Romney Versus Gingrich: A Comparison

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – December 21, 2011 – While The Harris Poll has looked in-depth at both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich , it is interesting to see how the two compare to each other, especially in the minds of Republicans, Conservatives and Tea Party supporters. Looking at whether people like their political opinions, Gingrich is ahead of Romney among Republicans (66% like vs. 57%), Conservatives (59% vs. 48%) and Tea Party supporters (70% vs. 56%). Looking at the two men on a more personal level the feelings are more similar as over half of Republicans like both Newt Gingrich (56%) and Mitt Romney (58%) as a person and half of Conservatives feel the same way about Gingrich (51%) and Romney (49%).

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,237 adults surveyed online between December 5 and 12, 2011 and The Harris Poll of 2,499 adults surveyed online between November 7 and 14, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

    In looking at intelligence, seven in ten Republicans think Mitt Romney (69%) and Newt Gingrich (70%) are very intelligent people. There is more of a divide among Conservatives as two-thirds (67%) believe Gingrich is a very intelligent person while only three in five (61%) say the same about Romney. Tea Party supporters also show a similar divide as 78% say Gingrich is very intelligent while 71% say Romney is.

    There is less of a difference between the two men as to whether they inspire confidence. Looking at Mitt Romney, 53% of Republicans, 46% of Conservatives and 53% of Tea Party supporters say he inspires confidence personally. When it comes to Newt Gingrich, 54% of Republicans, 48% of Conservatives and 58% of Tea Party supporters say he inspires confidence personally.

    Looking at political ideology, one in five Conservatives (19%) and Tea Party supporters (18%) believe Mitt Romney is too liberal. Half of Tea Party supporters (49%) and Republicans (48%) but 42% of Conservatives believe Romney is neither too liberal nor too conservative. Over half of Tea Party supporters (56%), Republicans (53%) and Conservatives (51%), however, all say Newt Gingrich is neither too liberal nor too conservative.

    Among all Americans, if Mitt Romney was the nominees, 33% would vote for him, 38% would not and 25% are not sure but if Newt Gingrich was the Republican nominee, 30% would vote for him, almost half (46%) would not and 21% are not sure. In a general election, Gingrich still has more support from Conservatives (62% would vote for him compared to 57% for Romney) and Tea Party supporters (70% versus 64% for Romney).

    So What?

    While Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are not the only two candidates vying for the Republican nomination, they are, at the moment, front runners. One clearly is given more support from Conservatives and Tea Party supporters, but when it comes to electability in November, doesn’t do as well. One reason may be Independents. Two in five Independents (40%) would vote for Mitt Romney while 34% would not, however, almost half of Independents (45%) would not vote for Newt Gingrich while 30% would.

     

    TABLE 1

    PERCEPTION OF MITT ROMNEY AND NEWT GINGRICH

    Thinking about presidential politics, looking at the list of attributes, please indicate how you feel about each.

    Base: All adults

     

    Total Like (NET)

    Strongly like

    Somewhat like

    Total
    , Dislike (NET)

    Somewhat dislike

    Strongly dislike

    Not sure

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Mitt Romney as a person

    40

    12

    28

    26

    14

    12

    34

    Mitt Romney’s track record as a governor

    36

    7

    29

    26

    16

    10

    38

    Mitt Romney’s political opinions

    33

    8

    26

    33

    16

    16

    34

    Newt Gingrich’s political opinions

    32

    11

    21

    43

    15

    28

    26

    Newt Gingrich’s track record as Speaker of the House

    30

    9

    21

    43

    15

    27

    27

    Newt Gingrich as a person

    28

    8

    20

    46

    19

    27

    26

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 1A

    PERCEPTION OF ROMNEY AND GINGRICH – SUMMARY OF LIKE

    Thinking about presidential politics, looking at the list of attributes, please indicate how you feel about each.

    Those saying Strongly/Somewhat like

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Tea

    Party

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    Support

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Mitt Romney as a person

    40

    58

    30

    44

    49

    37

    32

    57

    Mitt Romney’s track record as a governor

    36

    49

    29

    41

    39

    36

    31

    47

    Mitt Romney’s political opinions

    33

    57

    18

    39

    48

    31

    14

    56

    Newt Gingrich’s political opinions

    32

    66

    9

    31

    59

    26

    6

    70

    Newt Gingrich’s track record as Speaker of the House

    30

    62

    10

    27

    54

    24

    9

    64

    Newt Gingrich as a person

    28

    56

    9

    26

    51

    23

    7

    58

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia; 5% states in 2008 are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio

     

    TABLE 2

    ATTITUDES TOWARDS NEWT GINGRICH

    Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements about Newt Gingrich.

    Base: All adults

     

    Total Agree (NET)

    Strongly agree

    Somewhat agree

    Total Disagree (NET)

    Somewhat disagree

    Strongly disagree

    Not sure

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    He is a very intelligent person

    53

    21

    32

    20

    10

    10

    26

    He inspires confidence personally

    28

    8

    20

    44

    15

    29

    28

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

     

    TABLE 2A

    ATTITUDES TOWARDS MITT ROMNEY

    Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements about Mitt Romney.

