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. a disgrace

    once we get the candidates sorted out we can then start the preparations to end obama's failed presidency early....

    January 13, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  2. SPQR

    What has Mitt Romeny ever done for the middle class ?

    Mitt Romney is infected with the disease that is killing The United States of America.

    January 13, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  3. marc

    i do not trust any of the candidates ,lets face it dem or rep ,when the election over do you realy think they will care about us ,,,,,,,its a power trip thats why mickey mouse will get my vote this time around im tired of the same bull time and time again ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    January 13, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  4. BeverlyNC

    When Romney has to face President Obama in a REAL debate where answers have to have details and be truthful, Romney will fall apart, stutter, and look like the idiot he is. It's going to be very embarassing for the Republican Party. Hope Romney brings down the House Republicans running for office with him. They are traitors to the People and do not deserve the honor of serving in our Congress. We need leaders not obstructionists

    January 13, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  5. Fire0bama

    Go Gov. Romney! You will make a great president for our country! Fire that empty suit without any real experiences in Nov. 2012!

    January 13, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  6. Eric

    So they've run out of alternatives finally........

    January 13, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  7. lsm

    Romney is way better equipped to fix the economy than Obama. Go Romney!

    January 13, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  8. TJeff1776

    These soothsayers can gives multiple reasons about this and that BUT the polls were darn close to being right both in Iowa AND N.H.. No matter, the only viable poll to watch exist the day before the election.

    January 13, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  9. julie

    When I look at Romney, I see "POTUS" written all over him. I cant wait to see him in the WH. God bless him!!

    January 13, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  10. quieteye

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth – Its clear your truth has metastasized into delusion. To have Mr. 1% as a President returning a party that has proven itself to represent interests not of the majority of people, but mainly to serve the 1%, corporate concerns at the expense of the environment and the nation is pathetic.

    January 13, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  11. yellow brick road

    Ron Paul 2012
    If I have to choose between a garbage republican or a tyrant I will vote for the guy who bring the system down faster. Sorry.......I am tired of not have a voice. Restore or fall!

    January 13, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  12. Scott

    Some of these polls are so blatantly flawed, it's sickening.

    Some are from the south only.

    Some are for 50+ ages only.

    Some are from rural locatiosn only.

    Some are... well, you get the point. The reason these polls are so far off come voting time is because their sampling size is terrible and inaccurate.

    Come on, 50+ only poll??

    January 13, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  13. Jerry

    Watch out Mr. Power Grabber-in-Chief. Absolutely NO extended powers for you or your flunkies!

    Like some of your misguided supporters say: End Of Story!!!

    January 13, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  14. Weapons Of Mass Distortion


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

    Why not ?
    They used the supreme court to hand the election to George Bush,
    when it was clear Al Gore had won Florida.

    No sour grapes here, its history.
    But now the Republicans are up to old tricks again.
    Voter registration fraud.
    Lets see how many poor, black and hispanic people they can
    eliminate from voting, due to new, and uneeded laws,
    because they vote democrat.

    January 13, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  15. pprty

    Romney thinks people are envious of the rich which makes me think he doesn't belong in the White House.

    January 13, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  16. RD44

    I think if you make decisions based on facts, Romney will beat obama by a landslide. Its Competence vs big talk.

    January 13, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  17. Mass Debator

    I just polled 100 people.
    51 % like Daffy Duck.
    49 % like Donald Duck.
    Margin for error, 110 %.

    January 13, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  18. Dylan

    Well readers consider this: This is not a national poll. It only polls people in suburban areas in the south over the age of 50. None of which was mentioned in the areticle, they make it sound like a national poll. Totally deceptive. Read the pdf if you don't believe me. BOGUS POLL!! CNN should be ashamed.

    January 13, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  19. Neil

    wow that one person is right this poll is only on people 50+

    why must the media do such shoddy reporting on elections??

    January 13, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  20. T'sah From Virginia

    Polls – SMOLLS!!
    Endorsements – SCHMENDORSEMENTS!!
    Romney – Hominy
    gin – GRINCH
    Santorum – "true BOREDOM!
    Huntsman – DUNK-him
    PAUL – small
    Perry – Scarey!!

    And tomorrow it will be FLIPPED but say the same thing!!!

    Obama 2012!!

    January 13, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. works4me

    I've got your poll (pole) Romney

    January 13, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  22. More Than Meets The Eye

    Every time i see Mitt Romney in an interview,
    or a debate, i get this wierd feeling he is going to turn into
    something else.

    Some super cartoon character, like

    Conservative Man !
    Protector of the rich,
    able to leap all questions in a single bound,
    and while disguised as mild mannered conservative
    will bring poverty and mayhem to the American way.

    January 13, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  23. mirrorlogic

    Herd behavior describes how individuals in a group can act together without planned direction. The term pertains to the behavior of animals but also human conduct during activities such as stock market bubbles and crashes, street demonstrations, sporting events, religious gatherings, episodes of mob violence and everyday decision-making, judgment and opinion-forming...what these polls do is reinforce Herd behavior!
    -But just because the Herd is moving in a particular direction doesn't mean it will turn out to be a good thing...let's see if S.C. turns the Herd a bit away from the encroaching cliff...if you believe Willard Mitt can win when he characterizes hard working Americans as having ENVY for the real inequality of money – then you are heading for the cliff.

    January 13, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  24. RW

    Is America ready for a Mormon president? Mormonism is a CULT! Black ministers weren't allowed until 1978! Romney is a liar and a flip flopper.Be careful what you wish for.I also think Romney would give a presidential pardon to William Jeffers.Also, I want to know as the 99% is where are your tax returns Romney?

    January 13, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  25. Eye Of The Sun

    Mitt tried that blue jean thing, ya know,
    try to look like "one of the guys"
    Looked like a redneck moron.

    So, now they put him back in a suit and tie,
    and he still looks like a corporate shark.

    No matter how you dress it,
    there are just some things that you cannot sell.

    Maybe they should just put him in Hitler drag.
    Now that fits.

    January 13, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
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