CNN Poll: Huntsman departure a drop rather than splash
January 16th, 2012
11:04 AM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Huntsman departure a drop rather than splash

Washington (CNN) - How much of an impact will Jon Huntsman's ending of his bid for the presidency make in the race for the GOP presidential nomination?

The results of a national survey indicate the answer may be 'not much.'

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According to a CNN/ORC International poll released Friday, 34% of Republicans and independent voters who lean towards the GOP said they were backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for their party's nomination, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 18%, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania each at 15%, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 9% and Huntsman at 4%.

The poll also asked candidates for their second choice. And the answers to that second-choice question can be used to re-compute the horse race without the former Utah governor. But that new horse race result shows little change. Romney edged up slightly by two points, to 36%, while support for Gingrich, Paul, Santorum and Perry remained exactly the same. Huntsman voters who don't name Romney as their second choice tended not to have a second choice at all, leaving them in the "none" or "unsure" categories in the re-computed horse race.

As the poll indicated, Huntsman's move may ever so slightly help Romney gain support among a sliver of the moderate and establishment wing of the GOP, but other than that there appears there would be no impact.

"Even after a good third-place showing in New Hampshire, nearly half of all Americans did not know who Huntsman was or did not have an opinion about him." says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That goes a long way toward explaining why Huntsman had relatively few supporters in a post-New Hampshire nationwide poll."

Huntsman, the former Utah governor and former ambassador to China, skipped the Iowa caucuses and spent nearly all of his time campaigning in New Hampshire the past few months. He finished in third place, with 17% of the vote in the first-in-the-nation primary, behind Romney at 39% and Paul at 23%.

Last Tuesday night, Huntsman said his bronze medal in New Hampshire was "ticket to ride" to move him onto South Carolina, which holds the third contest in the primary and caucus calendar, but Huntsman changed his mind Sunday and now his ride towards the nomination is over.

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.

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN

Also see:

Paul scores sought after endorsement in South Carolina

DeMint: I will not endorse

Romney nabs Florida endorsement

FIRST ON CNN: Huntsman to drop out

Filed under: 2012 • CNN/ORC International poll • Jon Huntsman • Polls • South Carolina
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Dr. Knowit all

    being associated to Obama Administration has its drawbacks.

    January 16, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. SaveSS Cut Military

    Huntsman was only in the race to insure Ron Paul wouldn't win in NH. Would be interesting to see if his donor list included enemies of Ron Paul ie NYC neocons.

    January 16, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Fair is Fair

    The only real question is this – now that the democrats favorite republican is out of the race, which one will they vote for in the open primaries?

    January 16, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Scott O' Canada

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Intergrity has just left the building. Would the last person please shut off the lights before you leave. The only candidate that expressed concern over the rhetoric on numerous issues. The only candidate that believed that the best time to start a trade war with any nation was never. Well played Mr. Huntsman. Well palyed indeed.

    January 16, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. GI Joe

    Name recognition 2016. That's what it was all about?

    Say hello to our next Ambassador to China. ha ha ha ha haha

    January 16, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. Larry in Houston

    I will have to agree with "dr.knowit all" & ""save ss cut military" – working for the obama administration would hurt him for the nomination, and for more votes. Also, Huntsman already knows that Ron Paul is "nibbling" at Romney's heels, so to speak) He would have either tied Romney , or come in at a very close 2nd place, to Romney, so in my opinion, I think that's why Huntsman decided to get out Before the S.C. Election primary. In essence, dropping out now, means that Romney will defeat Ron Paul, more than just a few votes.

    Larry in Houston

    January 16, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair asked:

    The only real question is this – now that the democrats favorite republican is out of the race, which one will they vote for in the open primaries?
    Rick Perry? Democrats would vote in the primaries for whatever Not-Romney that Republicans would. But, it starting to look like the "Not Romney" candidate in the fall is going to be Pres. Obama.

    January 16, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Vic

    and Newt will endorse Paul, just because he can't stand Romeny. This is Newtology.

