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. ericwhyte

    It just boggles the mind how a poll of 1,021 people even matters in a national election, or that it makes news.

    January 13, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. Mittens magic Undies

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Americans will NOT reward FAILURE with another 4 years......

    Yet, you put Bush in the white house twice,
    and now want to replace him with Romney, and go back to the same FAILED policies.

    Obama is doing a good job, let the Democrats clean up after
    the Republicans, as usual.
    There is no going back.

    January 13, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. Karyn

    So, let me get this straight. You poll 1,021 adult Americans and you've concluded that Romney is the top guy??? Last time I checked that was a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of society. I'm sure those 1,021 adult Americans were specifically selected to push the results in favor of who pays you. Not a legitimate poll when you are the one hiring the firm. Try using a 3rd party that you have no ties to.

    January 13, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. mike with a mustache

    Just because Romney played the POTUS in Independence Day does not mean he's a credible option!

    January 13, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. Nate

    Since CNN is "moderating" comments, I will post until my post makes it through!
    Go the the PDF, go to the top of page 7! No one under the age of 50 was polled!
    This is a biased poll by CNN! This is NOT a National Poll!

    January 13, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Jo Jo

    Hey, did you hear Romney traveled all the way to Canada with his pet dog riding on top of the roof of his car? Now, I'm no expert but why would anyone allow their pet dog to travel long distance in a sealed cage on top of their car? Of course the poor dog became sick and started losing its bowels. Guess what Romney did? He stopped the car long enough to hose down the dog and car but once he was done, the dog went right back in it's cage on top of the car again (sick and all). Now, where is PETA when you need them?

    January 13, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. Woman In California

    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?

    Your life sounds like a success story based on hard work (unlike Willard). I applaud you. As an answer to your question – Romney is not the type to have any friends. He is the "CinderFella" of the republican party or the bridesmaid never to be the bride. Just wait and watch him fall apart against a one on one matchup with the president. Get your popcorn read.

    January 13, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. Debbie

    With Cheney and Rove behind him how can Romney not win, buy, the election?

    January 13, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. DocinPA

    Romney’s nervous, corporate laugh would be no match for Obama’s cerebral, stylistic manor.

    January 13, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  10. Woman In California


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

    Sorry to disappoint you but Huntsman is not ready for prime time.

    January 13, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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
    Regardless of their motivations they can't kick out what will NEVER go least not until after 2016.

    January 13, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  12. Max

    Obama better start packing his bags... ROMNEY 2012!!!!

    January 13, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  13. Donkey Party

    Can someone send Jariv a Justin Bieber (or Scott Brown) poster to hang next to his bed? Jariv, please go pleasure yourself to all things Romney somewhere else, it's way to creepy.

    January 13, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

    Republicans destroy country in eight years.
    Americans get angry and vote a democrat into the white house.
    After four years democrats have yet to repair all of the damage.
    So americans want to replace him with a clone of the republican who did the damage.

    You Americans are insane.
    Your friends in australia.

    January 13, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  15. bzmqmsb

    Mitt may have created jobs but are they the right kind to build an econemy? I've done some spot checks most of the jobs created are minimum wage ones. In california that means $21840 in income per position. How will one earning that wage support a family, buy a nouse, or a car and contribute to the financial health of the community? Will they have federal and state assistance with health care and other needs the wage does not permit. What were the salaries of those jobs eliminated that also had retirement and healtcare benifits? The industry average pre raiding was about $30 per hour at $62400. Since the price of products from those sources has increased and the costs have gone down isn;t that a shift of wealth from the middle class? Wolf be careful how much you believe the figure candidates through around.

    January 13, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  16. Woman In California

    Correction: get your popcorn ready.

    January 13, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. Hair bear

    I'm not ah Romney fan! Most people will way there options and like it are not if it comes down to Obama and Romney! I can't see myself voting for ah Mormon! Plus this guys in the 1percent! I don't think he's concerned that much about the 99percents well being!

    January 13, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. unsub

    what do folks see in willard? i mean really see in the guy? are you all rich?

    January 13, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  19. PP1887

    I was once very concerned that Obama may be seriously threatened by the GOP in the coming elections. But after looking at the entire GOP field and their leading candidate, I only have two words: Thanks GOP!

    January 13, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  20. Jimmyjohn

    "Romney rises in the polls"
    I bet his wife wishes something other than the polls would rise for Romney.
    Typical Republican.

    January 13, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  21. rick

    Makes me sad to realize, reading all the posted comments, that our country is overpopulated with sheep and lemmings. No one seems to be able to think for themselves. Problem is, they go to the media for their information. Big mistake. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted, this place we call the U.S.A.

    January 13, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  22. Jimmyjohn

    The agreement says comments are not pre screened, then the message says "your comment is awaiting moderation"
    CNN violates their own terms of service.
    But only regarding Romney.
    Post this CNN, I dare you.

    January 13, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  23. gordyb

    Once Mitt gets the nomination, the tea party, the evangelicals will leave him. His personality is like a wet blanket and most of his responses are robotic. Obama will kill him in the debates and the country is tired of the do nothing GOP congress. This will be a big year for the Dems in spite of the opposition.

    January 13, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  24. Brad

    Mitt Romney has more business sense located in his ring finger than our current commander in chief

    January 13, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  25. Brock Hoffpauir

    The reason everyone is supporting Romney is because he's the only real viable candidate.

    January 13, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
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