Romney in GOP primary lead, with Christie out: Quinnipiac poll

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With New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie out of the Republican presidential race, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney jumps to a 22 percent lead, followed by business man Herman Cain with 17 percent and Texas Gov. Rick Perry with 14 percent – a 10-point drop in five weeks, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

This compares to an August 31 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, showing Perry at 24 percent, followed by Romney at 18 percent, with Cain in sixth place with 5 percent.

With Christie in the race, he and Romney are tied among Republicans and Republican leaners at 17 percent each, followed by 12 percent for Cain, 10 percent for Perry and no other candidate above 7 percent.

In possible 2012 general election matchups:

Romney has a slight 46 – 42 percent lead over Obama;

The president gets 45 percent to Perry’s 44 percent.

American voters say 54 – 42 percent that Obama does not deserve a second term, little changed from August 31, when voters said he did not deserve a second term 51 – 42 percent.

“After seeing his lead disappear with the entrance of Rick Perry into the trace, Mitt Romney has regained his position out front as the Texas governor’s fortunes have fallen. The GOP race, however, remains quite open, especially with Gov. Christopher Christie’s decision to remain on the sidelines,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“A big question now is whether Herman Cain is a serious candidate for the nomination. He has zoomed into second place ahead of Perry. Once the attention shifts from the still-born Christie candidacy, it is likely to focus on Cain, his background and proposals,” Brown added.

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Quinnipiac University Poll/October 5, 2011 – page 2

“That will determine whether his candidacy is the real deal or one that rises and falls once attention focuses on him, as happened to Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann,” Brown added.

“This survey shows Gov. Christie is walking away from the possibility – at least today – to be elected president of the United States. Whether he would have won the GOP nomination or the election will never be known, but the data indicate he had a serious chance to win it all.

“Gov. Rick Perry, whose numbers have dropped following three debate appearances and a disappointing finish in the Florida straw poll, has gone from front-runner to third place as Herman Cain roars past him – at least for the moment,” Brown said.

“With Christie out of the race, Romney has some breathing room. Let’s see if the emerging Herman Cain has staying power.”

In an Obama-Romney matchup, Democrats go to Obama 84 – 9 percent, while Romney wins Republicans 90 – 4 percent and takes independent voters 45 – 40 percent. Among women, Obama edges Romney 47 – 44 percent while men go Republican 47 – 38 percent. Romney leads among white voters 54 – 34 percent while Obama leads 86 – 6 percent among black voters and 51 – 39 percent among Hispanic voters.

Overall, the president’s popularity with voters is negative: 53 percent view him unfavorably and 42 percent view him favorably, compared to 39 – 28 percent favorable for Romney.

From September 27 – October 3, Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,118 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.1 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones. The Republican primary includes 927 voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percent.

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.

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