Virginia Poll: Romney way ahead but voters skeptical
March 2nd, 2012
07:28 AM ET
11 years ago

Virginia Poll: Romney way ahead but voters skeptical

(CNN) - Mitt Romney holds a commanding lead in Virginia, but a new poll also indicates that he's that not so popular among Republican primary voters in the Super Tuesday state.

According to a Roanoke College survey released Thursday, 56% of people likely to vote in Virginia's March 6 primary say they're backing the former Massachusetts governor, who's making his second bid for the GOP nomination. Twenty-one percent are supporting Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. The poll indicates Romney leads Paul among all demographics except younger voters.

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Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich failed to get on the ballot in Virginia, and won't be able to compete for the 36 delegates up for grabs. Virginia is one of ten states to vote on Super Tuesday.

But what if Santorum and Gingrich were on the ballot?

The poll indicates it would be a much closer race, with Romney at 31%, Santorum at 27%, Gingrich at 13% and Paul at 12%.

According to the survey, 47% have a favorable rating of Santorum, with 36% seeing Romney in a favorable light, followed by Paul at 29% and Gingrich at 25%. Santorum is the only one of the four major GOP White House hopefuls to have a favorable rating higher than their unfavorable rating.

"To state the obvious, it appears inevitable that Mitt Romney will win the primary," said Harry Wilson, director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College. "But with a higher unfavorable rating (36% favorable, 37% unfavorable) among those voting, he is not an overly popular choice. Whichever candidate gets the GOP nomination, he will have a lot of work to do in Virginia."

The Roanoke College poll was conducted from February 13 to February 28, with 377 likely Republican primary voters in Virginia questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus five percentage points.

Also see:

Seattle Times supports Romney as ‘default choice’ ahead of caucuses

Paul flier hits the other candidates

Gingrich robo call labels Santorum 'union bosses' pal'

Michigan results provoke accusations, ire

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Polls • Virginia
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    When your choice is between Mittens and Paul, I would think voters would stay home.

    March 2, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  2. diridi

    If they watch youtube, when mitt romney came to town, they never even go close. He is the one who shipped jobs to China, India. His Bain Capital sent millions of jobs overseas. Flip-Flop., Total Flip-Flop...that's it.

    March 2, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    There is a lot of voter fraud, voter suppression, and buying votes in the republican primaries.

    March 2, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Romney has an unfavorable rating of 37% among republicans in VA says a lot about McDonnell's choice. That is almost the point at which people can no longer hold their noses and vote Mittens.

    March 2, 2012 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Are republicans aware that Mittens' economic plan will add $3.4 trillion to our national debt in order to give bigger tax breaks for the wealthy?

    March 2, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  6. Steve851

    I urge every GOP voter to support Dr. Paul, not because I think he should be president, but to send a message to the GOP. We are sick of unfunded foreign adventurism that is bankrupting the country. The neocons are hypocrites. We are sick of politicians who pick and choose issues on which they are big government while saying they are small government. Get government out of our lives. We are sick of political liars, period. The GOP is not going to win the presidency in 2012, so it needs to be sent a message to get its act together for the future. .

    March 2, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  7. Mike Biastock

    i never been in a blog so excuse me if this isnt the topic. i would like somebody to ask the candites what they plan to do to the post office if they are put in the white house. im a carrier from ill. and havent heard a ? in the debates yet ( unless i missed them) can you please email me a response if i did miss the subject. and if not can somebody ask them for me thanks for your time

    March 2, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  8. GI Joe.

    Voters had better be skeptical. He's a liar and a fear-monger (ain't Joseph Smith's religion great - lying isn't even a sin).

    Someone told me that mormons believe lying to non-mormons is to be part of every day life in order to get ahead. Is that true? Anyone a mormon or ex-mormon?

    March 2, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  9. Manie

    the poll is junk I mean reall!!!! 377 people is not enough to come up with any conclusion or pattern. what a joke reporting has become.

    March 2, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  10. Al-NY,NY

    This and the Washington State newspaper "default" endorsement of Mittens says a lot. Add to that, the Southern Baptist guy yesterday saying the Mormon religion was more like Islam than Christianity. He will get the nomination but anyone that thinks he's going to get blind support in the general election is delusional.

    March 2, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  11. Peace

    If a person is skeptical, why go to vote? What is the use? By the way, yesterday we were told Republicans are more enthusiastic to vote than Dems. Does skepticism means enthusiastic nowadays?

    March 2, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  12. vic , nashville ,tn

    “The poll indicates Romney leads Paul among all demographics except younger voters.”

    Young people are not buying pious baloney

    March 2, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  13. weezer

    Romney's Granola campaign slogan to diifferentiate himself from the pack:: "I may be flake, but at least I'm not a nut!"

    March 2, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  14. Sorensen

    Of course Romney is ahead. He is up against a psycho, an old man and a "catholic" adulterer. "The best of the GOP!!!"
    Romney is running at 100 miles/hour towards going down in flames.

    March 2, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Not on the ballots, huh. I'll say it again. How a candidate runs and manages their campaign is a good measure of how they would run and managed their elected office. Not making the ballot speaks volumes.

    But, Mitt Romney has had his fiar share of problems, too. Most of his problem have simply been Mitt Romney. He says odd stuff that we have never heard before when he seems to be in his comfort zone, feeling good and confident about himself. His recent flip=flop over the Blunt-Rubio Amendment is self evident.

    His excuse was something made up on the fly. If he truly believed that the interviewer was discussing an issue at the state level, a piece of legislation that would prohibit employers from being forced to purchase contraceptives as Romney himself said during the interview, then why would he be against that. If Romney is against it at the national level, shouldn't he have also been against it at the state and local level, too? I would think so.

    March 2, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  16. Ancient Texan

    This may be the ONE state that Ron Paul wins; the message is that the Conservatives don't think a RINO can win.

    March 2, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  17. Jay Tea

    56 + 21 = 77 . So where is the other 23%?

    March 2, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  18. Steve

    Many voters in the other 49 states are skeptical, too, and they are republicans no less.

    March 2, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  19. NRC

    That poll is worthless. Feb 13th start date, really? SO much has happened since then including Santorum driving his candidacy into the ditch by insulting everyone. He just insulted George Bush SR today, calling him a loser and a moderate. He forgets that the only reason he lost is that Ross Perot was on the ballot. This poll would be way different now, imo.

    March 2, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. G

    Romney will win, because the Republican establishment has spoken.

    March 2, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  21. Nick

    I can really feel for Mrs. Romney; trying to sell her husband as an ordinary guy is even harder than trying to sell the Brooklyn Bridge. He wears those mom jeans ad nausium (and they need to go back in the washing machine); his smile is too intense (how does he stand the pain in his cheek muscles?) and his eyes are cynical. Yes, he really does make people skeptical.

    March 2, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. George

    Looks like Team Romney has told him to start shaking hands with the rest of us people–not to worry, Ann can aford the best hand soap/sanitizer and plenty of it. Better run down that line of people quick Mitt, before somebody asks you an inconvenient question.

    March 2, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |