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. joe smith

    cnn poll; blitzer asks bash, bash asks cafferty, cafferty asks blitzer, and they all end up having a conference call with jane fonda..she said something like, ted would aprove, just run the numbers, the romney people will love it..

    January 13, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  2. jp

    Hey we all know you and all the media wants Romney as the guys are doing an excellent job to get it done. shame on you biased media!!!

    January 13, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  3. Steve

    Does the Mitt fit?

    January 13, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. mirrorlogic

    Some of you may have heard before the statement Republicans fall in line behind their candidates; Democrats fall in love with theirs.
    What we are seeing is the Herd effect of Republicans falling in line...but they are definitely not falling in love with Willard Mitt.
    But between folks getting through the message and Willard Mitt's own self-inflicted damage revealing his soul and view of Americans ENVY toward those with money...even the tendency of Republicans to fall in line will come under challenge.

    January 13, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. New World Order

    Mitt Romney will be elected to the white house.
    This will be.
    You have no say in the matter.
    We have assumed control.
    End transmission.

    January 13, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  6. joe smith

    news flash; new poll; Ron Paul up by 20% in S.C., gingrich up 1%, but newt gets the press..what gives

    news flash; Ron Paul up by 20% in S.C.; but newt is up 1%; newt gets the press..what gives?


    January 13, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    Stop trying to cram that flip flopper down our throats. Un-electable, un-likable, un-truthful.

    I'm voting for "that one" AGAIN.

    January 13, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  8. Look at the Facts

    I find it very humorous when certain Romney haters misconstrue the facts or only tell part of the truth that benefits them. Like because Romney receiving 34% of the votes means that 66% don't want him in the WH. That is very miopic thinking, considering that at this same time in 2008 Senator Obama received 36% of the votes. That must have meant that 64% of democrates didn't want him elected. Go figure. But I guess if that makes them feel better about Obama's chances for reelection, you keep telling yourself that.
    With 6 candidates still in the race, there is going to be shared votes until they start dropping out like they will after South Carolina and Florida. You will then begin to see a bigger jump in Romney's numbers as less candidates are on the ballots and voters are choosing from the current cast of nominees. it's really not that difficult to figure out. Be realistic with your facts.

    January 13, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. Mike in Texas

    To Truth and nothing but the truth:

    Please give us specifics how badly Romney will destroy Obama in the election. Give us the % of votes each will get and the electoral votes for each. Please include which states each will win. Otherwise refrain from your "Get off my lawn" old man ranting. It is stale like week old bread.

    January 13, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  10. jason

    wow the bigotry towards mormons on here is scary it really is... i wouldnt vote for mitt rommney in a million years not because of his religion but because of his politics which coincidentally is the same reason i wont vote for obama... getting back to the mormon thing though you will never find a kinder people than that who call themselves mormon im not one personally but i live in utah and interact with mormons all day long... religion in my eyes promotes bigotry and hate i dont get it politics does the same thing... i wish for a country that will give me nothing but my personal liberty the right to do as i choose as long as it dont affect anyone negatively and for that reason ron paul will have my vote and my voice!!!

    January 13, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  11. Robert Zuckschwerdt

    It's my understanding that Mormon's believe in Brigham Young's teachings, not christianity . I couldn't support that.

    January 13, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  12. ToniLynn

    Romney, ugh! But, CNN told us the day the campaign officially kicked off that Romney was the "front runner" and nothing has changed that...even though he can't get anywhere near 50% approval from anybody!

    January 13, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  13. George Washington

    The only people who run your government should be volunteers.
    They should do it for love of country.
    Not for profit.
    Until Americans understand this,
    you will be controled by money.
    Its not too late to take this back.
    But it has to be "ALL" Americans, or none.
    Freedom for, and freedom from.
    It is your choice America.
    What path will you take ?

    January 13, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  14. Pat

    God help us all if the mormon 'church' gets a hold on the Presidency!

    January 13, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  15. jason

    I am getting so sick of CNN. Fair and Balance is a bunch of BS.
    Romney is no different than Obama! They are both corporate puppets who have the 1% controlling them!
    CNN should be ashamed of itself. Not like this comment is going to make any difference though.

    January 13, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  16. bwarn

    I am from Canada and I follow the U.S. electorate process reasonably closely. I must admit that sometimes I am bemused to hear political rhetoric over and over. We in Canada complete the election process in about 6 weeks and in this length of time the issues and specific policies being presented by the candidates (reasonable or not) determine the results. Watching CNN I am quite frankly lacking in an understanding of the candidates platforms, rather the news of the day is whether Mitt is Hispanic-American, whether his dog really rode on the roof of his car and as Newt would say he speaks French. Which by the way Newt does. Is this really the election process to determine who could potentially run the most powerful country in the world? Our system is Canada is not perfect, however there is little time during the election process for rhetoric and negative campaigning. Can't we just stick to the issues that are of real importance? Dr. Bob

    January 13, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  17. An Independent

    "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."

    What I think that shows is how little most of the people polled earlier know about the political landscape in this country. If they ever thought a far right candidate had a better chance of winning in November, they obviously didn't know the true state of things – probably from listening to the far right commentators, "news" programs etc. that make them think the far right is actually mainstream. Only after two states vote decisively against him do they see how little chance a seriously flawed candidate like Gingrich has? Anyone other than Romney or Huntsman has no chance to win in November. At least the country had better hope none of the others can win. Current conditions would look absolutely wonderful compared to what we'd look like after a few years with Santorum or Gingrich or Perry or Paul as president.

    January 13, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  18. Tyler Durden

    Romney is that kid everybody hated that was an arrogant little twit and he really needed his *** kicked but because his dad was your dad's boss you couldn't do it.

    January 13, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  19. Tyler Durden

    President Obama was raised by a single mom and grew out of that situation to become a Harvard law school graduate and professot. Romney was born into a rich family (just like W. Bush) and Daddy have him everything he needed (just like W. Bush). Which one of these men will understand the American people more?

    January 13, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  20. Dan

    Paul's finished...history =)

    January 13, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  21. Tyler Durden

    I saw one comment on TV: "I'm voting for him because he LOOKS like a president!" Some people are just so brilliant.

    January 13, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  22. Liz the First

    That makes him the least of the evils. but he's still an evil. the best rethug out there isn't fit to shine President Obama's shoes! romney is a Ken doll with moving parts.

    January 13, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  23. francis

    It is good he is doing well. I think either Romney or Newt can beat Obama. And Obama needs to be beaten in Nov. He truely s

    January 13, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  24. Liz the First

    Um, Mike with a mustache, that was Bill Pullman who played the president in Independence Day.

    January 13, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  25. Feed Your Head

    Republicans are a dying brand.
    They can thank the Tea Party for the dagger.
    Time to move forward.
    The battle is not over yet.
    But the outcome will be the same.
    Its a new world out there.
    Embrace it.

    January 13, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
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