1/6: Romney Holds Wide Lead in New Hampshire

January 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Election 2012, Featured, NBC News/Marist Poll

With all eyes on New Hampshire, Mitt Romney outpaces his closest competitor, Ron Paul, by 20 percentage points among likely Republican primary voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate.  Rick Santorum, whose support was in single digits in NBC News/Marist’s early December survey, is now in third place with 13%.  But, for Newt Gingrich, there’s bad news.  Gingrich, who was in second place last month, now sees his support cut to 9%.

pin in new hampshire map

©istockphoto.com/Fotografiabasica

Click Here for Complete January 6, 2012 New Hampshire NBC News/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete January 6, 2012 New Hampshire NBC News/Marist Poll Tables

Here is how the contest stands among likely Republican primary voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate in New Hampshire:

  • 42% for Mitt Romney (+3)
  • 22% for Ron Paul (+6)
  • 13% for Rick Santorum (+11)
  • 9% for Newt Gingrich (-15)
  • 9% for Jon Huntsman (no change)
  • 1% for Rick Perry (-2)
  • 5% are undecided (+1)

“Expectations are sky-high for a big Romney victory,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “These numbers are a table setter for this weekend’s debates, the last best chance for a major turnaround that would deprive Romney of a decisive win.”

When NBC News/Marist last reported this question in early December, 39% of likely Republican primary voters including leaners backed Romney.  24% supported Gingrich while 16% were behind Paul.  Nine percent were for Huntsman while Michele Bachmann, who has since suspended her campaign, received 3%.  Three percent also favored Perry, and 2% were for Santorum.  Four percent, at that time, were undecided.

Among the potential Republican electorate in New Hampshire, that is, all Republicans and those independents who plan to vote in the primary, including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Romney leads with 41%.  Paul is a distant second with 22% followed by Santorum with 13%.  Nine percent of these voters are behind Huntsman, and the same proportion — 9% — rallies for Gingrich.  Just one percent is for Perry, and 5% are undecided.

Key points:

  • A notable proportion of likely primary voters in New Hampshire will be independents — 38%.  Likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire also include 40% who support the Tea Party, 22% who are Evangelical Christians, and 15% who identify themselves as very conservative.  This is in sharp contrast with the Iowa Republican caucus as detailed in the entrance poll of caucus attendees by Edison Research of Somerville, New Jersey.  23% of GOP caucus participants were independents, 64% were Tea Party supporters, 57% of caucus-goers were Evangelical Christians, and 47% said they were very conservative.
  • When looking at just Republicans who are likely to vote in the GOP primary, Romney is ahead by 28 percentage points.  Romney has 46% followed by Paul with 18% and Santorum with 14%.  Romney’s lead, however, narrows among independents.  Here, 35% are for Romney while 28% support Paul.  Huntsman receives 13% of the independent vote while Santorum takes 12%.
  • Among likely Republican primary voters who support the Tea Party, the race tightens.  35% back Romney compared with 25% for Paul.  20% of these voters rally for Santorum, and 12%  back Gingrich.  However, among those who strongly back the Tea Party, Romney falls to third place.  Santorum leads with 31% of this voting group.  Paul garners 26% while Romney has the backing of 22%.  The difference in New Hampshire is this group makes up only 12% of likely Republican primary voters compared with 34% of Iowa caucus-goers.
  • Romney has plurality support among likely Republican primary voters who identify as liberal or moderate – 46% — and among those who describe themselves as conservative – 41%.  He is neck and neck with Santorum, 30% to 27%, among  those who say they are very conservative.  Paul receives 22% among these voters.
  • Looking at age, Romney leads among those 30 and older.  43% of likely Republican primary voters 30 to 44 years of age, 40% of those 45 to 59 years old, and 44% of those 60 and older support Romney.  However, Paul has the edge among those younger than 30.  Here, 47% back Paul compared with 40% for Romney.
  • 31% of Evangelical Christians are behind Romney while 30% are for Santorum.

Table: 2012 New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary (NH Likely Voters with Leaners and Absentees)

Table: 2012 New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary (NH Potential Republican Electorate Including Those who Are Undecided Yet Leaning Toward a Candidate and Absentees)

Six in Ten Strongly Support Choice of Candidate

60% of likely Republican primary voters say they strongly support their choice of candidate while 29% report they are somewhat committed to their pick.  11% think they might change their mind before Tuesday, and only 1% is unsure.

There has been an increase in the proportion of voters who are firmly committed to their choice of candidate.  In NBC News/Marist’s early December survey, only about half of likely Republican primary voters — 49% — said they would not waver in their support.  31% reported they were somewhat behind their pick while 18% believed they might vote differently.  Only 2%, at that time, were unsure.

Key points:

  • About two-thirds of likely Republican primary voters who back Paul – 67% — say they strongly support their candidate while 60% of Romney’s supporters are firmly committed to him.  This compares with nearly six in ten — 57% — of Gingrich’s backers.  The same proportion — 57% — of Huntsman’s backers and a majority of Santorum’s supporters — 52% — say the same.

Table: Intensity of Support (NH Likely Voters)

Little Consensus about Second Choice…Gingrich, Paul Least Liked

When it comes to their second choice, 19% of likely Republican primary voters select Romney, 18% choose Santorum followed by 16% for Gingrich.  Huntsman is the second pick of 13% compared with 11% for Paul.  Perry is the second best candidate for 6%, and 16% are undecided.

Which candidate is the least liked?  More than one in four likely Republican primary voters — 27% — say they like Gingrich least.  23% have a similar view of Paul, and 17% say the same about Perry.  13% of voters believe Romney is the least desirable candidate followed by 7% who have a similar opinion of Huntsman.  Six percent have this attitude toward Santorum, and 6% are undecided.

Table: Second Choice for the Republican Presidential Primary (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Least Liked Candidate for the Republican Presidential Primary (NH Likely Voters)

60% View Romney as Acceptable Candidate…Gingrich’s Acceptability Plummets

Six in ten likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire — 60% — think Romney is an acceptable candidate for the GOP nomination.  23% agree but have reservations while only 16% don’t think he is a good fit for the role.  Just 1% is unsure.  In NBC News/Marist’s previous survey, 63% said Romney was an acceptable choice as the Republican nominee.

Looking at Santorum, 42% say he is an acceptable choice for the top of the GOP ticket while 30% find him to be acceptable but have concerns.  However, one in four — 25% — thinks Santorum is an unacceptable pick, and 3% are unsure.

While 35% believe Paul is a good fit for the Republican nomination, and 21% think he fits the bill but with reservations, there has been an increase in the proportion of voters who believe Paul is an unacceptable candidate for the top of the ticket.  43% currently have this view, and 1% is unsure.  In early December, 38% said Paul was an acceptable choice for the GOP nomination while 31% reported he was an unacceptable selection.

31% think Huntsman is an acceptable choice for the Republican nomination.  30% agree but with reservations, and 33% report he is an unacceptable candidate.  Six percent are unsure.

Fewer likely Republican voters perceive Gingrich to be a proper fit for the top of the ticket.  Only 29% think he is an acceptable choice.  27% approve of him as the candidate but have concerns, and 44% think Gingrich is an unacceptable candidate for the role.  Less than one percent is unsure.  In December, a majority — 54% — reported Gingrich to be an acceptable candidate.  At that time, only 19% thought Gingrich was an unacceptable candidate for the nomination.

Looking at Perry’s acceptability, just 17% say he is an appropriate choice.  26% report he is acceptable but with reservations while a majority — 54% — believes he is not a good fit.  Three percent are unsure.  In NBC News/Marist’s previous survey, 24% thought Perry to be a good choice for the nomination.

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Romney (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Santorum (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Paul (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Huntsman (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Gingrich (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Perry (NH Likely Voters)

Issues, Electability Top List of Most Important Candidate Qualities

Three in ten likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire — 30% — are looking for a candidate who is closest to them on the issues while 29% want someone who can defeat President Barack Obama in the general election.  However, 19% think someone who has the experience to govern is the most important quality to consider when selecting a candidate.  The same proportion — 19% — wants a candidate who shares their values.  Two percent are unsure.

In NBC News/Marist’s early December survey, 30% wanted a candidate who was close to them on the issues while 23% preferred a candidate who shared their values.  The same proportion — 23% — thought a candidate who could defeat the president was the key while 22% said experience was the most important quality for a candidate to possess.  Two percent were unsure.

Key points:

  • Among likely Republican primary voters who want a candidate who is closest to them on the issues, 36% are for Paul compared with 32% for Romney.
  • Romney — 59% — does best among likely Republican primary voters who cite electability as the most important factor when choosing a candidate.  Santorum receives 13% of these voters to 12% for Gingrich.
  • Romney — 46% — also has an advantage among those who want a candidate who has the experience to govern.  19% of these voters support Paul, 12% back Huntsman, and 11% are behind Gingrich.
  • Among those who prefer a candidate who shares their values, 28% are for Romney while the same proportion — 28% — backs Santorum.  Paul follows closely behind with 25%.

Table: Most Important Quality in a Republican Presidential Candidate (NH Likely Voters)

Paul, Santorum True Conservatives…Romney Best Match against Obama

Which is more important to likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire?  61% say their priority is a candidate who has the best chance to win the White House while 33% want a candidate who is a true conservative.  Only 6% are unsure.

Romney is the candidate who 65% of likely Republican primary voters think has the best chance to beat Obama come November.  With the exception of Paul who receives 10%, the rest of the GOP field is in single digits.

Nearly three in ten likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire — 28% — believe Paul is the true conservative in the race while 26% have this view of Santorum.  12% think Romney is the real conservative while the same proportion — 12% — has this opinion about Gingrich.  Only 5% describe Huntsman in this manner while the same proportion — 5% — believes Perry deserves this title.  Three percent say none of the candidates are true conservatives, and 7% are undecided.

Table: Which is More Important, a Candidate Who is a True Conservative or One Who Can Beat President Obama? (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Can Beat President Barack Obama (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Candidate Considered True Conservative (NH Likely Voters)

Romney Best Understands Voters’ Problems…Will Improve Washington for the Better

30% of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire think Romney is the candidate who best understands the problems of people like themselves while 25% say Paul best identifies with voters’ concerns.  15% report Santorum has a grasp of these problems while 10% think Huntsman deserves this description.  Seven percent believe Gingrich best understands the concerns of voters while 1% has the same view of Perry.  Six percent think none of the candidates comprehend the problems people face, and 6% are undecided.

