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

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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. Steve Gastin

    43% say Obama shouldn't be running again. So?

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

    I can't believe that anyone would want any of these morons to be president. Don't they realize that we will end up back where we were in 2008 if a republican gets in office? The rich will get richer, Wall Street will go back to it's old ways, and the government will go back to relying on the joke of "trickle-down economics." The country will be screwed!

    March 27, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Let 'em keep going. The rhetoric is going to become interesting (and probably hyysterical).

    March 27, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. James

    Breaking news: Water is wet!!!

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

    you cant base something like this on 1,000 people. period.

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

    Too bad, too sad... I'd like to see Santorum and Romney stop lying to people also but I'd guess that won't happen either!!!

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

    Newt is too much of egomaniac to drop out of the race and Ron Paul thinks he has this secret destiny to win to stop the coming evil of the NWO.

    Both are insane and have supporters with an almost robotic quality.

    Make it easier for the President, please. Stay in.

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

    What is the GOP getting tired of being embarrassed by these two clowns?

    March 27, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. Kyle

    BREAKING NEWS: The majority of GOP voters are unthinking Neo-Con creatards. Ron Paul 2012.

    March 27, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. A

    Seriously, everyone..just drop out and let Obama win again. He is going to anyways. NOW, this is not a debate about his presidency or who he is.

    The GOP candidates are terrible, flat out. The good ones have already died out.

    March 27, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. Ron Pawl

    According to Freinds of mine who support Ron Paul
    He is actually winning but it is a conspriracy to keep that from the public

    March 27, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Dustin

    I'll be voting for Ron Paul regardless of him getting the GOP ticket. He has a much larger base than is let on by the media.

    March 27, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    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!!
    Last I saw he had 50 (FIFTY!) delegates. Time for Ron Paul and his supporters to get real.

    March 27, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. Bruce

    Well, I guess I'm no longer a Republican because I would LOVE to see this one decided at the convention. I am sick of conventions, both Demo and Repub, that are "coronations" of the richest person who endured the most primaries.

    There is no way in the world that Mitt, Newt, or Rick will get my vote. It will be Ron Paul, whether it's the Republican nomination, the "Americans Elect" ballot, or if I have to write his name in with crayon.

    This article proves to me that the party of Reagan, which got me into the Republican camp, no longer exists. I will not vote for a Republocrat from either side of the aisle - ever again.

    March 27, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Mark

    CNN no one cares about your insignificant polling. The majority of republicans have yet to get their chance at casting a vote for Ron Paul.

    March 27, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. HolyChrist

    The majority of Americans can't wait to vote for Obama.

    March 27, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. cajuncocoa

    Memo to Republicans from this Ron Paul supporter: we're not giving up...and I don't care if you like it. For me, it's Ron Paul or Nobody in November. RON PAUL 2012!! NO ONE BUT PAUL

    March 27, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Joe Six Pack

    I just took my own poll and the majority of Republicans are d-bags.

    March 27, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. James Hartley

    Ron Paul has more support than Santorum. This article is Absurd. Another example of how the Corporate Media Propaganda Machine operates. Look at each candidates CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS... It speaks volumes!! Ron Paul has more support from our Armed Forces than ALL OTHER candidates COMBINED!!

    *Ron Paul* President of the United States *2012*

    March 27, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. BLKMANinAmerica

    GUESS what repuks...............................neither will do now what? How many more reasons will repuks come-up with as to why they have no plan to help average America?

    March 27, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. EPAB

    I'd rather see Bachmann, Cain, And Perry get back in it. And Palin too! Perry/Bachmann 2012!! Love to see those two debate Obama/Biden. GO DEMS.

    March 27, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Geeko

    As Americans don't we believe in freedom of choice. Why does the system want to remove choice from the voters. If you like Paul/Gingrich then vote for them, if you do not like them the vote for someone else.

    March 27, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. DaTruth

    I would like to see all of the Republicans end their bids. They all talk nonsense! Ron Paul makes the most sense...and thats exactly why he is not getting elected.

    March 27, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. Skegeeace

    Drop out of the race? I'd like to see Gingrich drop off the EARTH.

    March 27, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. bubba

    HA! Ron Paul is the only candidate worthy of my vote.
    I'll write him in.

    March 27, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
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