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. Kevin

    So the richest guy in the race cannot convincingly seal the deal probably cuz he is the closest thing to what all republicans hate(Obama) or this would have been over long ago. Santorum is only where he is now out of luck and hit the spring board at exactly the right time of the campaign yet he has less than half the delegates of the rich guy. Gingrich is an egomaniac who can't stop talking about himself and Paul is the cool but 'never gonna happen' guy that the young 'rebel' republican voters like because he speaks his mind... This entire group is a joke. And hey America,,, what ever happened to seperation of state and church.. This is the most religiously motivated campaign I have ever seen. I think they should all stay in to the bitter end and let the voters witness their true colors as they cut off each others heads. Obama should save a ton of money with his campaign and should be able to simply re-run the republicans own ads against them. Things are looking pretty good for democrats if this is the best the republicans can put forward. What a joke.

    March 27, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. a disgrace

    america needs to concentrate on putting a end to obama's failed presidency...

    March 27, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    ...Too bad, GOP. Maybe if you weren't comprised of a bunch of wimpy moderates like Romney, you'd have the support of REAL conservatives.
    Ron Paul made a great run. He has some excellent ideas that really bring home the folly that is the Obama Administration. But Ron Paul would not be able to do what is absolutely necessary in November...carry the independents. Of course I personally believe Mitt Romney is right now the right guy for the job, but I am glad the ideas Ron Paul brought got such a large audience. The country has gone astray with greedy politicians. We need someone in charge thinking instead about the future of the nation and the 350 million people outside of Washington DC. Romney 2012!

    March 27, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. AgrippaMT

    Most people are too young to remember another Republican who was a perennial Presidential candidate for years and a chronic looser. His name was Harold Stassen, former Governor of Minnesota (1939-1943). He suffered from delusions of grandeur just like Ron Paul and never held public office again. Paul is Stassen's modern day clone.

    March 27, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. whocares

    No way. The GOP is a three ring circus. They need all the clowns they can get.

    March 27, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. Lee

    I love how the "MSM" conducts polls which are specifically designed to gain "opinion" and present it as "news" – and of course, also how they draw their so-called "polls" from their collective asleep-at-the-wheel audience, which is clearly dwindling in size by the day. More and more people are seeing through the lies and distortions, and more and more people are tiring of our government's abject display of irresponsibility, arrogance, bullying at home and abroad, and more importantly at the selfish quest for power that pre-occupies the minds of the individuals whom we entrust, as equal beings, to make good and moral decisions..

    What's clear to me is that the powers that be fear the message of liberty and equality for all, which Ron Paul as a candidate represents. He cannot be dismantled in debates or in interviews (by the way, when was the last 15 minute Mitt Romney interview you have seen??), and this frustrates them to no end. Not because he's brilliant, but because he speaks to the very human experience and the importance of dignity, respect, compassion, equality, and liberty for one and for all. He pulls on their own consciences when he says "NO, sir, you may not treat other equal human beings as financial slaves just because you happen to have more money. NOT ON MY WATCH" They know he's right, and they know that eventually, the majority will figure that out. And they pray that day does not come. But what they can't admit is that it already has.

    March 27, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. IndependentMom

    A while ago there was another poll that showed that 44% of registered Republicans were not happy with any of the above!

    Seriously, the GOP's got nothing!

    Another Independent for Obama!

    March 27, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. Capt. Obvious

    Is CNN that afraid of Ron Paul that they're willing to broadcast baseless assertions like this? CNN certainly won't cover GOP election fraud in Maine, Washington, Nevada, or Missouri where even the police partook in the commission of the election tampering (now THAT you'd think would make headlines). Instead, CNN avoids the news and promotes an agenda. That's why nobody takes CNN seriously.

    March 27, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Thomas

    Sad state of affairs when old politicians don't no there time is up !