    Base: All adults

     

    Total Agree (NET)

    Strongly agree

    Somewhat agree

    Total Disagree (NET)

    Somewhat disagree

    Strongly disagree

    Not sure

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    He is a very intelligent person

    54

    17

    37

    14

    8

    6

    32

    He inspires confidence personally

    35

    8

    28

    33

    18

    15

    32

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 3A

    ATTITUDES TOWARDS NEWT GINGRICH – SUMMARY OF AGREE

    Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements about Mitt Romney.

    Those saying Strongly/Somewhat agree

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Tea Party

    Rep.

    Dem

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    Support

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    He is a very intelligent person

    53

    70

    43

    56

    67

    51

    41

    78

    He inspires confidence personally

    28

    54

    13

    26

    48

    22

    15

    58

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding;


     

    TABLE 3B

    ATTITUDES TOWARDS MITT ROMNEY – SUMMARY OF AGREE

    Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements about Mitt Romney.

    Those saying Strongly/Somewhat agree

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Tea Party

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    Support

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    He is a very intelligent person

    54

    69

    47

    60

    61

    51

    50

    71

    He inspires confidence personally

    35

    53

    23

    40

    46

    32

    25

    53

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding;

     

    TABLE 4A

    NEWT GINGRICH’S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

    Do you think Newt Gingrich…?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Swing States

    Tea

    Party

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    2012

    2008

    Support

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Is too liberal

    4

    5

    4

    4

    8

    3

    2

    4

    4

    7

    Is neither too liberal nor too conservative

    28

    53

    11

    28

    51

    22

    10

    29

    28

    56

    Is too conservative

    27

    7

    47

    26

    3

    30

    55

    26

    26

    6

    Not sure

    41

    35

    39

    41

    37

    46

    34

    40

    41

    32

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia; 5% states in 2008 are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio; indicates less than 1%

     

     

    TABLE 4B

    MITT ROMNEY’S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

    Do you think Mitt Romney…?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Swing States

    Tea

    Party

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    2012

    2008

    Support

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Is too liberal

    8

    15

    3

    8

    19

    3

     

    8

    7

    18

    Is neither too liberal nor too conservative

    32

    48

    20

    37

    42

    30

    19

    30

    29

    49

    Is too conservative

    16

    3

    32

    12

    1

    14

    45

    18

    19

    3

    Not sure

    45

    34

    45

    43

    39

    53

    36

    44

    45

    30

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia; 5% states in 2008 are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio; indicates less than 1%

     

     

    TABLE 5A

    VOTING FOR NEWT GINGRICH

    If Newt Gingrich was the Republican nominee for President, which is closest to the way you think?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Swing States

    Tea

    Party

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons

    Mod.

    Lib.

    2012

    2008

    Support

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Would vote for him (NET)

    30

    67

    5

    30

    62

    23

    3

    34

    36

    70

    I definitely would vote for him

    14

    38

    2

    9

    38

    6

    2

    16

    19

    38

    I probably would vote for him

    16

    29

    3

    21

    24

    17

    1

    17

    17

    32

    Would not vote for him (NET)

    46

    14

    76

    45

    17

    51

    75

    43

    41

    15

    I probably would not vote for him

    10

    7

    11

    13

    7

    12

    12

    8

    9

    7

    I definitely would not vote for him

    35

    7

    65

    32

    10

    39

    63

    35

    32

    7

    I wouldn’t vote at all

    3

    1

    3

    3

    2

    3

    4

    3

    3

    2

    Not sure

    21

    18

    16

    22

    19

    23

    18

    20

    20

    13

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia; 5% states in 2008 are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio

     

     

    TABLE 5B

    VOTING FOR MITT ROMNEY

    If Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee for President, which is closest to the way you think?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Swing States

    Tea

    Party

    Rep

    Dem

    Ind

    Cons

    Mod

    Lib

    2012

    2008

    Support

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Would vote for him (NET)

    33

    65

    8

    40

    57

    27

    8

    36

    33

    64

    I definitely would vote for him

    16

    35

    2

    17

    33

    10

    2

    18

    18

    36

    I probably would vote for him

    17

    30

    6

    22

    24

    17

    6

    18

    15

    28

    Would not vote for him (NET)

    38

    12

    67

    34

    15

    39

    71

    36

    36

    15

    I probably would not vote for him

    13

    5

    18

    14

    7

    15

    17

    12

    11

    7

    I definitely would not vote for him

    25

    7

    49

    20

    8

    24

    55

    24

    26

    9

    I wouldn’t vote at all

    5

    1

    5

    4

    5

    5

    4

    5

    5

    3

    Not sure

    25

    22

    20

    22

    23

    29

    17

    24

    26

    18

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia; 5% states in 2008 are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio

     

    Methodology

    These Harris Polls were conducted online within the United States between November 7 and 14, 2011 among 2,499 adults (aged 18 and over) and December 5 and 12, 2011 among 2,237 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

     

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

    J40989 – Q905, 910, 915, 920

    J40990 – Q933, 934, 936, 937

     

     

    The Harris Poll ® #133, December 21, 2011

    By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive

    About Harris Interactive

    Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.