Ipsos/ Reuters Poll: December 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Washington, D.C. - Ipsos' latest poll carried out on behalf of Thomson Reuters shows a rally for Newt Gingrich among Republicans… but this popularity doesn’t translate into political strength when it comes to the national Presidential race, where Romney fares much better against Obama than Gingrich does.

Key findings include:

  • Newt’s back! Since our last head-to-head matchup (October 2011) for the Republican primary, Newt Gingrich has rallied significant support and now leads at 28% among Republicans, 10 points ahead of Romney (18%)
    • Among both Republicans and Independents together (as you know, in some states Independents can vote in the Republican Primaries), Gingrich is slightly lower on 25%, with Romney still on 18%
    • In a one-on-one matchup between Gingrich and Romney, Gingrich leads by 13 points (52% vs. 39%); this lead narrows to 10 points when we factor in Independents as well
  • Despite his lead over Romney among Republicans, Gingrich suffers in comparison to Romney when it comes to the Presidential head-to-head comparisons: the question remains as to whether Gingrich is electable on a national level.
    • President Obama leads all Republicans in the head-to-head matchups, and these ratings have improved for the President since we last asked this question in late October
    • Romney remains the Republican best situated to challenge Obama, but now trails by 8 points among registered voters (48% Obama vs. 40% Romney). This is a big shift from Romney’s 1-point lead over Obama in late October.
    • Republican front-runner Newt Gingrich fares even worse in head-to-head competition with Obama, trailing the President by 13 points among registered voters (51% Obama vs. 38% Gingrich).
  • The poll also contained questions about deficit reduction and spending cuts vs. taxes. With declining attention paid to the Tea Party and debt debates and the subsequent rise of Occupy Wall Street and the inequality debates, it appears that the American public’s appetite for cutting government spending has waned since we last asked these questions in June 2011:
    • When asked if we should cut programs or raise taxes to reduce the federal deficit, 42% lean towards cuts. This is a 6-point drop in support for cuts since June (48%) and 10 points below the May 2011 number (52%).
    • Fewer than one in ten Americans say that we can afford to cut back on Medicare benefits (8%) or Social Security benefits (8%) to balance the budget. The areas (from a list provided) that Americans see as areas we ‘can afford to cut back on’ are defense spending (35%) and alternative energy development (30%)
  • Finally, there have been no real in the key monthly political metrics. None of the differences below are statistically significant:
    • 27% think things in this country are heading in the right direction, up from 25% last month
    • The President’s approval ratings are at 47%, down from 49% in November. His ‘disapproval’ ratings are also down two points, however, from 50% to 48%
    • Our Generic Congressional Ballot question has the Democrats on 48% and Republicans on 42%; again no change from last month

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted for Reuters from December 8th-12th, 2011. For the survey, a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of exactly 1,102 adults aged 18 and older across the United States was interviewed by Ipsos via live telephone interviewing on landlines and cell phones. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population in the U.S. been polled.

More data and full technical details are available in the topline document attached.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Clifford Young
Managing Director, Public Sector Practice
Ipsos Public Affairs

Julia Clark
Vice President, Public Sector Practice
Ipsos Public Affairs

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Ipsos/ Reuters Poll: December 2011

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Topline Results


Clifford Young
President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs
Julia Clark
Senior Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs