January 9, 2012 - Romney Has Big GOP Likely Voter Lead In Florida, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Most Voters Say They Might Change Their Mind

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With 36 percent of Florida Republican likely primary voters, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has a double-digit lead three weeks before the nation's first big-state presidential primary, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. But 54 percent of GOP primary voters say they still might change their mind.

Twelve points back in the Republican pack is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 24 percent, followed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum with 16 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds. Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul is at 10 percent with 5 percent for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and 2 percent for former ambassador Jon Huntsman. This first look at likely primary voters, a more select group, can't be compared with earlier surveys of registered voters.

There is almost no gender gap in the primary selections.

"Gov. Mitt Romney has a double-digit lead in Florida among likely primary voters. But the primary is three weeks away and the results from New Hampshire and South Carolina could shake things up in the Sunshine State," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "With more than half of voters saying they might change their minds and more than 50 percent of them backing candidates perceived as more conservative, Romney could be vulnerable if those voters settle on one candidate."

Romney is the best-liked candidate among Florida likely GOP primary voters, with a 73 - 14 percent favorability rating. Santorum gets a 59 - 8 percent favorability, while 33 percent of likely voters don't know enough about him to form an opinion. Gingrich gets a 59 - 29 percent favorability, while Paul has a negative 34 - 47 percent favorability.

Among Florida self-professed Tea Party members, Romney and Gingrich are tied with 32 percent each, followed by Santorum with 19 percent, Paul with 7 percent and Perry with 4 percent.

Tea Party members give Gingrich a 76 - 18 percent favorability, with 72 - 7 percent for Santorum and 72 - 19 percent for Romney.

The race is closer among white evangelical Christians: Romney gets 28 percent to Gingrich's 26 percent, with 20 percent for Santorum.

From January 4 - 8, Quinnipiac University surveyed 560 Republican likely primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.


1. (If Registered Republican) If the Republican primary for President were being held today, and the candidates were: Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Jon Huntsman, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Perry, Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, Paul, or Huntsman? (Table includes Leaners and early voters)
                     LIKELY REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS...........................
                                                       WhtBrnAgnEvngl TEA PARTY
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Con    Mod    Yes    No     Yes    No
 
Perry                 5%     5%     5%     7%     1%     6%     3%     4%     6%
Gingrich             24     26     21     28     15     26     23     32     20
Romney               36     36     37     35     41     28     42     32     38
Santorum             16     17     15     17     12     20     13     19     14
Paul                 10     11     10      7     15      9      9      7     12
Huntsman              2      2      2      -      7      1      3      -      3
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
DK/NA                 7      3     10      6      8     10      6      7      6
 
 
1a. (Candidate choice given q1) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS
                            CANDIDATE CHOICE Q1
                     Tot    NG     MR     RS
 
Mind made up         44%    46%    44%    41%
Might change         54     53     56     57
DK/NA                 1      2      1      2
 
 
5. Is your opinion of - Rick Santorum favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS...........................
                                                       WhtBrnAgnEvngl TEA PARTY
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Con    Mod    Yes    No     Yes    No
 
Favorable            59%    65%    52%    67%    45%    68%    56%    72%    54%
Unfavorable           8      8      9      6     14      5      9      7      9
Hvn't hrd enough     33     27     39     26     40     27     34     20     37
REFUSED               -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
 
 
6. Is your opinion of - Ron Paul favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS...........................
                                                       WhtBrnAgnEvngl TEA PARTY
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Con    Mod    Yes    No     Yes    No
 
Favorable            34%    33%    34%    29%    41%    28%    34%    29%    36%
Unfavorable          47     50     43     52     37     51     49     56     43
Hvn't hrd enough     19     16     21     17     21     19     16     15     19
REFUSED               1      1      2      1      2      1      1      -      1
 
 
7. Is your opinion of - Newt Gingrich favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                    LIKELY REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS............................
                                                       WhtBrnAgnEvngl TEA PARTY
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Con    Mod    Yes    No     Yes    No
 
Favorable            59%    66%    52%    68%    44%    67%    59%    76%    53%
Unfavorable          29     25     34     25     42     25     33     18     35
Hvn't hrd enough      9      8     10      5     11      8      5      5     10
REFUSED               2      1      4      2      4      1      2      1      3
 
 
8. Is your opinion of - Mitt Romney favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS...........................
                                                       WhtBrnAgnEvngl TEA PARTY
                     Tot    Men    Wom    Con    Mod    Yes    No     Yes    No
 
Favorable            73%    74%    73%    77%    67%    72%    74%    72%    74%
Unfavorable          14     15     14     13     14     19     13     19     12
Hvn't hrd enough     10     11      9      9     14      7     11      8     10
REFUSED               3      1      4      2      5      2      2      1      3