Romney is also perceived by 35% of likely Republican primary voters to be the candidate who will improve Washington for the better while 24% think Paul is the best candidate for this job.  12% believe Santorum will have a positive impact on Washington while 10% say the same about Gingrich.  Huntsman receives 8% to just 1% for Perry.  Five percent say none of the candidates will change Washington for the better, and 5% are undecided.

Table: Candidate Who Best Understands Voters’ Problems (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Candidate Who Will Change Washington for the Better (NH Likely Voters)

Influencing Factors: Debates Impact Voters’ Decisions

What additional factors matter to likely Republican primary voters in deciding their vote?

  • 75% of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire say the debates at least somewhat helped them decide which candidate to support.
  • More than one-third — 35% — think seeing the candidate in person helped them in making their decision.
  • 30% of likely Republican primary voters report campaign ads have influenced their candidate selection.
  • John McCain recently endorsed Mitt Romney, what impact did McCain’s endorsement have on voters?  28% report his endorsement, at least somewhat, informed their decision.
  • 27% of likely Republican primary voters say the results of the Iowa caucus have helped decide their vote, including 51% of Santorum voters.
  • Only 19% of voters say contact with a candidate’s campaign has helped them choose a candidate.
  • When it comes to the Manchester Union Leader’s endorsement of Newt Gingrich, just 12% say such an act helped them, at least somewhat, decide their vote.

Table: To What Extent Have the Debates Helped in Deciding Your Vote? (NH Likely Voters)

Table: To What Extent Has Seeing the Candidate in Person Helped in Deciding Your Vote? (NH Likely Voters)

Table: To What Extent Have the Campaign Ads Helped in Deciding Your Vote? (NH Likely Voters)

Table: To What Extent Has John McCain’s Endorsement Had in Deciding Your Vote? (NH Likely Voters)

Table: To What Extent Have the Results of the Iowa Caucus Helped in Deciding Your Vote? (NH Likely Voters)

Table: To What Extent Has Contact from a Candidate’s Campaign Helped in Deciding Your Vote? (NH Likely Voters)

Table: To What Extent Has the Manchester Union Leader’s Endorsement of Newt Gingrich Helped in Deciding Your Vote? (NH Likely Voters)

More than Six in Ten Think Mormons are Christians

62% of likely Republican primary voters believe a Mormon is a Christian.  However, 38% think they are not or are unsure.

Key points:

Table: Are Mormons Christians? (NH Likely Voters)

49% Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance

40% of registered voters in New Hampshire approve of the job President Obama is doing in office while almost half — 49% — disapproves, and 10% are unsure.

Little has changed on this question since last month.  40%, at that time, approved of the president’s job performance while 52% disapproved.  Eight percent, then, were unsure.

Table: President Obama Approval Rating in New Hampshire (NH Registered Voters)

NBC News/Marist Poll Methodology

12/30: Romney, Paul Battle for Lead in Iowa…Santorum Surges, Perry in Mix, Gingrich Stumbles

December 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Election 2012, Featured, NBC News/Marist Poll

With just days until the Iowa caucus, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are in a virtual dead heat.  Romney receives the support of 23% to Paul’s 21%, well within this NBC News/Marist Poll’s margin of error, among likely Republican caucus-goers including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate.  Rick Santorum who was in single digits earlier this month has bounced into the pack along with Rick Perry.  Newt Gingrich, ahead in NBC News/Marist’s early December survey, has seen his support cut by just more than half.

Iowa flag

©istockphoto.com/FreeTransform

Click Here for Complete December 30, 2011 Iowa NBC News/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete December 30, 2011 Iowa NBC News/Marist Poll Tables

Here is how the contest stands among likely Republican caucus-goers including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and the difference from earlier this month:

  • 23% for Mitt Romney (+4)
  • 21% for Ron Paul (+2)
  • 15% for Rick Santorum (+9)
  • 14% for Rick Perry (+4)
  • 13% for Newt Gingrich (-15)
  • 6% for Michele Bachmann (-1)
  • 2% for Jon Huntsman (No change)
  • 7% are undecided (-2)

“There has been a lot of movement in the past month,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “This is a contest that is very unsettled.”

In NBC News/Marist’s survey in early December, 28% of likely Republican caucus-goers including leaners supported Gingrich followed by Paul and Romney who each received 19%.  Perry garnered 10% of participants’ support while 7% favored Bachmann.  Santorum received 6%, and 2% were for Huntsman.  Nine percent, at the time, were undecided.

Among the larger pool of potential Republican caucus-goers including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 23% back Romney compared with 20% for Paul.  Perry receives the support of 14% as does Gingrich.  12% are behind Santorum while 5% rally for Bachmann and 2% support Huntsman.  10% are undecided.

Key points:

  • Among likely Republican caucus-goers who are conservative or very conservative including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 21% are for Romney  compared with 18% for Santorum and the same proportion — 18% — for Paul.
  • Paul — 28% — and Romney — 27% — vie for the lead among those who are liberal or moderate.
  • Looking at Tea Party supporters overall, Santorum receives 20% compared with 17% for Romney and the same proportion — 17% — for Paul.  Gingrich garners 16% of these participants.  However, among those who are strong supporters of the Tea Party, Gingrich and Santorum each receive 22%.
  • Among likely Republican caucus-goers who do not support the Tea Party, Romney — 27% — edges Paul — 24%.
  • Nearly one in four likely Republican caucus-goers who are Evangelical Christians – 24% – back Santorum.  This compares with 21% for Perry.
  • Looking at age, 38% of likely Republican caucus-goers under 30 years old and 22% of those 30 to 44 years old back Paul.  Among those 45 to 59 years old, it’s Romney with 23% and Santorum and Paul who each receive 19%.  Romney — 29% — does the best among those who are 60 and older.

Table: 2012 Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus (IA Likely Caucus-Goers Including Leaners)

Table: 2012 Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus (IA Potential Republican Electorate Including Leaners)

Majority Firmly Committed to Candidate, but Many Remain Uncertain

With the clock ticking down to the caucus, only 53% of likely Republican caucus-goers report they strongly support their choice of candidate.  33% say they are somewhat committed to their pick, and 13% think they might vote differently on Tuesday.  Only 2% are unsure.

There has been an increase in the proportion of voters who say they will not waver in their support.  When NBC News/Marist last reported this question in early December, 40% said they were firmly behind their choice.  The same proportion — 40% — was somewhat committed to their candidate while 19% said they could change their mind.  Only 1%, at that time, was unsure.

Key points:

  • Nearly six in ten likely Republican caucus-goers who support Santorum – 59% — are firmly committed to him.  This compares with 54% of Paul’s backers, 52% of those who rally for Perry, and 51% of those who are behind Romney.  46% of Gingrich’s supporters express a similar level of support.

Table: Intensity of Support (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Romney, Perry Top List as Second Choice

When it comes to the second choice of likely Republican caucus-goers who have a candidate preference, 21% pick Romney while Perry is the second selection of 20%.  Santorum receives 15% followed by Gingrich with 13%.  Bachmann is next with 11% followed closely by Paul with 9%.  Huntsman is the second pick of 3%, and 8% are undecided.

Key points:

  • Romney is the second choice of 38% of Gingrich’s backers, 34% of Paul’s supporters, and 25% of those behind Perry.
  • Perry — 35% — is the second choice of those who support Santorum.
  • Among those who back Romney, there is little consensus.  20% pick Gingrich as their second choice, 19% select Santorum, and 18% choose Perry.

Table: Second Choice for the Republican Presidential Caucus (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Santorum, Paul Considered to be True Conservatives, but Gingrich Perceived to Be Best Debate Match for Obama

When it comes to the candidate who is the true conservative in the race, 23% of likely Republican caucus-goers believe Santorum deserves that title followed closely by Paul with 21%.  16% say Bachmann is the true conservative while 11% have this view of Perry.  Seven percent believe Romney is the real conservative, and 6% say the same about Gingrich.  Only 2% categorize Huntsman in this way.  Four percent say none of the candidates deserve this title, and 9% are undecided.

However, when it comes to the best debater against President Barack Obama, 37% believe Gingrich is the best opponent.  Here, Romney follows with 26%.  13% think Paul can best debate the president compared with 7% for Perry.  Four percent think Bachmann is the best debate match against the president compared with 3% who have this view of Santorum.  Just 1% gives Huntsman top debate honors while 2% believe none of the candidates can adequately take on the president in a debate.  Seven percent are undecided.

Which is more important to likely Republican caucus-goers?  A majority — 54% — want a Republican nominee who is a true conservative while 39% prefer one who can best battle it out with Obama in the debates.  Seven percent are unsure.

Table: Candidate Considered True Conservative (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Candidate who Can Best Debate President Barack Obama (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Which is More Important, a Candidate who is a True Conservative or One Who Can Best Debate President Obama? (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Romney, Santorum Considered Acceptable Candidates…Loss of Confidence in Gingrich

Half of likely Republican caucus-goers — 50% — think Romney is an acceptable candidate for the GOP nomination.  27% share this view but have reservations while 21% say he is an unacceptable choice.  Three percent are unsure.  In NBC News/Marist’s previous survey in Iowa, fewer than half — 46% — thought Romney fit the bill.

When looking at Santorum’s acceptability, 49% believe he is a good fit for the role while 22% report he will do, but they have some concerns.  The same proportion — 22% — says Santorum is an unacceptable pick, and 7% are unsure.

When it comes to Perry, there has been a slight increase in the proportion of likely Republican caucus-goers who believe he is an acceptable choice for the nomination.  44% have this view while 29% say the same but with concerns.  24% think Perry is not a good match for the role, and 4% are unsure.  Perry was perceived to be an acceptable choice by 38% in NBC News/Marist’s previous survey in Iowa.

Likely Republican caucus-goers are more uncertain about Bachmann’s acceptability.  Here, 37% say Bachmann is a good fit for the nomination while 25% agree but have hesitations.  34%, however, think Bachmann is an unacceptable choice, and 3% are unsure.

Looking at Paul, 35% believe he is a good fit for the role while 21% agree but with reservations.  41% say he is an unacceptable pick, and 3% are unsure.  Earlier this month, 38% of likely Republican caucus-goers thought Paul was a good match for the GOP nomination.

Gingrich has slipped from grace in the eyes of likely Republican caucus-goers.  35% think Gingrich is a good fit for the nomination.  28% report he is acceptable for the role, but they have some reservations.  35%, however, say he is an unacceptable choice, and 3% are unsure.  Earlier this month, Gingrich was the only candidate in the GOP field perceived by a majority of likely Republican caucus-goers — 54% — to be a good fit for the nomination with only 16% describing him as not acceptable.

