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CNN/ORC Survey Shows Limited Santorum Gains in N.H. CNN/ORC Survey Shows Limited Santorum Gains in N.H.

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / CAMPAIGN 2012

CNN/ORC Survey Shows Limited Santorum Gains in N.H.

photo of Steven Shepard
January 4, 2012

As the Republican presidential campaign shifts to New Hampshire this week, Rick Santorum will be looking to capitalize on his second-place finish in Iowa and challenge Mitt Romney, but a CNN/ORC International poll conducted on Tuesday night shows Santorum has little time to make up a large deficit.

ORC International conducted an interesting experiment: It interviewed likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters over the final two weeks of December about their presidential preference, then called back on Tuesday night between 9:23 p.m. and 10:02 p.m., asking respondents if they were following news coverage of the Iowa caucuses. It then asked those who were following news coverage for their candidate preference once again.

While there is some evidence that Santorum--the former senator from Pennsylvania--is swaying voters after his Iowa showing, Romney retains a stranglehold among those primary voters who were following the Hawkeye State results, with equal, 47 percent pluralities supporting the former Massachusetts governor in the initial survey and the panel-back survey.

 

The next two candidates remained the same as well: Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, scored 17 percent in both polls, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman was at 13 percent in the two surveys.

Santorum did rise between the two polls, jumping from 5 percent in late December to 10 percent on Tuesday night. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sank from 12 percent in December to 9 percent on Tuesday.

At the time the poll was conducted, television networks were describing the Iowa race as a three-way contest for first place between Romney, Santorum, and Paul, based on election results and entrance polls.

It is important to remember that the CNN/ORC International poll reflects only those likely New Hampshire primary voters who were following the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday night. CNN notes that those paying attention to news coverage on Tuesday night were much older than the larger pool of likely primary voters: 79 percent of those who said they were following the Iowa results were over 50 years old. They were also more likely to describe themselves as tea party supporters.

The poll surveyed 554 likely New Hampshire primary voters after the Iowa returns and carries a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points.

More polling is expected later this week in the Granite State ahead of the Jan. 10 primary, including a daily tracking poll from Boston-based Suffolk University, and surveys from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center and NBC News/Marist. Those polls--if conducted after Tuesday night's contest in Iowa--should shed more light on the magnitude of Santorum's bounce heading into the first-in-the-nation primary.

In the most recent Suffolk University tracking poll, conducted on Sunday and Monday, Santorum was at just 5 percent, an insignificant improvement from the first two-day rolling sample, conducted Dec. 30-31, which showed him at only 3 percent.

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