    March 27, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Dante666

    OMG YES – LETS GET DOWN TO THE MOST LIKELY CANDIDATE TO LOSE. The republican party candidates (Rick and Mitt)open their mouth and Obama wins another 100,000 votes. Never ever has a group of conservative candidates irritated more people. I am beginning to think it is their game plan. Let Obama go four more and bankrupt the country so the rich can buy it up for ten cents on the dollar. Hang on all you Liberals – you are a short walk from bankruptcy and having to take an outsource job in a third world. The rich are loving it because they are amassing money for the ultimate buy out of America. Then they can pick who works for them and how much they are willing to pay – just a matter of time before you will be moving off shore for work – the master plan is to have a high income, low wage country. For everyone of you that leave we have an illegal willing to do your job for half price. Great plan for conservative thinkers

    March 27, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. Ron Pawl

    Only three kinds support Ron Paul
    -Anti Goverment conspiracy freaks

    March 27, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. BestSeason

    I really hope they all of them stay till the bitter end. And everyone knows that the comedy/late night shows are at their best during the general elections time, love it!

    March 27, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. Dante666

    Moderation – please just print it – the truth is the really rich dont give a squat about anyone but themselves.

    March 27, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. Mike

    No way keep this party alive.

    March 27, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. JimT

    Stay in. I would. You get to control the platform with your delegates. Doesn't everyone know how this works? Newt / Ron can drop out and give his delegates to whoever is left but just like you pay political allies back with kick backs you get the delegates with a price. So if Romney can't win the magical number you have power with y

    March 27, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. ZT

    @RegisteredRepub: Thank you for showing us how truly stupid Ron Paul diehard are. Clearly you don't understand how polls work. They don't ask everyone in the country (including you), and they have NOTHING to do with how many delegates have been counted.

    Like many in your movement, you are mindlessly repeating standard Ron Paul talking points– that your candidate has more delegates and support than he really has, and that any facts that dispel your political la-la land are made up by the biased media. The rest of us are laughing at you.

    How's the tin foil hat fit?

    March 27, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. also

    Not only they stay but also I want Crazy Bachman, Hcan, Pawlenty, Palin, Perry come back into vying! What a dream of comedy!!!

    March 27, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. DoubeW

    Maybe REPUBLICANS want these two to drop out... but everyone else wants them to STAY THE COURSE! Hang in there, boys! Keep the clown parade going! Keep up the backstabbing, the wild accusations, the hysterical promises, the sheer wild-eyed, looney-tume debacle! We're lovin' it!

    March 27, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. Thomas

    Gingrich and Paul should end bids. As a politician they should have known better, if they can't win they have to join Mitt or just step aside. Why keep fighting a battle with 0% chance to win?????

    March 27, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. Kathy

    Love all the Ron Paul followers who still think he actually has a chance. That's okay. Keep sending him your money. It'll mean less for the actual candidate.

    March 27, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. ja

    the asteriods must crash cause damage

    March 27, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. Fred54

    Well the GOP has been caught red handed stealing Ron Paul votes in at least half the Caucuses and are on tape
    admitting to sandbagging his potential delegates so why should this surprise us. But here is the kicker. Ron Paul
    votes are not for sale, we will vote for him whether he is the nominee or not..We will right him in no matter what.

    March 27, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. NJW

    Great part about Mitt- Failed health care law. On top of that you get the awesome idea of starting a war every year plus an eventual draft. Both of these policies will lead to more debt.

    Ron Paul or I'm going to vote for Obama. Better a Democrat for 4 more years than a Democrat for 8 in Mitt.

    March 27, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. Dave

    I think the guy above is right, Ron Paul should drop out and run as an independent. Maybe with Garry Johnson on the libertarian party. Take a pulse of the nation on abortion and make Johnson president nominee if the country is leaning pro-choice and Paul if leaning pro-life. I think in a 3 man race between Paul / Obama and Santorum, Paul could win. There can not be a rational person in the world that would consider voting for Santorum. The guy is a complete lunatic.

    March 27, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. Tony

    Hey CNN – why don't you show the world the details of your report? How many participated in the poll? Oh, you don't want to do that? It would show skewed reporting, propaganda & deception? Until lobbyists, donations/payoffs & unethical election processes are removed forever & the United States Citizens are given the SOLE power of the vote then things will never change – if you want Ron Paul out then they all need to go.

    March 27, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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