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Romney (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Santorum (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Perry (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Bachmann (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Paul (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Gingrich (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Shared Values Tops List of Participants’ Priorities

What matters most to likely Republican caucus-goers?  Three in ten — 30% — want a candidate who shares their values while 28% think electability is the most important factor.  23% prefer a candidate who is closest to them on the issues while 15% want someone with the experience to govern.  Four percent are unsure.

There has been a change on this question.  In NBC News/Marist’s early December survey, more than three in ten likely Republican caucus-goers — 31% — wanted a candidate who was closest to them on the issues while 29% desired someone who shared their values.  Electability was key for 21% of likely Republican caucus-goers, and 16% preferred a candidate with experience.  Two percent, at that time, were unsure.

Key points:

  • Santorum — 25% — has surged among those who want a candidate who shares their values.  Paul receives 21% from this group of participants.
  • Romney — 34% — has the advantage among those who value electability in a candidate.  Gingrich trails behind with 18% of these likely Republican caucus-goers followed by Perry with 16%.
  • Romney also does well among those who want a candidate who has the experience to govern.  Here, 29% back Romney compared with 22% for Paul and 19% for Gingrich.
  • Among those who prefer a candidate who is closest to them on the issues, Paul leads with 34% to 23% for Romney.

Table: Most Important Quality in a Republican Presidential Candidate (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Getting to Know the Candidates

The candidates are making their final pitch to caucus-goers in Iowa.  In the last month, 86% of likely Republican caucus-goers report being contacted by at least one of the campaigns.

The proportions of likely Republican caucus-goers who have been contacted by each of the following:

  • 72% Paul campaign
  • 69% Perry campaign
  • 68% Romney campaign
  • 68% Gingrich campaign
  • 62% Bachmann campaign
  • 44% Santorum campaign

Table: Contacted by a Campaign during the Last Month (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Contacted by Paul Campaign during the Last Month (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Contacted by Perry Campaign during the Last Month (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Contacted by Romney Campaign during the Last Month (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Contacted by Gingrich Campaign during the Last Month (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Contacted by Bachmann Campaign during the Last Month (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Contacted by Santorum Campaign during the Last Month (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Most in Iowa Do Not Want Palin or Bush to Run

Sarah Palin recently said there is still time for a Republican candidate to enter the race for the GOP nomination.  Do likely Republican caucus-goers want Palin to jump in?  81% do not while 14% do.  Six percent are unsure.

A run by Jeb Bush is only slightly more acceptable.  70% do not want Bush to enter the contest while 17% do.  13% are unsure.

Table: Sarah Palin 2012 Presidential Run (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Jeb Bush 2012 Presidential Run (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Majority Believes Mormons are Christians

55% of likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa believe a Mormon is a Christian while 45% think a Mormon is not a Christian, or they are unsure.

Earlier this month, the same proportions shared these views.  A majority of likely Republican caucus-goers — 55% — reported a Mormon was a Christian while 45% thought the opposite or were unsure.

Key points:

  • While Romney — 30% — is ahead among those who think a Mormon is a Christian, Paul — 20% — edges Santorum — 18% — and Perry — 16% — among those who believe a Mormon is not a Christian or are unsure.  Gingrich receives 14% of these participants compared with 13% for Romney.

Table: Are Mormons Christians? (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Obama’s Job Approval Rating at 45%

Voters divide about President Obama’s job approval rating.  45% of registered voters in Iowa approve of the job the president is doing in office while 43% disapprove, and 12% are unsure.

Views of the president’s performance in office have flipped.  In NBC News/Marist’s previous survey in Iowa, 43% approved while 46% disapproved.  12%, at the time, were unsure.

Table: President Obama Approval Rating in Iowa (IA Registered Voters)

NBC News/Marist Poll Methodology

12/11: Gingrich Outpaces Romney by 19 Percentage Points in South Carolina

December 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Election 2012, Featured, NBC News/Marist Poll

Newt Gingrich has skyrocketed to the top of the Republican field among likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina.  He currently leads his closest competitor, Mitt Romney, by 19 percentage points.  Romney, who vied for the lead with, then candidate, Herman Cain in October, has lost support.

Click Here for Complete December 11, 2011 South Carolina NBC News/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete December 11, 2011 South Carolina NBC News/Marist Poll Tables

South Carolina state sealHere is how the contest stands among likely Republican primary voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate in South Carolina:

  • 42% for Newt Gingrich
  • 23% for Mitt Romney
  • 9% for Ron Paul
  • 7% for Michele Bachmann
  • 7% for Rick Perry
  • 3% for Jon Huntsman
  • 2% for Rick Santorum
  • 8% are undecided

“The road to Florida goes through South Carolina,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “On the heels of Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina will likely again be critical for the next GOP nominee.”

What a difference two months make!  In NBC News/Marist’s October survey in South Carolina, Herman Cain, who has since suspended his campaign, was neck and neck with Mitt Romney.  At that time, 31% of likely Republican primary voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate in South Carolina backed Cain while 28% were for Romney.  One in ten — 10% — supported Perry, 7% rallied for Gingrich, and Paul and Bachmann each received 5%.  Two percent favored Santorum while only 1% backed Huntsman.  10%, in October, were undecided.

Among the current potential Republican electorate including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, four in ten — 40% — now support Gingrich while 23% back Romney.  Paul garners 9% compared with 7% for Bachmann and the same proportion — 7% — for Perry.  Huntsman has the support of 3% while 2% favor Santorum.  Nine percent are undecided.

Key points:

  • When looking at likely primary voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Gingrich leads Romney by 22 percentage points among Republicans and by 14 percentage points among independents.  Paul receives 6% among Republicans but 15% among independents.
  • Gingrich has majority support — 54% — and leads Romney — 15% — among likely Republican primary voters who are very conservative. Gingrich also has the backing of a majority — 51% — of those who support the Tea Party.  Among this group, Romney receives 20%.
  • Among those who are Evangelical Christians, 46% are for Gingrich while one in five — 20% — favors Romney.
  • There are gender and age differences.  Although Gingrich has the lead among both men and women, nearly half of likely Republican primary voters who are men — 46% — support Gingrich compared with 38% of women.  Gingrich does better among those who are older.  Nearly half of likely Republican primary voters who are at least 45 years old — 49% — favor Gingrich while Romney receives the support of 23% of this group.  Among those who are younger, the contest tightens.  28% support Gingrich, 22% are behind Romney, and 16% back Paul.

Table: 2012 South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary (SC Likely Voters with Leaners)

Table: 2012 South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary (SC Potential Republican Electorate Including Leaners)

Plurality Strongly Supports Choice of Candidate

43% of likely Republican primary voters say they are firmly committed to their choice of candidate while 31% report they somewhat support their pick.  23% think they might vote differently.  Only 3% are unsure.

When NBC News/Marist last reported this question in October, 39% of likely Republican primary voters were firmly behind their candidate.  34% were somewhat committed to their choice, and 25% said they might cast their ballot differently.  Two percent, at that time, were unsure.

Key points:

  • Gingrich supporters are more firmly committed to their candidate than are Romney’s backers.  Half of likely Republican primary voters who are behind Gingrich — 50% — report they are unwavering in their support while 34% who back Romney say the same.

Table: Intensity of Support (SC Likely Voters)

Romney Viewed as Second Choice by More than Three in Ten

Likely Republican primary voters who have a candidate preference also shared their second choice.  32% pick Romney while 21% select Gingrich.  Perry is the second choice of 12% while 10% choose Bachmann.  Paul garners 8% compared with 6% for Santorum.  Huntsman is the second pick of 2%, and 9% are undecided.

Key points:

  • A majority of Romney’s supporters — 51% — pick Gingrich as their second choice while the same proportion of Gingrich’s backers – 51% — select Romney.

Table: Second Choice for the Republican Presidential Primary (SC Likely Voters)

Gingrich Leads Romney, Paul in Three-Way Contest…Bests Romney Head-to-Head

What if the contest for the Republican nomination comes down to Gingrich, Romney, and Paul?  In that hypothetical scenario, nearly half of likely Republican primary voters — 48% — are for Gingrich compared with 30% for Romney and 12% for Paul.  Nine percent are undecided.

However, if you take Paul out of the mix, nearly six in ten likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina — 57% — report they support Gingrich compared with 33% for Romney.  10% are undecided.

Table: 2012 South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary Three-Way (SC Likely Voters)

Table: 2012 South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary Two-Way (SC Likely Voters)

Cain Matters in Carolina?

Now that Herman Cain is out of the Republican contest, would his endorsement make a difference?  35% of likely Republican primary voters report they are more likely to vote for a candidate who has Cain’s endorsement while 29% say they are less likely to cast their ballot for such a candidate.  Three in ten — 30% — think it makes no difference to their vote, and 6% are unsure.

Table: Impact of Cain Endorsement (SC Likely Voters)

63% View Gingrich as Acceptable GOP Nominee…Majority Says Same about Romney

More than six in ten likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina — 63% — think Gingrich is a good fit for the GOP nomination.  23% agree but with reservations, and 11% believe he is unacceptable as the top of the ticket.  Three percent are unsure.

Despite Romney’s challenges with the likely Republican primary electorate, a majority of these voters — 53% — say Romney is an acceptable candidate for the nomination.  31% agree but have some concerns, 14% report he is not a good fit, and 2% are unsure.

It is a different story when it comes to Paul, 34% of likely Republican primary voters say he is an unacceptable candidate for the nomination.  Almost three in ten — 29% — believe he is satisfactory, and 32% find him to be acceptable but with hesitation.  Five percent are unsure.

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Gingrich (SC Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Romney (SC Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Paul (SC Likely Voters)

Voters Weigh In on Controversial Campaign Issues

91% of likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina think it is unacceptable for a candidate to tolerate Iran building a nuclear weapon.  Six percent say it is acceptable, and 3% are unsure.

When it comes to allowing illegal immigrants to obtain in-state tuition, more than eight in ten — 84% — believe it is not acceptable for a candidate to support such a position, 12% think it is acceptable, and 4% are unsure.

Many likely Republican primary voters — 62% — say it is unacceptable for a candidate to support an individual mandate for health care insurance while 29% don’t find this to be problematic.  Nine percent are unsure.

Likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina divide about the acceptability of a candidate who supports amnesty for some illegal immigrants.  Here, 48% find it unacceptable while 46% believe it is acceptable.  Six percent are unsure.

