Harris Poll: Romney Versus Gingrich: A Comparison

Gingrich does better among Conservatives and Tea party supporters, but Romney does better in the general election

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

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

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

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

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

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

So What?

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


TABLE 1
PERCEPTION OF MITT ROMNEY AND NEWT GINGRICH
“Thinking about presidential politics, looking at the list of attributes, please indicate how you feel about each.”
Base: All adults
  Total Like (NET) Strongly like Somewhat like Total
Dislike (NET)
Somewhat dislike Strongly dislike Not sure
% % % % % % %
Mitt Romney as a person 40 12 28 26 14 12 34
Mitt Romney’s track record as a governor 36 7 29 26 16 10 38
Mitt Romney’s political opinions 33 8 26 33 16 16 34
Newt Gingrich’s political opinions 32 11 21 43 15 28 26
Newt Gingrich’s track record as Speaker of the House 30 9 21 43 15 27 27
Newt Gingrich as a person 28 8 20 46 19 27 26

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

 

TABLE 1A
PERCEPTION OF ROMNEY AND GINGRICH – SUMMARY OF LIKE
“Thinking about presidential politics, looking at the list of attributes, please indicate how you feel about each.”
Those saying “Strongly/Somewhat like”
Base: All adults
  Total Party ID Party Philosophy Tea

Party

Rep. Dem. Ind. Cons. Mod. Lib. Support
% % % % % % % %
Mitt Romney as a person 40 58 30 44 49 37 32 57
Mitt Romney’s track record as a governor 36 49 29 41 39 36 31 47
Mitt Romney’s political opinions 33 57 18 39 48 31 14 56
Newt Gingrich’s political opinions 32 66 9 31 59 26 6 70
Newt Gingrich’s track record as Speaker of the House 30 62 10 27 54 24 9 64
Newt Gingrich as a person 28 56 9 26 51 23 7 58

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

 

TABLE 2
ATTITUDES TOWARDS NEWT GINGRICH
“Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements about Newt Gingrich.”
Base: All adults
  Total Agree (NET) Strongly agree Somewhat agree Total Disagree (NET) Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Not sure
% % % % % % %
He is a very intelligent person 53 21 32 20 10 10 26
He inspires confidence personally 28 8 20 44 15 29 28

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

 

TABLE 2A
ATTITUDES TOWARDS MITT ROMNEY
“Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements about Mitt Romney.”
Base: All adults
  Total Agree (NET) Strongly agree Somewhat agree Total Disagree (NET) Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Not sure
% % % % % % %
He is a very intelligent person 54 17 37 14 8 6 32
He inspires confidence personally 35 8 28 33 18 15 32

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

 

TABLE 3A
ATTITUDES TOWARDS NEWT GINGRICH – SUMMARY OF AGREE
“Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements about Mitt Romney.”
Those saying “Strongly/Somewhat agree”
Base: All adults
  Total Party ID Party Philosophy Tea Party
Rep. Dem Ind. Cons. Mod. Lib. Support
% % % % % % % %
He is a very intelligent person 53 70 43 56 67 51 41 78
He inspires confidence personally 28 54 13 26 48 22 15 58

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

 

 

TABLE 3B
ATTITUDES TOWARDS MITT ROMNEY – SUMMARY OF AGREE
“Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements about Mitt Romney.”
Those saying “Strongly/Somewhat agree”
Base: All adults
  Total Party ID Party Philosophy Tea Party
Rep. Dem. Ind. Cons. Mod. Lib. Support
% % % % % % % %
He is a very intelligent person 54 69 47 60 61 51 50 71
He inspires confidence personally 35 53 23 40 46 32 25 53

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

 

TABLE 4A
NEWT GINGRICH’S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
“Do you think Newt Gingrich…?”
Base: All adults
  Total Party ID Party Philosophy Swing States Tea

Party

Rep. Dem. Ind. Cons. Mod. Lib. 2012 2008 Support
% % % % % % % % % %
Is too liberal 4 5 4 4 8 3 2 4 4 7
Is neither too liberal nor too conservative 28 53 11 28 51 22 10 29 28 56
Is too conservative 27 7 47 26 3 30 55 26 26 6
Not sure 41 35 39 41 37 46 34 40 41 32

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

 

TABLE 4B
MITT ROMNEY’S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
“Do you think Mitt Romney…?”
Base: All adults
  Total Party ID Party Philosophy Swing States Tea

Party

Rep. Dem. Ind. Cons. Mod. Lib. 2012 2008 Support
% % % % % % % % % %
Is too liberal 8 15 3 8 19 3 * 8 7 18
Is neither too liberal nor too conservative 32 48 20 37 42 30 19 30 29 49
Is too conservative 16 3 32 12 1 14 45 18 19 3
Not sure 45 34 45 43 39 53 36 44 45 30

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

TABLE 5A
VOTING FOR NEWT GINGRICH
“If Newt Gingrich was the Republican nominee for President, which is closest to the way you think?”
Base: All adults
  Total Party ID Party Philosophy Swing States Tea

Party

Rep. Dem. Ind. Cons Mod. Lib. 2012 2008 Support
% % % % % % % % % %
Would vote for him (NET) 30 67 5 30 62 23 3 34 36 70
  I definitely would vote for him 14 38 2 9 38 6 2 16 19 38
  I probably would vote for him 16 29 3 21 24 17 1 17 17 32
Would not vote for him (NET) 46 14 76 45 17 51 75 43 41 15
  I probably would not vote for him 10 7 11 13 7 12 12 8 9 7
  I definitely would not vote for him 35 7 65 32 10 39 63 35 32 7
I wouldn’t vote at all 3 1 3 3 2 3 4 3 3 2
Not sure 21 18 16 22 19 23 18 20 20 13

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

 

 

TABLE 5B
VOTING FOR MITT ROMNEY
“If Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee for President, which is closest to the way you think?”
Base: All adults
  Total Party ID Party Philosophy Swing States Tea

Party

Rep Dem Ind Cons Mod Lib 2012 2008 Support
% % % % % % % % % %
Would vote for him (NET) 33 65 8 40 57 27 8 36 33 64
  I definitely would vote for him 16 35 2 17 33 10 2 18 18 36
  I probably would vote for him 17 30 6 22 24 17 6 18 15 28
Would not vote for him (NET) 38 12 67 34 15 39 71 36 36 15
  I probably would not vote for him 13 5 18 14 7 15 17 12 11 7
  I definitely would not vote for him 25 7 49 20 8 24 55 24 26 9
I wouldn’t vote at all 5 1 5 4 5 5 4 5 5 3
Not sure 25 22 20 22 23 29 17 24 26 18

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

 

Methodology

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

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

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

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

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

J40989 – Q905, 910, 915, 920

J40990 – Q933, 934, 936, 937

The Harris Poll® #133, December 21, 2011

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

About Harris Interactive

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

SOURCE Harris Interactive

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