CNN Poll: Majority in GOP say Gingrich and Paul should end bids
March 27th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: Majority in GOP say Gingrich and Paul should end bids

Washington (CNN) - As the GOP presidential primary and caucus calendar nears its fourth month, a new survey indicates most Republicans would like to see Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul drop their bids for the nomination.

And a majority of Republicans questioned in a CNN/ORC International poll say their party's presidential nomination should be determined by the primaries and caucuses rather than at the GOP convention in Tampa, Florida in late August. But according to the survey, a majority of Republicans don't want Rick Santorum to end his campaign for the nomination.

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Six out of ten Republicans say that Gingrich should drop out of the race, with 39% saying that the former House speaker should not end his bid. And 61% say Paul should drop out, with 36% saying that the longtime congressman from Texas should continue to campaign for the White House.

Thirty-nine percent of Republicans say Santorum should end his bid, with nearly six in ten saying the former senator from Pennsylvania should not drop out of the race.

"Republican women are particularly supportive of Santorum continuing his bid for the White House," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "More than two-thirds of GOP the women interviewed said that they wanted Santorum to stay in the race, compared to only 51 percent of men."

The same question was also asked of GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, with more than three-quarters saying the former Massachusetts governor should continue his campaign.

According to the poll, which was released Tuesday, 36% of Republicans support Romney for the nomination and 26% back Santorum. It was a different story in February, when the two men were effectively tied in CNN's last national survey, with Santorum at 34% and Romney at 32%. In the new poll, Paul wins support from 17%, with Gingrich at 15%.

"Republicans recognize that Romney is the odds-on favorite to become the party's nominee. Seven in ten think he is almost certain or very likely to win. That perception may explain his rising support from the GOP rank and file," adds Holland.

The poll seems to dispel the notion that if Gingrich dropped out of the race, his supporters would mostly flock to Santorum, considered the other major conservative candidate in the race. A majority of Gingrich supporters questioned say that Romney rather than Santorum is their second choice.

"If you recalculate the GOP horse race using the Gingrich voters' second choice, Romney's lead over Santorum grows to fifteen percentage points, 45% for Romney and 30% for Santorum, compared to the ten-point margin Romney currently has in the four-man field," says Holland.

"Take Paul out of the picture and reallocate his supporters to their second choice and Romney's lead grows to 19 points over Santorum."

While Romney is the choice of more Republicans and has a commanding lead in delegates, the poll indicates his supporters are still lukewarm about him. A majority of Santorum voters say that they strongly support their candidate. But six in ten Romney voters say they don't strongly support Romney. And while Republicans view Romney as a strong leader who can defeat Obama in November and get the economy moving again, Santorum scores higher than Romney on likeability, honesty, compassion, values, and his stands on the issues.
According to CNN's latest delegate estimate, Romney has secured 569 delegates, and needs 575 more to reach the 1,144 needed to clinch the GOP nomination. That equals 47% of the remaining 1,213 delegates up for grabs. The odds get a bit higher for Santorum: According to the CNN estimate, he has 262 delegates, and would need to grab 882 delegates, or 73% of those remaining.

Gingrich has 136 delegates, meaning he would need to win 1,008, or 83% of the remaining delegates, to clinch the nomination. And Paul has 71 delegates according to the CNN estimate, meaning he would need to secure 1,073 delegates, or 88% of those still up for grabs, to become the Republican nominee.

The primary and caucus calendar comes a close in late June, and if no candidate has clinched the nomination, there's a chance it would come down to a contested convention in Tampa.

A majority of those questioned, 53%, say they the GOP nominee should be determined during the primaries, with 43% saying the nominee should be picked at the convention.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International Saturday and Sunday, with 1,014 adults nationwide, including 463 Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for questions on the GOP nomination is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

Also see:

Palin congratulates Santorum over 'bulls-' remark

Gingrich campaign charges $50 for photos

Paul: Don't count me out

Romney not worried about Sanoturm, labels Russia No. 1 'foe'

Filed under: 2012 • CNN poll • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum • Ron Paul
soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    Nope, they should both keep going! It's just too much fun to watch!

    March 27, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. KJ

    I bet a majority would say Romney should drop out to. Why don't you try polling that?

    Meanwhile, at least half of Ron Paul's support comes from cross over voters – check election results. And double his support, accordingly.

    March 27, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Paul and Gingrich did their job for the Kochs and big money by staying in. It allowed Mittens to all but lock up the nomination.

    March 27, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |

    Everyone but Newty thinks he should go home but he's making too much money on his book tour, selling and signing books, NOW he's even charging $50 if you want a picture taken with him, imagine that, who in the hell would pay to take a picture with him? Newts an idiot and so is anyone who would pay Newt a dime.

    March 27, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. vonjo27

    Umm- didn't Dr. Paul walk away with 140+ delegates in Missouri? How about his campaign's claims of winning the majority of delegates in several states?? Don't be fooled by these baseless articles, sheeple- Ron Paul is in it for the long haul!! RP 2012!!

    March 27, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Dave

    Yes, and Santorum should quit too. Romney is the best candidate to beat Obama, hands down.

    March 27, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. jobdespair

    I just turned off my "breaking news" alerts. It's the 4th time in 2 days that a *poll* has been "breaking news." Get bent.

    March 27, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. i_know_everything

    keep wishing repubs, haha

    March 27, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Peter

    BREAKING NEWS The majority of everyone on Earth would like to see all the Republican candidates drop out.

    March 27, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Duke One

    No one should drop out unless they want to ! Nobama 2012 !!

    March 27, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Al

    CNN Poll: Majority in GOP do not want Romney to win.

    March 27, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Jonathan

    This just in: Majority of democrats think republicans should drop presidential bid.

    This must come from the this-is-obvious-but-we-need-a-story department

    March 27, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. JStevens

    When do the lies end, CNN? When do you finally stop sinking in the abyss, down to new levels I thought did not exist? So incredibly sad that you have tricked so many sheeple for so long.

    March 27, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. zephyr2

    I'd like to see all the GOP candidates drop their bids. Not one is worth my Republican vote.

    March 27, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. guest

    How can any woman be a republican?????

    March 27, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. Voice of Reason

    And in other news – a majority of Democrats say all four GOP contenders should drop their bids for the White House.

    I'm just sayin'.

    March 27, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. drumcode

    The GOP farce continues.

    March 27, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. Mike

    I think if both drop out it might reshape the race , might it might also be to late

    March 27, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. Pete

    Tough! You can't always get what you want...

    March 27, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. RandomRepublican

    Ron Paul 2012. If you expect Dr. Paul to give up or drop out, you don't know the man very well.

    March 27, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. $teve

    Breaking News: CNN poll says to stop breathing.

    Breaking News: Countless Zombie Americans dead due to lack of oxygen.

    March 27, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. guest

    Why would any woman vote for santorium???

    March 27, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. urownexperience

    Evangelicals! Attention! You are going to put a Mormon in the white house in place of a Baptist! Who's side are you on?

    March 27, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Dave

    Republicans have decided on their man. Hahahahah

    March 27, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. ProfS

    Ron Paul President 2012 !!!

    March 27, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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