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Tolerates Nuclear Proliferation by Iran (SC Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Allows Illegal Immigrants to Receive In-State Tuition (SC Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Supports an Individual Mandate for Health Care Insurance (SC Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Supports Limited Amnesty for Some Illegal Immigrants (SC Likely Voters)

Shared Values and Issues Key Candidate Qualities

Nearly three in ten likely Republican primary voters — 28% — say a candidate who shares their values is the most important quality for a candidate to possess.  26% want a candidate who has the same positions on the issues while 23% believe experience in a candidate is the key.  21% think it’s most important for a candidate to have the ability to defeat President Barack Obama in the general election, and 3% are unsure.

In NBC News/Marist’s October survey, values topped the list of priorities with 31%.  27% of likely Republican primary voters wanted a candidate who was closest to them on the issues while 20% said experience was the most important quality in a candidate.  A similar proportion — 19% — said electability was their top priority, and 3%, at the time, were unsure.

Key points:

  • Gingrich does best among likely Republican primary voters who think electability is the key.  A majority — 56% — backs Gingrich compared with 25% for Romney.
  • Among those who favor a candidate with experience, 43% support Gingrich while Romney receives 26%.  In October, Romney was ahead among these voters.  35%, at that time, supported Romney followed by Cain with 22%.  Gingrich only garnered 7% among these likely Republican primary voters.
  • Gingrich leads Romney by two-to-one among issues voters.  41% throw their support behind Gingrich compared with 20% for Romney
  • Among those who want a candidate who shares their values, Gingrich receives the support of 34% to 22% for Romney.

Table: Most Important Quality in a Republican Presidential Candidate (SC Likely Voters)

Romney Faces Ideological Clash

Many likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina describe Romney as either a liberal — 11% — or a political moderate — 51%.  Only about one in four — 26% — think he is a conservative.  12% are unsure.

The problem for Romney is only 30% of likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina describe themselves as liberal or moderate, and 70% identify as conservative.

Table: Mitt Romney Ideology (SC Likely Voters)

Voters Divide about the Mormon Faith

Half — 50% — of likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina think a Mormon is a Christian while 50% say a Mormon is not a Christian or are unsure.

Little has changed on this question since October.  At that time, 47% reported a Mormon is a Christian while 53% disagreed or were unsure.

Key points:

Table: Are Mormons Christian? (SC Likely Voters)

Obama Gains Edge over Romney, Close Contest with Gingrich

In a hypothetical general election contest between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, 45% of registered voters in South Carolina support the president while 42% back Romney, and 13% are undecided.

In NBC News/Marist’s October survey, Romney had an advantage against the president.  At that time, 46% of registered voters in South Carolina supported Romney compared with 40% for Obama.  14%, at that time, were undecided.

Gingrich runs competitively against the president.  Here, Obama receives 46% of the South Carolina electorate while Gingrich garners 42%.  12% of voters are undecided.

When matched against Paul, the president has a 10 percentage point lead.  47% of registered voters in South Carolina are for President Obama while 37% are for Paul.  15% are undecided.

In 2008, President Obama lost South Carolina to John McCain by nine percentage points, 45% for Obama and 54% for McCain.

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Romney (SC Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Gingrich (SC Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Paul (SC Registered Voters)

48% Disapprove of Obama’s Job Performance

Nearly half of registered voters in South Carolina — 48% — disapprove of the job President Obama is doing in office.  44% approve, and 8% are unsure.

When NBC News/Marist last reported this question in October, a majority — 51% — gave the president low marks while four in ten — 40% — approved, and 9% were unsure.

Table: President Obama Approval Rating in South Carolina (SC Registered Voters)

NBC News/Marist Poll Methodology

 

12/11: Gingrich Soars in Florida

Newt Gingrich, who once received single-digit support in Florida, has climbed to the top of the Republican field.  Gingrich now leads Mitt Romney by 15 percentage points statewide.  Romney, who was in a tight battle with former candidate Herman Cain for the number one position in October, has been dramatically outpaced.

Click Here for Complete December 11, 2011 Florida NBC News/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete December 11, 2011 Florida NBC News/Marist Poll Tables

Florida state flag

©istockphoto.com/mtrommer

Here is how the contest stands among likely Republican primary voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate in Florida:

  • 44% for Newt Gingrich
  • 29% for Mitt Romney
  • 8% for Ron Paul
  • 4% for Rick Perry
  • 3% for Michele Bachmann
  • 3% for Jon Huntsman
  • 2% for Rick Santorum
  • 8% are undecided

“Not only does Gingrich have a double-digit lead, but no one else other than Romney has more than single digits,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “The important question is who will still be an active candidate by the Florida primary at the end of January.”

The Republican contest looked much different in October.  In that NBC News/Marist Poll, 33% of likely Republican primary voters in Florida including those who were undecided yet leaning toward a candidate backed Romney.  A similar proportion — 32% — rallied for Herman Cain who has since suspended his campaign.  Nine percent supported Perry.  Paul and Gingrich each received 6%.  Two percent, at that time, threw their support behind Bachmann while the same proportion — 2% — favored Huntsman.  One percent backed Santorum, and 8%, in October, were undecided.

When looking at the current Florida potential Republican electorate including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 41% of these voters back Gingrich while 28% support Romney.  Paul receives the support of 9% while 4% are for Perry, and 4% are for Bachmann.  Huntsman garners 3%, and Santorum is preferred by 1%.  10% are undecided.

Key points:

  • Gingrich receives the backing of 57% of likely Republican primary voters who are Tea Party supporters compared with 22% for Romney.
  • Among those who are very conservative, Gingrich leads Romney, 64% to 17%.
  • Gingrich also outpaces Romney among likely Republican primary voters who are Evangelical Christians.  Here, Gingrich receives the support of nearly half — 49% — compared with 26% for Romney.
  • There are also gender and age differences.  Among men, Gingrich — 48% — leads Romney — 23% — by 25 percentage points.  Paul receives 12%.  Women divide.  38% of women are for Gingrich compared with 35% for Romney.  Gingrich does better among likely Republican primary voters who are older.  Nearly half of those 45 or older — 47% — favor Gingrich while 29% are behind Romney.  Among those who are younger than 45, 34% support Gingrich while 26% rally for Romney.  Paul receives 19% of this age group.

Table: 2012 Florida Republican Presidential Primary (FL Likely Voters with Leaners)

Table: 2012 Florida Republican Presidential Primary (FL Potential Republican Electorate Including Leaners)

Plurality Strongly Supports Choice of Candidate

47% of likely Republican primary voters in Florida are strongly committed to their choice of candidate.  31% somewhat support their pick, and 20% might vote differently.  Two percent are unsure.

Little has changed on this question since NBC News/Marist’s October survey.  At that time, 44% were firmly committed to their choice of candidate.  More than one in four — 27% — were somewhat committed to their pick while the same proportion — 27% — thought they might vote differently come primary day.  Only 2%, then, were unsure.

Key points:

  • Gingrich’s backers — 60% — are more firmly behind their candidate compared with Romney’s supporters — 38%.
  • A majority — 55% — of likely Republican primary voters who support the Tea Party are firmly committed to their choice of candidate.

Table: Intensity of Support (FL Likely Voters)

Second Best: More than Three in Ten Choose Romney

31% of likely Republican primary voters who have a candidate preference say Romney is their second choice.  Nearly one in four — 24% — pick Gingrich while 10% select Bachmann.  Perry is the second choice of 9% while 7% believe Paul is the next best choice.  Santorum receives 6% while 4% think Huntsman is the second best option.  Nine percent are undecided.

Key points:

  • 55% of Romney’s backers select Gingrich as their second choice while 51% of Gingrich’s backers pick Romney.

Table: Second Choice for the Republican Presidential Primary (FL Likely Voters)

Gingrich Bests Romney and Paul in Three-Way Matchup, Leads Romney Head-to-Head

If the Republican contest comes down to Gingrich, Romney, and Paul, 51% of likely Republican primary voters in Florida rally for Gingrich, 31% are behind Romney, and 10% support Paul.  Nine percent are undecided.

If Paul is not in the final field, 54% of likely Republican primary voters in Florida back Gingrich while 36% are for Romney, and 10% are undecided.

Table: 2012 Florida Republican Presidential Primary Three-Way (FL Likely Voters)

Table: 2012 Florida Republican Presidential Primary Two-Way (FL Likely Voters)

Could Cain Endorsement Have Impact in Florida?

Since Herman Cain dropped out of the Republican contest, talk has turned toward which candidate, if any, he will endorse.  But, will his endorsement matter?  While 32% of likely Republican primary voters in Florida say a Cain endorsement makes no difference to their vote, 33% say it makes them more likely to cast their ballot for such a candidate while 29% report it will make them less likely to support a candidate with Cain’s backing.  Six percent are unsure.

Table: Impact of Cain Endorsement (FL Likely Voters)

Gingrich and Romney Deemed Acceptable as GOP Nominee

Almost two-thirds of likely Republican primary voters in Florida — 65% — think Gingrich is an acceptable candidate for the GOP nomination.  20% believe he is a good fit, but they have reservations, and 11% report he is unacceptable for the role.  Four percent are unsure.

Looking at Romney, nearly six in ten — 58% — perceive him to be an acceptable choice for the top of the GOP ticket while 28% think he is suitable, but they have some concerns.  10%, however, believe Romney is an unacceptable option, and 4% are unsure.

However, the narrative changes for Paul and Perry.  37% of likely Republican primary voters say Paul is an unacceptable pick for the Republican nomination while 27% think he is acceptable.  30% report Paul is satisfactory, but they have reservations, and 6% are unsure.

When it comes to Perry, 35% believe he is not a good fit for the top of the GOP ticket while 27% find him to be acceptable.  31% think Perry, overall, is acceptable, but they have concerns, and 7% are unsure.

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Gingrich (FL Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Romney (FL Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Paul (FL Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Perry (FL Likely Voters)

Talking Controversy: Which Issues are Acceptable?

When it comes to positions on controversial issues, what are likely Republican primary voters in Florida willing to accept in a nominee?

Most — 92% — believe it is not acceptable for the Republican candidate to tolerate Iran building a nuclear weapon while only 5% think it is acceptable.  Three percent are unsure.

Eight in ten likely Republican primary voters — 80% — say it is problematic if the nominee supports allowing illegal immigrants to obtain in-state tuition.  14% do not find this stance to be objectionable, and 6% are unsure.

When it comes to a candidate who supports an individual mandate for health care insurance, 64% say it is not a desirable position while 25% find it acceptable, and 10% are unsure.

