Romney's Tea Party Recovery
Mitt Romney has pulled into a tie with Newt Gingrich in the latest CNN/ORC national poll on the strength of gains with both wings of the Republican Party. Both men polled at 28 percent support overall in the survey.
When Gingrich rocketed to the top of the GOP primary polls last month, he did so mostly with tea party support but also with a healthy percentage of non-tea party Republicans, who had previously provided Romney's core constituency. In the new poll, Gingrich has slightly passed Romney among republicans who don't identify with the tea party - 28 percent to 24 percent. Last month's CNN poll had Romney up by two points among non-tea party supporters - but also with only 19 percent of them. As recently as mid-October Romney had attracted 35 percent with that group in CNN polling; he hasn't trailed with that group since late August and early September, when Rick Perry briefly consolidated both wings of the GOP before fading.
Now it is Romney's turn to eat into Gingrich's core supporters: Romney won the support of 28 percent of tea partiers in the new poll, his best showing among the most ideological Republicans in any CNN poll this year. Gingrich still leads among the group, 32 to 28, but that represents a much smaller lead among the tea party than last time around. In November, Gingrich led Romney 31 percent to 19 percent with those voters. Romney's previous high with tea party Republicans in a CNN poll this year was 27 percent in June.
Overall, Gingrich is the first GOP contender since Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in that late summer stretch, to lead among both tea party and non-tea party supporters in a CNN survey. But that could be a lagging indicator: more recent Iowa polls have found Gingrich plummeting under a sustained advertising assault.