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. DeTamble

    *** Wrong ***

    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 !!

    We need a woman president.
    They tend to be smart, tough, but fair.
    Less ego, more understanding.
    Even if not, i would rather have a beech in the white house
    than some village idiot playing cowboy.

    January 13, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. Bob

    I voted for Obama last time. Not this time. He's not strong enough to get it done. I'm leaning towards Romney. His leadership experience will give us focus and a clear direction.

    January 13, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  3. sayer

    Romney said, "You all are just jealous of us rich folks." And most GOPers are still going to vote for him? What a bunch of noobs. God help us middle and lower income folks if he is elected president.

    January 13, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. Harrys Putter

    mike with a mustache

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

    I would rather have the guy in the movie, at least he cared about his country.

    January 13, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  5. Michelle Wall

    What is the definition of "Christian- Conservative"? Mr. Romney is Christian and he's pro-life. Just because the Mormons aren't part of the Evangelical organization doesn't mean they're not Christians. After all, the church Mitt Romney and his family attend is called The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints. Anyone doesn't know if Mormons are Christians, do yourself a favor, take time to find out what the Mormons believe, what they study and how they live. I did, I am a Christian and Conservative and also a member of the Church. However, reading from the previous posts I may be talking to the wrong crowd.

    January 13, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. FrankinSD

    Interesting. Romney is rising among Republicans. But he's falling behind in the head-to-head match up with Obama. Maybe he needs to shake up the race with a daring VP selection. Oh wait, that has been tried.

    January 13, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. Truth1

    Anybody and I mean anybody, who votes for Romney is just not paying attention. You need to see the 28 minutes ad that "his" own republicans released on him about what he did at Bain. This is not against capitalisim, this is pure cold hard greed and should be outlaws some of the things thios guy pulled. Well his republican friends hedge on calling him a liar, but I won't. He's a bold face liar when he say's he created jobs. If people won't to vote for him, go ahead, but don't cry when you or your children lose their home and jobs. Romney dosen't give a crap, he only wants the presidency so his friends can cash in. He's worth billions, they only find $250 million in the U.S and he has billions in off shore accounts. People pay attention, don't fall for that clean cut, all american family, routine.

    January 13, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  8. Truth1

    Romney, wants the presidency so he can make more money for his croonies. Why else would these big donors get behind a man that pulled the stunts Romney did at Bain Capital?

    January 13, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  9. Bob Moore

    Mitt is a FAILED, 1-term Governor with 34% approval (even with all the leftist work he did). Mitt is a POPULIST, and a PHONY at that. proof: "Mittstant Replay" youtube. *SPREAD THE WORD*

    January 13, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "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."

    And of course you avoided any mention of all the polls and poll averages showing that Obama still beats every single GOP/Teatroll candidate nationally.

    January 13, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. Don

    If Romney gets elected for President hang on to your shorts, S&P will downgrade the US credit rating to BB and by mid term we will have junk bond status ofr a rating, just like 99% of all the companies taken over by Bains, yep, leverage them soo deep they are about to go bust and then have a fire sale. The Chinese will end up owning all of our Monuments and the Smithsonian as well as the Mall in Washington and North Korea will end up owning 50% of our National parks. We will all be learning the Chinese anthem and celebrating Kim Jong Uns birthday each year by sending him 10% of our yearly wages. Oh and the new minimum wage will be $.25 an hour and there will be no salary jobs unless you are part of the new Romney Corp or Bains.

    January 13, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  12. Harrys Putter

    Once apon a time there was two partys.
    The "Do" party,
    and the "Dont" party.
    The "Do" party was always trying to do things.
    The "Dont" party was always saying, you should not do that
    all the while doing the same thing.
    Some people in the "Dont" party decided to start thier own party
    and call it the "NO" party.
    This upset both the "Do" party, and the "Dont" party.

    The moral of the story my children is this,
    The "No" party, is no fun.

    Its time to start the "Fun" party.

    All are invited.

    January 13, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  13. cisom

    Obama = broke america. Romney has a proven record of turning government and private industry around financially. Elect Obama and see if you can break another spending record.

    January 13, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. Don

    BS! Manufactured news.

    January 13, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  15. a disgrace

    obama's failed presidency is over...

    January 13, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  16. Tim

    Nice reporting – no one under 50 years of age were included????? Why not just a poll of all the people on Mitt Romney's payroll? There is no longer any reporting, just attempt at persuasion. Why don't you look up "ethics" on Wikipedia, nevermind CNN or Mitt might have written it. Ron Paul 2012!

    January 13, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. willie floyd

    Romney has nothing to envy. I believe strongly what my Bible tells me-"the love of money is the root of all evil". I have no problem with people who acquire great wealth-it's how they acquire it and what they do with it that counts. I have 3 vets. (deceased) that I am very proud of. Neither Romney nor his 5 sons have done anything to aid our country during the yrs. we have been in 2 wars.

    January 13, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. DK

    Romney is just a corporate puppet who passed obama care (which the health care industry loves) before obama did..
    It's a great choice if you want a corporate elitist who ignores everyone but the 1%.

    January 13, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  19. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    @ Jariv....

    PLEASE show us all the pictures with dates that Obama was out golfing and for every one of those I can show you at least 3 of him in DC or trying to get your GOP buddies to get something done. You righties need to stop with the LIES. Come up with some concrete truth for a change and perhaps more will take your type seriously.

    January 13, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  20. Alina1

    Americans are soooo stupids, Romney saying that he is going to repeal Health Care, deregulate firms that f...t up US, and make tax cuts for rich permanent. What Americans do? They want to vote for SOME MORE OF THAT.
    Flag in your hands but don't cry after.

    January 13, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  21. a disgrace

    after the dreadful failure obama has been he does not deserve to be voted out but should face the disgrace of being removed from office....

    January 13, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  22. HH

    Mitt is polling well right now but Hmmm, I wonder what tax rate he pay. 10 percent. I hope he hold out showing his taxes at least until he get the nod from the GOP.

    January 13, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  23. John

    Has anyone seen any of his wives other than the one that's typically with him on tv?

    January 13, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  24. Bop Till You Drop

    Democrats have the White House.
    Republicans want the White House.
    The Tea Party wants America.
    By any means.
    The war for your soul has just begun.

    January 13, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  25. Rigo Santa Cruz

    Why is the media favoring too much Romney? I observe this favoritism from the media left and right. Is it because congressman Ron Paul is polling way better than the rest of the pack but Romeny? So they should just shove Romeny down the throat of the American people? I begin to think that the U.S is so well corrupted/controlled for the interest of a few and we the people still think these media bias is just "normal". I am not a highly scholar person, but when I read the news article I realize that journalism is dead.

    January 13, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
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