However, a majority of likely Republican primary voters in Florida — 53% — thinks it is acceptable for a candidate to support limited amnesty for some illegal immigrants.  41% believe it is unacceptable, and 7% are unsure.

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Tolerates Nuclear Proliferation by Iran (FL Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Allows Illegal Immigrants to Receive In-State Tuition (FL Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Supports an Individual Mandate for Health Care Insurance (FL Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Supports Limited Amnesty for Some Illegal Immigrants (FL Likely Voters)

Candidate Qualities That Matter

Nearly three in ten likely Republican primary voters in Florida — 28% — believe it is most important that the Republican nominee have the ability to defeat President Barack Obama in the general election.  26% rate shared values as their top priority while 23% want someone who is closest to them on the issues.  20% believe a candidate with the experience to govern is the most important quality in a candidate, and 4% are unsure.

When NBC News/Marist last reported this question in October, 28% of likely Republican primary voters thought a candidate who was closest to them on the issues was the most important factor in a candidate.  More than one in four — 26% — cited shared values as their priority, 23% said electability was their priority while experience topped the check list for 21%.  Three percent, at that time, were unsure.

Key points:

  • Gingrich fares best among likely Republican primary voters who value experience.  Here, he leads with a majority — 52% — to 29% for Romney.  Romney has lost ground among this group.  In October, a plurality of likely Republican primary voters in Florida who wanted a candidate with experience — 46% — supported Romney.
  • Nearly half of those who rate electability as the most important candidate quality — 47% — favor Gingrich compared with 34% for Romney.
  • Gingrich — 42% — also has the advantage over Romney — 22% — among those who want a candidate who shares their positions on the issues.
  • Although Gingrich retains a lead, the contest tightens among likely Republican primary voters who want a candidate who shares their values.  38% favor Gingrich while 28% are behind Romney.

Table: Most Important Quality in a Republican Presidential Candidate (FL Likely Voters)

Romney Ideology Mismatch for Florida Likely Voters

Looking at the perception of Romney’s ideology, a majority of likely Republican primary voters in Florida — 56% — describes Romney as a moderate, and 10% say he is a liberal.  Only 23% think he is a conservative.  10% are unsure.

Romney’s ideology is not compatible with that of the likely Republican electorate in Florida.  Only 26% of these voters describe themselves as moderate and 4% view themselves as liberal.  70% identify as conservative.

Table: Mitt Romney Ideology (FL Likely Voters)

Majority Says a Mormon is a Christian

57% of likely Republican primary voters in Florida think a Mormon is a Christian while 43% say a Mormon is not a Christian or are unsure.

There has been little change on this question since October.  At that time, almost six in ten likely Republican primary voters — 58% — reported they believed a Mormon is a Christian while 42% said a Mormon is not a Christian or were unsure.

Key points:

  • Gingrich — 45% — is ahead of Romney — 20% — among likely Republican primary voters who report a Mormon is not a Christian or are unsure.  Among those who say a Mormon is a Christian, the race tightens.  42% back Gingrich compared with 35% who support Romney.

Table: Are Mormons Christian? (FL Likely Voters)

Obama Ahead of GOP Challengers…Lead Grows against Romney

Looking at hypothetical matchups for the general election, Romney remains President Obama’s closest competitor.  However, the president has widened his lead over his potential Republican challenger.

Among registered voters in Florida, 48% back the president while 41% support Romney, and 11% are undecided.

In October, voters divided.  45% were for Obama while 43% were behind Romney, and 12% were undecided.

Against Gingrich, the president leads with a majority — 51% — to 39% for Gingrich.  10% are undecided.

President Obama has a 13 percentage point lead against Paul.  In this hypothetical contest, 49% favor the president while 36% rally for Paul.  14% are undecided.

In 2008, President Obama narrowly won Florida with 51% to 48% for John McCain.

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Romney (FL Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Gingrich (FL Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Paul (FL Registered Voters)

Voters Divide about Obama’s Job Performance

46% of registered voters in Florida approve of the job President Obama is doing in office while 45% disapprove, and 9% are unsure.

The perception of the president’s job performance has improved in Florida.  In NBC News/Marist’s October survey, nearly half — 49% — disapproved of the president’s job performance while 41% approved, and 10% were unsure.

Table: President Obama Approval Rating in Florida (FL Registered Voters)

NBC News/Marist Poll Methodology

12/4: NBC News/Marist Poll: Gingrich Races to the Head of the Pack in Iowa

December 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Election 2012, Featured, NBC News/Marist Poll

With less than one month to go until the Iowa caucus, Newt Gingrich has surged to the top of the leaderboard in the state.  Gingrich outdistances his closest rivals, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, by 8 and 9 percentage points, respectively.

Iowa flag

©istockphoto.com/bkindler

Click Here for Complete December 4, 2011 Iowa NBC News/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete December 4, 2011 Iowa NBC News/Marist Poll Tables

Here is how the contest stands among likely Republican caucus-goers including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate:

  • 26% for Newt Gingrich
  • 18% for Mitt Romney
  • 17% for Ron Paul
  • 9% for Herman Cain
  • 9% for Rick Perry
  • 5% for Michele Bachmann
  • 5% for Rick Santorum
  • 2% for Jon Huntsman
  • 9% are undecided

“As the roller coaster picks up speed in the month leading up to the Iowa caucus, Newt Gingrich has moved into the lead car,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Hold on tight for any further twists and turns.”

The Republican field has changed in Iowa.  In October, 26% of likely Republican caucus-goers including leaners supported Romney.  One in five — 20% — favored Cain, and 12% backed Paul.  Bachmann and Perry each received 11%, 5% were behind Gingrich while Santorum garnered 3%.  One percent was for Huntsman.  At that time, one in ten — 10% — was undecided.

If Cain drops out of the race, based upon the second choice of his supporters, the contest among likely Republican caucus-goers including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate is now Gingrich at 28% followed by Paul and Romney with 19%.  10% favor Perry, 7% support Bachmann, 6% back Santorum, and 2% are for Huntsman.  Nine percent remain undecided.

Among the larger pool of potential Republican caucus-goers including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Gingrich has a 7 percentage point lead over Romney.  25% favor Gingrich, 18% are for Romney, and 16% back Paul.  Perry and Cain each receive the support of 9% of these potential participants.  Five percent rally for Bachmann while Santorum has the backing of 4%.  Two percent are for Huntsman, and 11% are undecided.

Key points:

  • Gingrich leads Romney, 34% to 20%, among likely Republican caucus-goers who are just conservative including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate.  Among those who are very conservative, it’s Gingrich 29% to 10% for Romney.  Looking at those who support the Tea Party, 32% support Gingrich, 11% support Romney, and 16% support Paul.
  • Among caucus-goers who are Tea Party supporters, conservative, and Evangelical Christians, Gingrich receives 35% compared with 11% for Romney.  Cain receives 14%, Paul garners 12%, and Santorum takes 10% among these voters.

Table: 2012 Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus (IA Likely Caucus-Goers Including Leaners)

Table: 2012 Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus without Cain (IA Likely Caucus-Goers Including Leaners)

Table: 2012 Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus (IA Potential Republican Electorate Including Leaners)

Four in Ten Strongly Support Choice of Candidate

40% of likely Republican caucus-goers say they strongly support their choice of candidate while the same proportion — 40% — somewhat support their pick.  However, nearly one in five — 19% — might change their mind, and 1% is unsure.

When NBC News/Marist last reported this question in October, 41% reported they strongly supported their choice of candidate, 36% were somewhat committed to their pick, and 20% said they might cast their ballot for someone else.  Three percent, at the time, were unsure.

Key points:

  • A majority of likely Republican caucus-goers who back Paul — 53% — are strongly committed to their candidate.  43% of those who favor Gingrich and 38% who are behind Romney express the same level of support for their pick.

Table: Intensity of Support (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Gingrich, Romney Top List as Second Best

Nearly one in five likely Republican caucus-goers — 19% — report Gingrich is their second choice for the nomination while 17% select Romney.  Bachmann garners 12% while Cain and Perry each receive 11%.  Paul is perceived to be the next best choice by 10% while 8% have the same perception about Santorum.  Three percent say Jon Huntsman is their second choice for the Republican presidential nomination, and 9% are undecided.

Key points:

  • Nearly three in ten likely Republican caucus-goers who support Gingrich — 29% — say Romney is their second choice for the nomination while 43% of Romney’s backers report Gingrich places second in their minds.

Table: Second Choice for the Republican Presidential Caucus (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Gingrich Viewed as Acceptable Candidate by Majority, Romney Falls Short

Gingrich is the only candidate in the GOP field who is considered by a majority of likely Republican caucus-goers to be a good fit for the Republican nomination.  54% of likely Republican caucus-goers think Gingrich is an acceptable candidate.  An additional 27% say he is acceptable but with reservations, and 16% believe he is an unacceptable choice.  Four percent are unsure.

Romney, however, faces a challenge among likely Republican caucus-goers.  Fewer than half — 46% — think Romney fits the bill while 28% say he will do, but they have reservations about him.  Almost one in four — 24% — believes he is not an acceptable choice for the top of the GOP ticket, and 3% are unsure.

When it comes to Paul, 38% report he would be a good fit, and 34% agree but with some concerns.  26% say he is an unacceptable nominee, and 3% are unsure.

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Gingrich (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Romney (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Paul (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Controversial Campaign Issues

When it comes to positions on key issues, just what are caucus-goers willing to accept in a candidate?  87% of likely Republican caucus-goers believe it is unacceptable for a nominee to tolerate Iran building a nuclear weapon.  Eight percent say it is acceptable, and 5% are unsure.

More than eight in ten likely Republican caucus-goers — 81% — think it is not acceptable to allow illegal immigrants to obtain in-state tuition. 14% believe it is, and 6% are unsure.

Many likely Republican caucus-goers — 63% — find it unacceptable for a GOP nominee to support an individual mandate for health care insurance while more than one in four — 28% –   do not take issue with that stance. Nine percent are unsure.

A majority of likely Republican caucus-goers — 56% — report it is unacceptable for a nominee to have earned millions of dollars advising Freddie Mac.  About one-third — 33% — find it to be acceptable in a nominee, and 10% are unsure.

A majority of likely Republican caucus-goers — 54% — also find it problematic for a nominee to have been accused of sexual harassment.  Nearly four in ten — 38% — do not think this is problematic, and 8% are unsure.

Likely caucus-goers divide about whether or not it is acceptable for a candidate to support limited amnesty for some illegal immigrants.  47% say it is unacceptable while 46% believe it is acceptable.  Seven percent are unsure.