    January 16, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Fair is Fair

    Rudy thinks:

    "But, it starting to look like the "Not Romney" candidate in the fall is going to be Pres. Obama."
    Since he has no record of positive accomplishments on which to run, I'll concede to you, Rudy, that the Obama theme will probably be "I am not Romney". Good luck with that, by the way.

    January 16, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    He needed more in Iowa and a better showing in New Hampshire to stay in the race. He shouldn't have endorsed anyone in th race when he left.

    January 16, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. B

    The only Republican that has ANY honorable history and dedication to the country and not corporations and Wall Street and he is dismissed!

    The rest of them are corrupt puppets of the top 2% that control everything and they are still in there fighting to reinstall the same policies that got us all into this debacle..

    I am supporting Obama, the only one to be trusted in this time of uncontrolled greed over power and money.

    January 16, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. adam

    If it came to Obama v. Huntsman, I would have voted Huntsman. Given the remaining GOP field, I have to vote Obama, although I'm not enthralled with him.

    January 16, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. Guest

    Give the poor man a break. Sure, he wasn't polling well, but at least he looked like a gentleman on stage. The people writing these stories need to remember that they are talking about real human beings here.

    January 16, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Larry in Houston

    @ Vic – – "the Newtology" "newter" – – IF he endorses Anybody – he would endorse "the Sanitarium" before he endorses Paul.

    January 16, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair

    "If it came to Obama v. Huntsman, I would have voted Huntsman. Given the remaining GOP field, I have to vote Obama, although I'm not enthralled with him."
    Uh huh... I'm sure. Well, OK. Just stay home. We're OK with that.

    January 16, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. chedar

    They should start the primary in California then to the more liberal and then to the secular states. Instead they starts with the Corn picking hand of IOWA to the Cotton picking hand of SC. The current Looney Tune pack lect is no match with Obama.

    January 16, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. Bakul M Bhatt

    Is President Obama an 'UNTOUCHABLE' for any Republican or a Republican, who works for the President becomes an "UNTOUCHABLE' in GOP? Earlier the last Governor of Florida and now, Ambassador Hunt.

    January 16, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. mr deshon

    Really? Republicans want any candidate who can beat Obama this year even if they dont like him? Huntsman was a uniter & that doomed his chances out of the gate. Republicans are stupid if they think their save the rich/screw the poor mantra is ever going to gain them the White House. Remember a house divided can not stand. Since they love quoting the bible so much! Good luck to you Mr. Huntsman you were a visionary far before his time. You will be sorely missed.

    January 16, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. Tony

    How sad for the GOP...

    The ONLY candidate on their side qualified to be president that hasn't been co-opted by the extreme right.

    Many, many independents would have voted for him.

    Please nominate Gingrich, Santorum, Paul or Perry...any of those guarantee the election for President Obama.

    January 16, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  20. carlos

    one thing for sure: not the MixedMexMitt ....not the VOLTURE....not the HYPOCRITE and PREVARICATOR....not the JOBS KILLER....not the one who says the POOR are ENVIOUS of the rich....why would anybody vote for the GWB smirk....what a disgrace we will become as a thanks....

    January 16, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  21. yogi

    Huntsman was the only decent candidate of the GOP contenders. Having a very low approval rate in the primaries really shows how dumb the Republican party is.
    Obama 2012: Intelligence, charisma, vision, dignity, compassion.

    January 16, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  22. independent

    Here is a man who should switch parties, only he hasn't figured that out yet. Look around you Jon. There is no place for you in the Republican Party. It took and open-minded Democrat to make you an ambassador. Think about running against MItt again in 2016, as a Democrat.

    January 16, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  23. donna

    Mini-Romney? This whole time I thought he was a Democrat.

    January 16, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  24. Bigs

    Quitter? Say it aint so Jon. It's now all clear for the Mittster to do the George Bush on the economy which is just starting to show some signs of life. What a Mittstake.

    January 16, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  25. DavidE7

    I agree with those who say Huntsman is the best and Romney is the worst. For Romney, it's all about money and power. For Huntsman, it's about honor, courage, and dignity. For the Re publicans to prefer Romney to Huntsman is incredible. And I'm not a Democrat!

    January 17, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |