Mitt Romney performs better in electoral scenarios against incumbent U.S. President Barack Obama than the other four men still in the race to become the Republican Party’s nominee in 2012, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,009 American adults, 49 per cent of decided voters would support Romney in a presidential election against Obama (47%).

President Obama holds a ten-point lead in a contest against Ron Paul (50% to 40%), and an 11-point advantage if the Republican Party nominates Rick Santorum (51% to 40%). The incumbent Democrat is clearly ahead of the two remaining contenders on the GOP side: Newt Gingrich (55% to 38%) and Rick Perry (57% to 34%).


Romney is particularly popular among men (53%) and respondents over the age of 55 (56%). However, Obama is still supported by half of women (51%) and respondents aged 18-to-34 (51%). Middle-aged Americans are evenly divided when assessing this match-up.

It is important to note that the proportion of respondents who would back a third party candidate if Romney is the Republican nominee is considerably lower (4%) than with Paul (10%), Perry (9%) or Santorum (also 9%).

Paul’s support is consistent across all demographics, with roughly two-in-four decided voters saying they would cast a ballot for him in a contest against Obama. Santorum actually leads Obama in a specific demographic, with a three-point edge among respondents over the age of 55 (48% to 45%).

Gingrich and Perry have serious trouble courting female voters and people aged 18-to-34, two demographics where Obama currently garners the backing of at least three-in-five decided voters.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)


Mario Canseco, Vice President, Angus Reid Public Opinion
+877 730 3570

Methodology: From January 17 to January 18, 2012, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,009 randomly selected American adults who are Springboard America panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of the United States. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.