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. Cirdecus

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

    YEAH RIGHT! As if Paul's supporters have anything in common with Romney lol. Have you not been watching the debates? Do they really have anything in common? Paul's supporters are libertarian's and Paul is basically a Libertarian running with the crowd of Republicans because he knows he has to play politics to get elected, but his supporters are no closer to backing Romney than they are Obama.

    March 27, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. honeybe

    Romney has been the chosen one from the very beginning, and has been pushed down our throats relentlessly. Paul has been ignored by the media so much I'm surprised he is even mentioned in this article. There's no reason why anyone should drop out at this point – let all the states hold their primaries and caucuses first, and let's see how the delegate count pans out.

    March 27, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    Ron Paul is a HUGE disappointment this year, and if he or Rand ends up anywhere near Rmoney in the next few month we'll know the fix is/was in. Paul wasted a perfect opportunity to align himself with America's over-whelming anti-war sentiments by constantly attacking the others over their insanely ill-considered warmongering in the Middle East. Instead, Paul dropped that line of attack like a hot potato and instead focused more on the platform non-GOBP cultists everywhere hate: the Ayn Rand mythology of "free markets" (that always morphs into horrible real-time economics when actually attempted). So instead of showing his support for a popular anti-war position, Paul did what every other lame GOBP candidate has done for the last 30 years: pay homage to a Land of Make Believe where tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs and more tax revenue. In other words, Paul, like all the rest, chose fairyland over reality. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

    March 27, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Just remember, folks, the Ron Paul campaign is the last holdout for the rightie conspiracy nuts. When I last heard an interview with a representative of the Paul Campaign, he alluded to the fact they were expecting fraud and that would be the only reason why Paul could not win.

    March 27, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. Abby

    Them media will to whatever it can to get the front runner out (Ron Paul)

    March 27, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Shazaam


    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 |

    HAHAHAH, oh Ron Paul supporters, you guys are so hilarious.

    March 27, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Guester

    Paul isn't going to stop. His campaign is more about fund raising than a true bid for president.

    March 27, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. ciabella

    Majority of the U.S. would like livable we see that happening anytime soon?

    March 27, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. innersixx

    People are saying Santorum is in a close second, even though he is 200+ delgates behiund. If that is close than the other two need to drop out because there is no chance of them winning.

    March 27, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Johnny

    Where was this poll? I've been browsing the CNN site all day?

    March 27, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. rufusclyde

    Breaking News: Majority of Democrats want Ron Paul to run as an Independent ;o)

    March 27, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Steve Sproles

    HEY! I'd like to see Gingrich,Romney, AND Santorum DROP their bid to become the nominee! But that aint gonna happen. The GALL of these pundits who want to make OUR decisions for us! Piers Morgan asking Ron Paul to do the "decent thing" and drop out! Ron Paul told him to do the "decent thing" and stop asking stupid questions! There IS no clear choice right now so I say let's go to Tampa and ask the PEOPLE who they want! Ron Paul will get us back on a sound financial footing. Ron Paul will end these STUPID, COSTLY wars. Ron Paul will get rid of TSA. Ron Paul will give us our FREEDOM back. If all you "Voters" want the same old same old then we are headed for the dustbin of history. Where did all the common sense Americans go? This guy is the most real, honest, smart man since President Kennedy and you're all too stupid to see it. Go ahead and give the circus away! I feel for ya.

    March 27, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. MauveMelon

    Majority of VOTERS say this is not over and no one needs to leave and that we really don't care what the majority of the GOP has to say

    March 27, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    I think Romney,Santorum, and Gingrich should drop out of the race. Ron Paul is the only one with the policies and ideas that would actually be good for the country. Romney has no spine, Santorum is a hothead and in no way a conservative, and Gingrich is dishonest and in favor of the New World Order. None of these guys are offering what this country needs. We need a balanced budget, sound money and an end of the federal reserve.

    March 27, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Brian

    I don't think many of Paul's voters will go for Romney. I think they'll stay home.

    All 500 of them, at this point.

    March 27, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Jason

    Dear CNN,

    BREAKING NEWS used to be about major events. I have seen three BREAKING NEWS alerts over the past two days which were poll results. Really? Every poll result is going to be BREAKING NEWS!?

    March 27, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Four and The Door

    It doesn't matter much. Mitt Romney will get the nomination and the distinct pleasure of defeating Obama in the General Election. The other candidates made some good points, brought out a variety of people to participate and generally added to the value of the nomination process.

    But now we are seeing Republicans and Independents rallying around Mitt Romney in a strong statement to Washington that the American Voter is in charge. Running our federal government is not a political game and we expect results, not excuses. It's time to actually manage the government and get our nation back on track. Romney 2012!

    March 27, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Emery

    It doesn't matter who wins the nomination, they WILL lose in November, regardless of how much support they have. None of these candidates have a plan, a brain, or a chance to win. Romney is focused on money, and Santorum is basically a Republican from the Civil War era.

    March 27, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. John

    Is this really considered "BREAKING NEWS" now for CNN?

    March 27, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. Steve

    Romney should dthe USl a favor and drop his bid for the WH. The current REpublicans selectionis dismal.

    I like Ron Paul but as President he would face worse opposition than Obama.. it would be a deadlocked 4 years.

    March 27, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Truth wrote on page 2:

    Last I saw he had 50 (FIFTY!) delegates. Time for Ron Paul and his supporters to get real.
    Know you know what you sound like to me.

    March 27, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  22. Brian

    I'll also point out that Gingrich dropping out of the race would only have slightly greater effect. I think Gingrich's supporters *would* go for Romney (because Gingrich would do the right thing and back him) but Gingrich has gotten so clobbered in the primaries that I don't think it would matter much.

    March 27, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. PTNY

    Gingrich is in it for the money...only the money and nothing but the money. I heard he charges 50.00 for a photo with him. He's begging for even 2.50 donations. It's shocking to see this crap is allowed. He will walk away with that money. He has no plans to contribute it to a campaign.

    March 27, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. Steve

    Romney should do the American People a favor and drop his bid for the WH. The current Republicans selection is dismal.

    I like Ron Paul but as President he would face worse opposition than Obama.. it would be a dead locked 4 years.

    March 27, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. WDinDallas

    A majority would just like to draw straws so we can get down to the real fun of obliterating Obama and the Democrats in the Senate.

    March 27, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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