Herman Cain Still on Top among Republicans for the GOP Primary Win but Newt Gingrich Surges

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – November 21, 2011 – The candidates may be spending Thanksgiving in Iowa or New Hampshire instead of at home this year as the primary calendar quickly comes to an end with just six weeks until the first votes are cast. As noted last month, each month the story line seems to take a new shift, and yet again this month we have another new story with the rise of Newt Gingrich.

    Among Republicans, one in five (19%) would vote for Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain in the GOP primary while 16% would vote for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and 15% would vote for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Other candidates are all under 10% including Rick Perry (9%), Ron Paul (5%), Michele Bachman (2%), Jon Huntsman (2%), Rick Santorum (1%) and Gary Johnson at less than 1%. Three in ten Republicans (30%), however, are still not at all sure who they would vote for in the Republican primary.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,499 adults surveyed online between November 7 and 14, 2011.

    Among Independents, 15% would vote for Mitt Romney, 13% for Herman Cain and 11% for Ron Paul with 7% voting for Newt Gingrich. Two in five Independents (40%) are not at all sure who they would vote for in the primary. Among Conservatives, one in five (19%) say they would vote for Herman Cain, 15% would vote for Newt Gingrich and 12% for Mitt Romney. Just under one-quarter of Tea Party supporters (23%) would vote for Herman Cain in the Republican primary, 14% would each vote for Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich while 27% are not at all sure.

    Showing there is some concern among party faithful about the candidates, when asked which candidate they would never vote for, each candidate has almost one in five Republicans and Conservatives saying they would never vote for them. Among the front-runners, one in five Republicans (19%) and one-quarter of Conservatives (24%) would never vote for Mitt Romney. One-quarter of both Republicans (25%) and Conservatives (26%) would never vote for Herman Cain while 23% of both Conservatives and Republicans would never vote for Newt Gingrich.

    Head to head match-ups

    Looking at some specific candidates versus President Obama, Mitt Romney is the closest competitor. If the presidential election were held today, 41% of Americans would vote for President Obama, 41% would vote for Mitt Romney and 18% are not at all sure. This is very close to last month when 41% said they would vote for the President and 40% would vote for Mitt Romney. Looking at the probable swing states for 2012, 44% of people from those states would vote for Mitt Romney and 39% would vote for President Obama while 17% are not at all sure.

    If Ron Paul is the eventual Republican nominee, 40% of Americans would vote for President Obama and 38% would vote for Ron Raul with one in five (21%) not at all sure. Last month, 41% said they would vote for the President and 36% for Ron Paul. Among the swing states for next year 44% would vote for Ron Paul and 36% would vote for President Obama, with 20% not at all sure.

    Between Rick Perry and President Obama, 44% of U.S. adults would vote for the President while 38% would vote for the Texas Governor and one in five Americans (19%) say they are not at all sure. In October, 45% said they would vote for President Obama and 36% for Rick Perry. In the 2012 swing states, more than two in five (43%) would vote for President Obama and 39% would vote for Rick Perry.

    Herman Cain may still be on top among the Republican nominees, but in a head to head match-up he is the farthest behind the President as 44% of Americans would vote for President Obama and 34% would vote for Herman Cain with 22% saying they are not at all sure. Among the 2012 swing states, 43% would vote for the President while 37% would vote for Herman Cain.

    So What?

    Ah, Thanksgiving; the time of year which traditionally brings families together around the table to celebrate and give thanks. But this year it also means the beginning of the final few weeks of campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire before the first votes are cast. As the candidates compete with holiday planning to get voters’ attention, one thing to stress is how they will do in a general election. Here Mitt Romney clearly has the best story, with Ron Paul a close second. While Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich may be doing well in the primary, the real question for Republicans is can they beat President Obama? Right now the answer appears to be no.

     

    TABLE 1

    REPUBLICAN PRIMARY ELECTION

    If you were voting in the Republican primary election and these were the candidates, who would you vote for?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total Nov

    2011

    Political Party

    Political Philosophy

    Tea Party Support

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Mitt Romney

    14

    16

    15

    15

    12

    16

    14

    14

    Herman Cain

    11

    19

    5

    13

    19

    9

    3

    23

    Ron Paul

    8

    5

    7

    11

    7

    8

    10

    8

    Newt Gingrich

    7

    15

    2

    7

    15

    5

    1

    14

    Jon Huntsman, Jr.