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Tolerates Nuclear Proliferation by Iran (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Allows Illegal Immigrants to Receive In-State Tuition (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Supports an Individual Mandate for Health Care Insurance (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Earned Millions of Dollars Advising Freddie Mac (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Has Been Accused of Sexual Harassment (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Supports Limited Amnesty for Some Illegal Immigrants (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Issues and Values Top List of Participants’ Priorities

More than three in ten likely Republican caucus-goers — 31% — want a candidate who is closest to them on the issues while 29% say a candidate who shares their values is key.  Electability is the most important factor for 21% of likely Republican caucus-goers while 16% would like a candidate who has the experience to govern.  Two percent are unsure.

In NBC News/Marist’s October survey, 30% said a candidate who shares their values was most important.  A similar proportion — 29% — reported someone who had the same positions on the issues was their priority while one in five — 20% — wanted a candidate who could defeat President Obama in the general election.  Experience, at that time, was the key factor for 17%, and 4% were unsure.

Key points:

  • Gingrich leads among likely Republican caucus-goers including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate who believe experience is the most important quality in a candidate.  36% of these caucus-goers support Gingrich compared with 26% who back Romney.
  • Gingrich — 38% — also has the advantage among likely Republican caucus-goers who think electability is the key while Romney receives the support of 25% of these participants.
  • Among those who think shared values is the priority, there is little consensus.  17% throw their support behind Paul, and the same proportion — 17% — support Gingrich.  Romney and Cain each garner 12%.
  • Paul — 25% — and Gingrich — 22% — vie for the lead among those who think a candidate’s position on the issues is most important.  This compares with Romney who receives 14%.

Table: Most Important Quality in a Republican Presidential Candidate (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Romney Out of Step with Iowa GOP Ideology

Romney does not match up well ideologically with Iowa’s likely Republican caucus-goers.  A majority of likely caucus participants — 53% — perceive Romney to be a moderate while nearly one in five — 18% — thinks he is a liberal.  Just 19% report he is a conservative, and 10% are unsure.  However, 68% of likely Republican caucus-goers describe themselves as either conservative or very conservative.

Table: Mitt Romney Ideology (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Mormons are Christians, Says Majority

A majority of likely Republican caucus-goers — 55% — say a Mormon is a Christian while 45% report a Mormon is not, or they are unsure about it.

Key points:

  • While Romney receives the support of 23% of likely caucus-goers who say a Mormon is a Christian, he garners just 12% among likely caucus participants who do not share this view about his faith or are unsure.

Table: Are Mormons Christians? (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

“The Donald” Has Little Pull among Likely Republican Iowa Caucus-Goers

A plurality of likely Republican caucus-goers — 44% — says a Trump endorsement would not affect their vote while 32% say such a backing would make them less likely to vote for a candidate.  About one in five — 21% — report it would make them more likely to vote for that candidate, and 3% are unsure.

Table: Impact of Trump Endorsement (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Politics or Pigskin?

But, does it all matter?  The BCS Allstate Sugar Bowl will be held on the night of the Iowa caucus.  So, how many likely Republican caucus-goers could be glued to their televisions rather than attending the caucus?  Just less than half of likely Republican caucus-goers — 48% — say they watch either a great deal or a good amount of college football while a majority — 52% — reports they are not avid fans.

Key points:

  • Gingrich’s supporters are more likely to be college football fans than those who back Romney or Paul.  Gingrich receives the support of 30% of avid college football fans who are likely to attend the GOP caucus compared with 19% for Romney and 16% for Paul.
  • Among likely Republican caucus-goers who are not avid college football fans, the race tightens.  Gingrich receives 23% of the vote to 18% for Paul and 16% for Romney.

Table: College Football Fans (IA Likely Caucus-Goers)

Obama Ties Paul…Leads Rest of GOP Field, But Only Has Majority against Bachmann

In hypothetical contests with potential Republican challengers, President Barack Obama bests his competition with one exception.

Against Paul, 42% of registered voters in Iowa support Obama while the same proportion — 42% — backs Paul.  A notable 16% are undecided.   Paul attracts 15% of Iowa’s Democrats and leads President Obama 42% to 35% among independent voters.  Paul also has a 14 percentage point advantage over Obama among voters under 45 years of age.  There is a gender gap.  Paul outpaces the president among men by 11 percentage points, and President Obama outdistances Paul among women by 10 percentage points.

In a matchup against Romney, the president has a seven percentage point lead.  46% of registered voters support Mr. Obama while 39% favor Romney.  15% are undecided.

Against Gingrich, the president garners 47% to 37% for Gingrich, a 10 percentage point lead.  16% are undecided.

The president has an 11 percentage point advantage against Perry.  Here, 48% back Obama while 37% are for Perry, and 15% are undecided.

When paired against Cain, half of Iowa’s electorate — 50% — supports President Obama compared with 32% for Cain, giving Mr. Obama an 18 percentage point lead.  18% are undecided.

The president receives majority support against Bachmann.  In this hypothetical contest, Obama receives 54% to Bachmann’s 31%, an advantage of 23 percentage points.  15% are undecided.

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Paul (IA Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Romney (IA Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Gingrich (IA Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Perry (IA Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Cain (IA Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Bachmann (IA Registered Voters)

Iowa Voters Divide about Obama’s Job Approval Rating

43% of registered voters in the state approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing in office while 46% disapprove.  12% are unsure.

In NBC News/Marist’s previous survey in Iowa, 42% of registered voters in Iowa gave the president high marks while 47% gave his job performance a thumbs-down.  11%, at the time, were unsure.

Table: President Obama Approval Rating in Iowa (IA Registered Voters)

NBC News/Marist Poll Methodology

Lee Miringoff discusses the GOP field on MSNBC:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

12/4: NBC News/Marist Poll: Romney Lead Narrows in New Hampshire Primary

December 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Election 2012, Featured, NBC News/Marist Poll

Although Mitt Romney outpaces his closest competitor in New Hampshire’s Republican Presidential Primary by 16 percentage points, his lead has been cut in half since a similar poll conducted in October.

New Hampshire flag

©istockphoto.com/ayzek

Click Here for Complete December 4, 2011 New Hampshire NBC News/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete December 4, 2011 New Hampshire NBC News/Marist Poll Tables

Here is how the contest stands among likely Republican primary voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate in New Hampshire:

  • 39% for Mitt Romney
  • 23% for Newt Gingrich
  • 16% for Ron Paul
  • 9% for Jon Huntsman
  • 3% for Michele Bachmann
  • 3% for Rick Perry
  • 2% for Herman Cain
  • 1% for Rick Santorum
  • 4% are undecided

“Romney is down, Cain has collapsed, and the undecided have dropped since October,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “In the meantime, Gingrich has emerged as a serious threat to Romney’s must-win, first-in-the-nation primary.”

When NBC News/Marist last reported this question, 45% of likely Republican primary voters including leaners supported Romney while Cain and Paul each received 13% of the vote.  Seven percent, at the time, were behind Perry while 5% rallied for Huntsman.  Gingrich placed sixth in October with 4% while 3% favored Bachmann.  One percent supported Santorum.  Eight percent, at that time, were undecided.

Little changes if Cain drops out of the race given he currently receives support from only 2% of New Hampshire voters likely to vote in the Republican primary.  Based upon the second choice of his supporters, the contest among likely Republican primary voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate is now 39% for Romney, 24% for Gingrich, and 16% for Paul.  Nine percent back Huntsman while Bachmann and Perry each receive 3%.  Two percent support Santorum, and 4% remain undecided.

Among the potential Republican electorate in New Hampshire, that is, all Republicans and those independents who plan to vote in the primary, including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Romney has a 19 percentage point lead.  40% back Romney while Gingrich takes the second spot with 21% followed by Paul with 16% and Huntsman with 10%.  Three percent favor Bachmann, and the same proportion — 3% — rallies for Perry.  Two percent back Cain, and 1% supports Santorum.   Four percent are undecided.

Key points:

  • When looking at likely primary voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Romney leads Gingrich by 12 percentage points among Republicans and by 21 percentage points among independents.
  • Romney and Gingrich vie for the top spot among likely Republican primary voters who support the Tea Party. Each receives the support of 33%.  However, among those who strongly back the Tea Party, 41% are for Gingrich compared with 19% for Romney.
  • Gingrich — 36% — has the advantage over Romney — 29% — among likely Republican primary voters who are very conservative.

Table: 2012 New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary (NH Likely Voters with Leaners)

Table: 2012 New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary without Cain (NH Likely Voters with Leaners)

Table: 2012 New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary (NH Potential Republican Electorate Including Those who Are Undecided Yet Leaning Toward a Candidate)

More Voters Firmly Committed to Candidate

Nearly half of likely Republican primary voters — 49% — say they strongly support their choice of candidate while 31% report they are somewhat committed to their pick.  18% might vote differently, and 2% are unsure.

There has been an increase in the proportion of voters who say they stand firm behind their choice of candidate.  In NBC News/Marist’s October survey, 38% of likely Republican primary voters were strongly committed to their choice of candidate, 35% were somewhat behind their pick, and 26% said they might cast their ballot differently.  Only 1%, at the time, was unsure.

Key points:

  • More than six in ten likely Republican primary voters who back Paul — 62% — are firmly committed to him compared with 48% of Romney’s backers and 48% of Gingrich’s supporters who say the same about their pick.

Table: Intensity of Support (NH Likely Voters)

Gingrich, Romney Top List for Second Best

Who do likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire say is their second choice for the nomination?  Nearly one in four — 24% — select Gingrich while the same proportion — 24% — picks Romney.  11% say Paul is second best while 8% favor Huntsman.  Cain and Perry follow closely behind with 7% each.  Five percent choose Bachmann as their second choice while 4% think Santorum rates as the second best option.  Nine percent are undecided.

Table: Second Choice for the Republican Presidential Primary (NH Likely Voters)

Romney Viewed as Acceptable Nominee by More than Six in Ten

63% of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire believe Mitt Romney is a good fit for the GOP nomination.  An additional 23% think he is acceptable, but have reservations.  12% say he is not an acceptable candidate.  Only 1% is unsure.

Gingrich is perceived by a majority of likely Republican primary voters — 54% — to be an acceptable choice while 25% agree but with reservations.  Nearly one in five — 19% — say he is not a good fit for the top of the ticket, and 3% are unsure.

