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Newt Gingrich's Image Slides Among Republicans

Newt Gingrich's Image Slides Among Republicans

PRINCETON, NJ -- Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's Positive Intensity Score dropped to 6 in the two weeks spanning May 16-29, down from 11 for May 9-22. Gingrich's current Positive Intensity Score is his lowest to date, off from a score as high as 19 earlier this year, and among the lowest for any Republican candidate Gallup is tracking.

Trend, March-May 2011: Newt Gingrich: Positive Intensity Score Among Republicans and Republican-Leaning Independents

Gingrich's current Positive Intensity Score is based on the difference between the 13% of Republicans giving him a strongly favorable rating and the 7% giving him a strongly unfavorable rating, among those who recognize him. His score this week is slightly above Gary Johnson's 4, which is the lowest for anyone tested, and slightly below Jon Huntsman's 8.

Potential GOP Candidate Images Among Republicans and Republican-Leaning Independents, May 16-29, 2011

Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann continue to earn the highest Positive Intensity Scores, at 25% and 21%, respectively. Below these two, several other candidates have Positive Intensity Scores in the 14 to 16 range, including two of the best-known candidates, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, and two who are less well-known -- Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum.

Gingrich's Overall Unfavorables Now Highest for Anyone Measured

Overall, 61% of Republicans who recognize Gingrich now view him favorably, while 32% view him unfavorably. This gives Gingrich the second-lowest favorable and the highest unfavorable rating of any candidate Gallup is tracking.

Trend, March-May 2011: Newt Gingrich: Total Favorable and Unfavorable Opinions Among Republicans and Republican-Leaning Independents

Name Recognition Gains Are Slow for Candidates and Potential Candidates

Several less-well-known Republicans have gained in name recognition over the past two months, but remain well below the leaders on this dimension. Cain, Pawlenty, and Huntsman -- the first two of whom are now officially announced candidates for the GOP nomination -- have made the largest gains. Bachmann, Johnson, and Ron Paul are the only other candidates to have gained name ID, even marginally.

March and May 2011: Name Recognition Among Republicans and Republican-Leaning Independents

Name recognition is less of a problem for Palin, Gingrich, and Romney. All three are known by more than 8 in 10 Republicans.

Overall, the group of announced and potential GOP candidates continues to break down into three groups: the very well-known -- Palin, Gingrich, Romney, and Paul; those with mid-level recognition -- Bachmann, Pawlenty, and Santorum; and the less well-known -- Cain, Huntsman, and Johnson.


Campaign activity is increasing among candidates and potential candidates in the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Palin is currently taking a highly visible bus tour across a number of Eastern states; Huntsman has been campaigning in New Hampshire; Romney is set to officially announce his candidacy this week in New Hampshire; and Pawlenty is campaigning and appearing on the weekend political talk shows.

At this point, a number of candidates face a key challenge: to become better known among Republicans. Two Republicans who have announced their candidacies -- Cain and Pawlenty -- have in fact made gains in name recognition, but still remain far behind better-known Republicans, such as Palin, Romney, and Gingrich. Huntsman, who has not announced but who has been actively seeking out potential primary voters in New Hampshire, has also gained in name recognition but is still largely unknown.

Gingrich's loss of positive positioning in Republicans' eyes is the main finding relating to the group of well-known candidates. His unfavorable ratings -- now the highest for any candidate Gallup is tracking -- have risen by 13 points since early April. His Positive Intensity Score has dropped to 6, among the lowest tested.

All in all, Cain and Bachmann are recipients of the most intensely positive attitudes among Republicans who recognize them. No well-known candidate yet matches the Positive Intensity Scores of these two, or the level of enthusiasm Mike Huckabee engendered before he announced that he would not seek the GOP nomination.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking May 16-29, 2011, with random samples of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Questions asking about the 10 potential candidates measured in this research were rotated among randomly selected samples of Republicans each night; over the 14-day period, each candidate was rated by a minimum of 1,500 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

For the overall ratings of each potential candidate among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, including recognition scores, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. For the Positive Intensity Score for each candidate, the maximum margin of sampling error varies depending on the size of the group recognizing the candidate.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit

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