    6

    2

    10

    5

    2

    6

    12

    2

    Rick Perry

    4

    9

    2

    4

    7

    3

    3

    7

    Michele Bachmann

    2

    2

    2

    2

    2

    1

    5

    3

    Gary Johnson

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

     

    2

     

    Rick Santorum

     

    1

     

     

    1

     

     

     

    Not at all sure

    47

    30

    58

    40

    35

    53

    51

    27

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; indicates less than 0.5%

     

    TABLE 2

    REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES PEOPLE WOULD NEVER VOTE FOR

    Assuming these were candidates in the 2012 presidential election, who would you never vote for?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total Nov

    2011

    Political Party

    Political Philosophy

    Tea Party Support

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Michele Bachmann

    48

    32

    65

    49

    28

    53

    70

    29

    Herman Cain

    42

    25

    61

    39

    26

    43

    66

    22

    Newt Gingrich

    42

    23

    63

    39

    23

    44

    69

    22

    Rick Perry

    38

    18

    57

    36

    21

    39

    62

    19

    Ron Paul

    32

    27

    40

    31

    30

    29

    44

    26

    Rick Santorum

    30

    16

    43

    31

    19

    30

    50

    21

    Mitt Romney

    28

    19

    38

    26

    24

    27

    39

    22

    Gary Johnson

    27

    23

    34

    24

    23

    25

    37

    22

    Jon Huntsman, Jr.

    26

    23

    31

    23

    24

    24

    32

    22

    I would vote for all of these candidates

    18

    24

    8

    17

    24

    18

    10

    24

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 10047% due to rounding; indicates less than 0.5%

     

    TABLE 3A

    ROMNEY VS. OBAMA

    If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total Oct

    Total

    Nov

    Party ID

    Philosophy

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Mitt Romney

    40

    41

    82

    11

    45

    71

    34

    10

    Barack Obama

    41

    41

    6

    81

    33

    11

    45

    80

    Not at all sure

    18

    18

    13

    9

    22

    18

    22

    10

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

     

    TABLE 3B

    ROMNEY VS. OBAMA

    If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Partisan

    Swing States

    Mod./

    Ind.

    Cons./ Tea Party

    2012

    5% in 2008

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Mitt Romney

    41

    36

    92

    44

    43

    Barack Obama

    41

    37

    39

    41

    Not at all sure

    18

    27

    8

    17

    16

    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 no response

     

     

    TABLE 4A

    PERRY VS. OBAMA

    If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total Oct

    Total Nov

    Party ID

    Philosophy

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Barack Obama

    45

    44

    6

    83

    40

    11

    51

    80

    Rick Perry

    36

    38

    80

    7

    40

    70

    28

    8

    Not at all sure

    19

    19

    14

    10

    21

    18

    22

    12

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

     

    TABLE 4B

    PERRY VS. OBAMA

    If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Partisan

    Swing States

    Mod./

    Ind.

    Cons./ Tea Party

    2012

    5% in 2008

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Barack Obama

    44

    49

    43

    45

    Rick Perry

    38

    30

    93

    39

    38

    Not at all sure

    19

    22

    7

    18

    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; – indicates no response

     

    TABLE 5A

    PAUL VS. OBAMA

    If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total Oct

    Total Nov

    Party ID

    Philosophy

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Barack Obama

    41

    40

    6

    80

    34

    10

    45

    78

    Ron Paul

    36

    38

    73

    9

    44

    67

    31

    11

    Not at all sure

    23

    21

    21

    10

    22

    23

    25

    11

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

     

    TABLE 5B

    PAUL VS. OBAMA

    If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Partisan

    Swing States

    Mod./Ind.

    Cons./ Tea Party

    2012

    5% in 2008

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Barack Obama

    40

    40

    36

    38

    Ron Paul

    38

    37

    84

    44

    43

    Not at all sure

    21

    24

    16

    20

    19

    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 no response

     

    TABLE 6A

    CAIN VS. OBAMA

    If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total Oct

    Total Nov

    Party ID

    Philosophy

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Barack Obama

    43

    44

    7

    82

    40

    12

    49

    83

    Herman Cain

    35

    34

    71

    7

    37

    66

    26

    4

    Not at all sure

    22

    22

    22

    11

    23

    22

    25

    13

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

     

    TABLE 6B

    CAIN VS. OBAMA

    If the presidential election were held today and these were the two candidates, for whom would you most likely vote?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Partisan

    Swing States

    Mod./Ind.

    Cons./ Tea Party

    2012

    5% in 2008

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Barack Obama

    44

    47

    43

    45

    Herman Cain

    34

    30

    93

    37

    36

    Not at all sure

    22

    24

    7

    19

    20

    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 no response

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between November 7 and 14, 2011 among 2,499 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.

    J40806

    Q1230, 1235, 1240, 1245, 1246, 1247, 1248

    The Harris Poll® #122, November 21, 2011

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