When it comes to Paul’s acceptability, likely voters fracture.  38% say he would be an acceptable fit, 29% believe he would be suitable but have concerns, and 31% report he would be an unacceptable nominee.  Two percent are unsure.

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Romney (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Gingrich (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability for Republican Nomination — Paul (NH Likely Voters)

Controversial Issues: Candidate Who Supports Limited Amnesty Acceptable, Says Majority

54% of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire find it acceptable if the Republican nominee supports limited amnesty for some illegal immigrants.  41%, though, believe it is unacceptable, and 5% are unsure.

However, most — 84% — think it is unacceptable if the nominee tolerates Iran building nuclear weapons. 12% believe it is acceptable, and 4% are unsure.

83% of likely Republican primary voters also say it is unacceptable if the GOP nominee favors allowing illegal immigrants to obtain in-state tuition.  14% report it is acceptable, and 3% are unsure.

When it comes to a candidate who has been accused of sexual harassment, more than six in ten likely Republican primary voters — 63% — are not comfortable with a nominee who has faced such allegations while 32% don’t believe this to be problematic.  Five percent are unsure.

Six in ten — 60% — don’t think it is acceptable for the Republican nominee to support an individual mandate for health care insurance while 32% believe such a position on the issue is fine.  Seven percent are unsure.

If the Republican nominee has earned millions of dollars advising Freddie Mac, nearly six in ten likely voters — 59% — find this to be unacceptable.  34%, however, do not object to having such a nominee top the ticket, and 7% are unsure.

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Supports Limited Amnesty for Some Illegal Immigrants (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Tolerates Nuclear Proliferation by Iran (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Allows Illegal Immigrants to Receive In-State Tuition (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Has Been Accused of Sexual Harassment (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Supports an Individual Mandate for Health Care Insurance (NH Likely Voters)

Table: Acceptability of a Republican Candidate who Earned Millions of Dollars Advising Freddie Mac (NH Likely Voters)

Issues Key Candidate Quality

What matters most to likely Republican primary voters in choosing a nominee?  Three in ten — 30% — believe a candidate who is close to their positions on the issues is the priority.  Nearly one in four — 23% — thinks someone who shares their values is most important while the same proportion — 23% — says a candidate who can defeat President Barack Obama in the general election is paramount.  22% report experience matters most, and 2% are unsure.

In October, the same proportion of likely Republican primary voters — 30% — thought shared positions on the issues was the leading factor when choosing a candidate while 28% believed someone who had similar values was the most important.  22% put experience at the top of their list while 19% thought electability was key.  Two percent, at the time, were unsure.

Key points:

  • Romney does well among likely Republican primary voters who want a candidate who can defeat President Obama — 46% — compared with 35% for Gingrich.
  • Romney has an edge among those who favor experience in a candidate — 40%.  Gingrich receives 28% of this group.  Romney’s biggest drop since October is among these voters.  Romney garnered 64% support from voters focused on experience in the earlier poll.
  • Among those who want a candidate with similar values, Romney leads with 35% to 20% for Gingrich and 19% for Paul.
  • Looking at those who think someone who is closest to them on the issues is the priority, Romney — 35% — is followed by Paul with 25%, Gingrich with 14%, and Huntsman with the same proportion — 14%.

Table: Most Important Quality in a Republican Presidential Candidate (NH Likely Voters)

More Than Six in Ten Call Romney a Moderate

61% of likely Republican primary voters believe Romney is a moderate while 24% think he is a conservative, and 10% say he is a liberal.  Five percent are unsure.  However, just 35% of likely Republican primary voters describe themselves as moderate compared with 58% who identify as conservative or very conservative.

Table: Mitt Romney Ideology (NH Likely Voters)

Many Say Mormons are Christians

62% of likely Republican primary voters believe that a Mormon is a Christian.  38%, however, think they are not or are unsure.

Key points:

Table: Are Mormons Christians? (NH Likely Voters)

Trump Backing Provides Little Benefit

Most Republicans who are likely to vote in the New Hampshire primary would not be more likely to vote for a candidate who receives the endorsement of Donald Trump.  A plurality — 42% — reports such an endorsement would make no difference to their vote while 37% say it would make them less likely to vote for such a candidate.  Only 19% think a Trump endorsement would make them more likely to cast their ballot for a candidate, and 2% are unsure.

Table: Impact of Trump Endorsement (NH Likely Voters)

Romney, Paul Run Competitively Against Obama, but Romney Loses Some Ground

In hypothetical contests against potential Republican challengers, both Romney and Paul are neck and neck with President Barack Obama in New Hampshire.

46% of registered voters in New Hampshire support Romney while 43% back Obama.  11% are undecided.

In NBC News/Marist’s October survey, Romney had a nine percentage point lead over the president.  At that time, Romney received the backing of 49% compared with 40% for Obama.  11%, at that time, were undecided.

When pitted against Paul, 44% of registered voters favor Obama while 42% are behind Paul. 14% are undecided.  Here, independents divide.  45% back Obama while 40% rally for Paul.  There is also a gender gap.  A majority of women — 53% — favor Obama while nearly half of men — 49% — are behind Paul.  Paul has the edge among registered voters younger than 45 — 45% — compared with 39% for Obama.

The president has a 10 percentage point lead against Gingrich.  Almost half of voters — 49% — support the president while 39% rally for Gingrich.  12% are undecided.

Against Perry, the president leads 51% to 36%.  13% are undecided.  President Obama has widened the gap against Perry.  In October, 46% of registered voters backed the president while 40% said they would cast their ballot for Perry.  14%, then, were undecided.

Against Bachmann, Obama has a 20 percentage point advantage.  Here, he outpaces Bachmann, 53% to 33%.  14% are undecided.

President Obama fares best against Cain.  In this hypothetical contest, a majority of registered voters — 53% — back the president while Cain garners 30%, a 23 percentage point lead for the president.  17% are undecided.

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Romney (NH Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Paul (NH Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Gingrich (NH Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Perry (NH Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Bachmann (NH Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Cain (NH Registered Voters)

Low Marks Continue for Obama

Just four in ten registered voters in New Hampshire — 40% — approve of the job President Obama is doing in office.  A majority — 52% — disapproves, and 8% are unsure.

Little has changed on this question since October.  At that time, 38% gave the president a thumbs-up while a majority — 53% — gave him a thumbs-down.  Nine percent, at the time, were unsure.

Table: President Obama Approval Rating in New Hampshire (NH Registered Voters)

NBC News/Marist Poll Methodology

11/11: Romney Edges GOP Contenders…Gingrich and Cain Battle for Second

November 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Election 2012, Featured, McClatchy-Marist

In this national McClatchy-Marist Poll, Newt Gingrich has joined the top tier of candidates vying for the 2012 Republican nomination for president.

hand casting ballot

©istockphoto.com/ericsphotography

Click Here for Complete November 11, 2011 USA McClatchy-Marist Poll Release and Tables

Among Republican and Republican leaning independents, here is how the contest stands:

  • 23% for Mitt Romney
  • 19% for Newt Gingrich
  • 17% for Herman Cain
  • 10% for Ron Paul
  • 8% for Rick Perry
  • 5% for Michele Bachmann
  • 1% for Jon Huntsman
  • 1% for Rick Santorum
  • 17% are undecided

“The race for the GOP nomination has taken yet another dramatic turn,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Now, the top tier is crowded as Newt Gingrich has taken his place alongside Mitt Romney and Herman Cain.  Could anyone imagine a more unsettled contest?”

The race is still very fluid.  Only 30% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents are firmly committed to their choice of candidate while 42% somewhat support their pick.  A notable 28% say they might cast their ballot for someone else.

When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in September, an identical 30% said they strongly supported their candidate while nearly four in ten — 39% — were somewhat in their candidate’s corner, and 31% thought they might change their mind.

Looking at the support of the top tier candidates, 43% of Gingrich’s backers say they are firmly committed to their choice of candidate.  This compares with 31% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents who are behind Cain and 30% of Romney’s supporters who have a similar level of support for their pick.

Table: 2012 Republican Presidential Primary

Table: Intensity of Support

Shared Values, Experience Most Important Candidate Qualities

33% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents think a candidate who shares their values is key when deciding who to support while 27% believe experience is most important.   About one in four Republicans and Republican leaning independents — 23% — say a candidate who is closest to them on the issues passes their litmus test while 13% believe electability is the most important quality a candidate should have.  Four percent are unsure.

There has been little change on this question since September.  At that time, 35% said shared values topped their list while 26% thought experience mattered most.  One in five — 20% — wanted a candidate who was closest to them on the issues, and 17% thought the ability to defeat President Obama was key.  Two percent, then, were unsure.

Key points:

  • 22% of those who believe shared values are key back Romney while 21% support Cain.
  • Among Republicans and Republican leaning independents who think experience matters most, Gingrich receives the backing of 25% compared with 20% for Romney.
  • Looking at Republicans and Republican leaning independents who favor a candidate who is closest to them on the issues, Romney receives the support of 28% while Gingrich takes 21%.
  • Romney garners the support of 26% who want a candidate who can defeat President Barack Obama in next year’s general election, and Gingrich is backed by 23% of these voters.

Table: Most Important Quality in a Republican Presidential Candidate

Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations, About Seven in Ten Want Cain to Stay in Race

What impact are the accusations of sexual harassment having on Cain’s candidacy?  69% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents don’t think Cain should drop out of the race while 22% believe he should.  Nine percent are unsure.

However, Cain’s reputation hasn’t been cleared in the court of public opinion.  While 29% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents believe Cain didn’t do anything wrong, 34% think he did something unethical but not illegal.  And, 11% go as far as to say his actions were against the law.  A notable 26% are unsure.

And, although nearly half — 48% — thinks the sexual harassment accusations lobbed at Cain are mostly being made to ruin his reputation, 28% believe they are based in fact.  24% are unsure.

Table: Should Herman Cain Drop Out of the Race?

Table: Views on Herman Cain’s Actions

Table: Motivation for the Sexual Harassment Accusations against Herman Cain

McClatchy-Marist Poll Methodology

McClatchy News Service article: Poll: Romney retakes lead in GOP race, Gingrich moves to second

10/11: NBC News/Marist Poll: No Clear GOP Front-Runner in Iowa

October 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, NBC News/Marist Poll

Mitt Romney and Herman Cain are in a tight battle as they vie for the support of Iowa’s likely Republican caucus-goers.  And, with a notable proportion yet to choose a candidate, the race in the Hawkeye State is very competitive.

