Newt Gingrich is surging in several statewide poll, and that’s bad news for Mitt Romney, and for the Republican Party …
It’s still hard for me to imagine that Republicans would nominate the incredibly flawed former House speaker, who was filleted by his former colleagues on a conference call this morning. But polls show that unless and until he impales himself on his own ego and indiscipline (something I personally see as inevitable) Gingrich may have surged just late enough in the game to win some early primaries, or the Iowa caucuses at least. New polls show him ahead in key states:
Public Policy Polling has him up in North Carolina and Colorado:
In North Carolina Gingrich is at 51% to 14% for Romney, 8% for Michele Bachmann, 7% for Ron Paul, 4% for Rick Perry, 3% for Rick Santorum, 1% for Jon Huntsman, and 0% for Gary Johnson.
In Colorado Gingrich is at 37% to 18% for Romney, 9% for Bachmann, 6% for Paul, 4% for Perry and Santorum, 3% for Huntsman, and 1% for Johnson.
Quinnipiac has Gingrich ahead in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, though Romney remains the stronger candidate against President Obama:
FLORIDA: Romney 45 – Obama 42; Obama 46 – Gingrich 44
OHIO: Romney 43 – Obama 42; Gingrich 43 – Obama 42
PENNSYLVANIA: Obama 46 – Romney 43; Obama 48 – Gingrich 40
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich holds double-digit leads over the Republican primary field and cuts sharply into President Barack Obama’s general election lead should he win the GOP nomination, according to today’s Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
In head-to-head matchups, Republican voters choose Gingrich over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by margins of 18-27 percentage points.
Though Quinnipiac is saying Newt is closing the gap against the president.
Gingrich also leads in South Carolina, but polling there finds this:
Newt Gingrich’s baggage doesn’t seem to be hurting him with likely voters in South Carolina’s Republican Party primary.
The Winthrop University poll, released Tuesday, shows the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives has zoomed to the top of the GOP field here among likely Republican primary voters. But the poll sent another message to Gingrich and his fellow Republican competitors: don’t pick out your Oval Office desk just yet.
About 59 percent of all those polled – Republicans, Democrats and independents – said they think it is somewhat or very likely that President Obama will be re-elected.
More than 85 percent of Democrats said they think the president is somewhat or very likely to win another term. No surprise there – they’re Democrats, and so is the president. But almost 32 percent of Republicans agreed Obama is somewhat or very likely to be re-elected.
Scott Huffmon, a political science professor at Winthrop and the director of its poll, said those Republicans think Obama is likely to win re-election if their preferred GOP candidate is not the nominee. “It’s ‘My guy has to get it, and everybody else could lose to Obama,’ ” Huffmon said.
And back to Florida for a moment, the toplines from the PPP poll there should be a cautionary tale for the GOP (though for tea partiers, I don’t think there are cautionary tales…)
…If Mitt Romney’s the Republican nominee, Obama’s in a lot of trouble in the Sunshine State. Obama leads Romney only 45-44, and given that the undecideds skew largely Republican he’d probably lose to Romney if the election was today. Obama being stuck in the mid-4os against Romney is par for the course in our Florida polling. In September Obama led 46-45, in June it was 47-43, and in March it was 46-44. The dial has barely moved all year.
But if Newt Gingrich is the Republican nominee it’s a completely different story. Obama leads him 50-44 in a head to head. To find the last time a GOP Presidential candidate lost Florida by more than that you have to go all the way back to Thomas Dewey in 1948. Even Barry Goldwater did better in Florida than Gingrich is right now.
The conservative Republican base is certainly a lot more enthusiastic about Gingrich than they are about Romney right now. But when it comes to appeal to Democrats and independents, Newt just simply doesn’t have it. Romney beats Obama by 7 points with independents. Gingrich trails Obama by 1 with them. Romney holds Obama to 78% of the Democratic vote. Obama gets 83% of his own party against Gingrich. And even among Republicans Gingrich loses 14% to Obama, while Romney sheds only 9%. Conservative Republicans are going to vote for Mitt in the end in the general whether they like him or not. It doesn’t looks like that’s necessarily the case for moderate Republicans when it comes to Newt…
Bottom line for Republicans: they are essentially facing the Howard Dean-John Kerry situation Democrats faced in 2004. They can nominate Newt and have a more enthusiastic base (at least until the base becomes fully aware of Newt’s past, flip-flops and foibles…) or they can nominate Romney and have a shot, but also a base that’s less motivated by the top of the ticket.