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