Iowa primary sign

©istockphoto.com/cosmonaut

Click Here for Complete October 11, 2011 Iowa NBC News/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete October 11, 2011 Iowa NBC News/Marist Poll Tables

Here is how the contest stands among likely Republican caucus-goers:

  • 23% for Mitt Romney
  • 20% for Herman Cain
  • 11% for Ron Paul
  • 10% for Rick Perry
  • 10% for Michele Bachmann
  • 4% for Newt Gingrich
  • 3% for Rick Santorum
  • 1% for Jon Huntsman
  • 1% for Gary Johnson
  • 16% are undecided

“Right now, Iowa is shaping up as a two candidate contest.  But, caucus participation is always the key in this low-turnout environment,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Watch for the strength of the candidates’ field organizations to move poll numbers and determine the eventual winner.”

How does the contest shape up when those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate are considered?  26% of likely Republican caucus-goers including those who are leaning toward a candidate support Romney.  One in five — 20% — favor Cain, and 12% back Paul.  Bachmann and Perry each receive 11%, 5% are behind Gingrich while Santorum garners 3%.  One percent is for Huntsman while the same proportion — 1% — throws their support behind Johnson.  One in ten — 10% — is still undecided.

Iowa’s pool of potential participants for Iowa’s Republican Presidential Caucus is more undecided. 23% are for Romney, 16% support Cain, and 12% choose Paul.  10% back Perry while the same proportion — 10% — favors Bachmann.  Four percent rally for Gingrich, 2% support Santorum, and Huntsman and Johnson each receive 1%.  A notable one in five — 20% — is undecided.

Key points:

  • Herman Cain — 31% — leads among likely Republican caucus-goers who support the Tea Party.
  • 41% of likely Republican caucus-goers who strongly support the Tea Party back Herman Cain.
  • Nearly one in four likely Republican caucus-goers who plan to participate for the first time — 24% — support Romney.  16% are behind Cain, and 14% back Paul.
  • Among likely Republican caucus-goers who are Evangelical Christians, Cain receives 24% of the vote to 23% for Romney.
  • 24% of Conservative likely Republican caucus-goers support Cain while 21% back Romney.

Table: 2012 Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus (IA Likely Voters)

Table: 2012 Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus (IA Likely Voters Including Leaners)

Table: 2012 Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus (IA Potential Republican Electorate)

Slightly More than Four in Ten Strongly Support Candidate

There is plenty of time for movement within this Republican field.  Among likely Republican caucus-goers, only 41% report they strongly support their choice of candidate, including 48% of Tea Party supporters.  36% say they somewhat support their pick, and 20% might change their mind.  Three percent are unsure.

Key points:

  • 56% of likely Republican caucus-goers who support Cain are firmly committed to him.  29% of likely Republican caucus-goers who back Romney have a similar level of commitment.

Table: Intensity of Support (IA Likely Voters)

What Matters Most? Values and Issues Top Check List

30% of Iowa’s likely Republican caucus-goers say they want a GOP candidate who shares their values while a similar proportion — 29% — prefer one who is closest to their position on the issues.  One in five — 20% — say a candidate who can defeat President Obama in the general election tops their list of factors for a candidate while 17% want someone with experience.  Four percent are unsure.

Key points:

  • Among likely Republican caucus-goers who think a candidate’s position on the issues is the most important, Cain and Paul each receive the support of 21%.  17% of these voters are behind Romney.
  • 24% of likely Republican caucus-goers who cite shared values as the key factor support Cain while 21% back Romney.
  • Looking at likely Republican caucus-goers who think a Republican candidate should be able to defeat the president, 26% rally for Cain while 24% tout Romney.
  • Romney receives the support of a plurality — 42% — of likely Republican caucus-goers who say experience trumps all other qualities in a Republican candidate.

Table: Most Important Quality in a Republican Presidential Candidate (IA Likely Voters)

Competitive Race Between Obama and Romney…Obama Outpaces Perry

In a hypothetical contest between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the two are neck and neck among registered voters in Iowa.  Obama receives 43% of the vote to Romney’s 40%.  17% of registered voters are undecided.  In 2008, Obama carried Iowa handily against John McCain.

When matched against Rick Perry, Obama leads 46% to 37% for Perry.  Nearly one in five — 18% — are undecided.

Key points:

  • Independents make the difference.  Romney and Obama are competitive among this group — 39% for Romney and 37% for Obama.  Obama, however, leads Perry among this group with 41% supporting Obama and 34% backing Perry.

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Romney (IA Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Perry (IA Registered Voters)

Obama’s Approval Rating at 42% in Iowa…More Than Two-Thirds View Nation on Wrong Path

Just 42% of registered voters in Iowa approve of the job President Obama is doing in office while 47% disapprove, and 11% are unsure.

By party:

  • Not surprisingly, 74% of Democrats approve of the president’s job performance while 85% of Republicans disapprove.  Nearly half of independents — 48% — are dissatisfied with how Mr. Obama is doing in office.

68% of adults in Iowa believe the nation is moving in the wrong direction while just 21% think it is moving on the proper path.  11% are unsure.

Table: President Obama Approval Rating in Iowa (IA Registered Voters)

Table: Right or Wrong Direction of the Country (IA Adults)

NBC News/Marist Poll Methodology

To read the MSNBC story: Romney leads in Iowa and New Hampshire

The Marist Poll’s Lee Miringoff appears on MSNBC:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

10/11: NBC News/Marist Poll: Romney with Early Lead in NH Among Likely GOP Primary Voters

October 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, NBC News/Marist Poll

With the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary just months away, Mitt Romney outpaces his GOP rivals in the Granite State.

New Hampshire welcome sign

©istockphoto.com/JillKyle

Click Here for Complete October 11, 2011 New Hampshire NBC News/Marist Poll Release

Click Here for Complete October 11, 2011 New Hampshire NBC News/Marist Poll Tables

Here is how the contest stands among likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire:

  • 44% for Mitt Romney
  • 13% for Herman Cain
  • 13% for Ron Paul
  • 6% for Rick Perry
  • 5% for Jon Huntsman
  • 4% for Newt Gingrich
  • 2% for Michele Bachmann
  • 1% for Rick Santorum
  • 1% for Gary Johnson
  • 11% are undecided

“It’s a fluid contest and there’s still a long way to go, but Mitt Romney is enjoying somewhat of a home field advantage in neighboring New Hampshire,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “It will take a major change to dislodge him from the top position in this first-in-the-nation primary.”

When those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate are factored into the equation, there is little change.  45% of likely Republican primary voters including leaners back Romney.  13% support Cain while the same proportion — 13% — is behind Paul.  Perry garners 7% while Huntsman receives 5% of the vote, and 3% pick Bachmann.  Santorum and Johnson each receives 1%, and 8% are undecided.

The potential Republican electorate in New Hampshire, that is, all Republicans and those independents who plan to vote in the primary, shows a similar story.  Romney leads with 43% followed by Paul with 14% and Cain with 12%.  Perry receives 7% of the potential Republican electorate while 5% are for Huntsman.  Three percent back Gingrich, 2% support  Bachmann, and Santorum and Johnson each receive 1% of the vote.  12% are undecided.

Key points:

  • Among likely Republican primary voters who support the Tea Party, 37% are behind Romney, 20% are for Cain, and 13% back Paul.  Perry receives the support of 6% of these voters.
  • 30% of likely Republican primary voters who strongly support the Tea Party back Cain.  28% are behind Romney.
  • A majority of likely primary voters who plan on voting in the GOP primary for the first time – 51% — favor Romney.

Table: 2012 New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary (NH Likely Voters)

Table: 2012 New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary (NH Likely Voters with Leaners)

Table: 2012 New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary (NH Potential Republican Electorate)

Likely Voters Lukewarm Toward Candidate of Choice

Just 38% of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire say they strongly support their choice of candidate, including 44% of likely voters who are Tea Party supporters.  35% report they are somewhat committed to their pick while 26% believe they might vote differently.  One percent is unsure.

Key points:

  • 46% of likely Republican primary voters who support Paul and 45% who back Romney are firmly in their respective candidate’s corner.  33% of those who are behind Cain report the same about their pick.

Table: Intensity of Support (NH Likely Voters)

Issues, Values Matter Most to Granite State Likely Republican Primary Voters

When it comes to deciding upon a candidate, 30% of likely Republican primary voters say someone who is closest to them on the issues is the key.  28% report shared values is the most important quality in a candidate.  More than one in five — 22% — think the experience to govern is the quality they would most like to see while 19% emphasize someone who can defeat President Barack Obama in the general election.  Two percent are unsure.

Key points:

  • More than six in ten likely Republican primary voters who think experience is key — 63% — support Romney.  48% of those who want a candidate who has the potential to defeat the president also throw their support behind Romney.
  • Although his support isn’t as strong, Romney also leads among those who view a candidate’s stand on the issues to be the most important attribute in a candidate — 38% — and among those who prefer a candidate who shares their values — 35%.

Table: Most Important Quality in a Republican Presidential Candidate (NH Likely Voters)

From the Primary to the General…Romney Leads Obama, but Prez tops Perry

If Romney were to face off against President Obama in next year’s general election, nearly half of registered voters in New Hampshire — 49% — say they would support Romney.  Four in ten — 40% — report they would back the president, and 11% are undecided.  In 2008, Obama won New Hampshire by nine percentage points over John McCain.

However, it’s a different story if Perry challenges the president.  In this hypothetical contest, the president leads 46% to Perry’s 40%. 14% are undecided.

Key points:

  • Independent voters are the key.  Romney receives the backing of 46% of independent voters.  Perry, however, is supported by just 35% of these voters.

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Romney (NH Registered Voters)

Table: 2012 Hypothetical Presidential Tossup: Obama/Perry (NH Registered Voters)

Obama Approval Rating at 38%…Nearly Three in Four Say Nation is Moving in Wrong Direction

Just 38% of registered voters in New Hampshire approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing in office while a majority — 53% — disapproves.  Nine percent are unsure.

By party:

  • Opinions divide along party lines with 73% of Democrats saying they approve of the president’s job performance and 86% of Republicans reporting they disapprove.  51% of independents are dissatisfied with how the president is doing in office.

Almost three quarters of New Hampshire adults — 73% — think the country is moving in the wrong direction while 19% believe it is travelling along the right path.  Eight percent are unsure.

Table: President Obama Approval Rating in New Hampshire (NH Registered Voters)

Table: Right or Wrong Direction of the Country (NH Adults)

NBC News/Marist Poll Methodology

To read the MSNBC story: Romney leads in Iowa and New Hampshire

The Marist Poll’s Lee Miringoff appears on MSNBC:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy