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Gingrich Leads Santorum: Is It Enough?

1Historygenius
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1/17/2012 9:50:29 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Last week, we discussed a scenario in which Newt Gingrich could win South Carolina. For Gingrich to prevail, he needs to have polls showing him develop a substantial lead over Rick Santorum, so that the strategically-minded Anti-Romney vote coalesces behind Gingrich. Along with strong debate performances, a dramatic coalescing of the Anti-Romney vote could put Gingrich over the top. Let's look at the most recent South Carolina polls and see if that scenario is developing:

South Carolina Primary
01/15 Monmouth -- Romney 33, Gingrich 22, Santorum 14, Paul 12
01/15 WeAskAmerica -- Romney 31, Gingrich 18, Paul 12, Santorum 9
01/15 Insider Adv-- Romney 32, Gingrich 21, Paul 14, Santorum 13
01/13 Reuters -- Romney 37, Santorum 16, Paul 16, Gingrich 12
01/13 PPP (D) -- Romney 29, Gingrich 24, Paul 15, Santorum 14
01/12 ARG -- Romney 29, Gingrich 25, Paul 20, Perry 9
01/12 Rasmussen -- Romney 28, Gingrich 21, Santorum 16, Paul 16

Each poll shows Gingrich well behind Mitt Romney. However, Gingrich has a significant lead over Santorum in all but one of the polls (the Reuters poll on January 13th is the sole outlier). Notice also that Rick Perry fails to make the top four in all but one of the polls. If the Anti-Romney voters wish to be strategic, and if Gingrich motivates them enough in the week's two debates, they could rally behind Gingrich.

There are two holes in the scenario right now. First, there has been little or no media attention to the growing gap between Gingrich and Santorum. Recall that in the days before the Iowa Caucus, a lot of media attention was devoted to Santorum's sudden rise in the polls, as the media anticipated Santorum's long-awaited surge. Instead, the media have focused on the fact that Romney enjoys a lead over everyone else. There is still some time: If polls released in the next few days show Santorum dying off, the media will report it and lead to an even greater decline in Santorum's numbers.

The second hole is that Romney is doing quite well. He is not merely edging out Gingrich; he is leading by a significant margin. In some polls, Romney is dangerously close to being ahead by so much that even a significant defection of Santorum votes to Gingrich wouldn't be enough. A significant defection of Perry votes would help close the gap.

Now let's look at the Florida polls:

Florida Primary
01/16 PPP (D) -- Romney 41, Gingrich 26, Santorum 11, Paul 10
01/15 ARG -- Romney 42, Gingrich 25, Santorum 9, Paul 8
01/14 Sunshine/VSS -- Romney 46, Gingrich 20, Santorum 12, Paul 9
01/11 Rasmussen -- Romney 41, Gingrich 19, Santorum 15, Paul 9

Romney has a big lead, but Gingrich has an even bigger lead over Santorum here. Should Gingrich win South Carolina, or take second place there with a big lead over Santorum, he can become the chief Anti-Romney.

Most commentators say that if Romney wins South Carolina, it's all over. But if the Anti-Romney vote remains split in South Carolina, the final test will actually take place in Florida. Unless Gingrich and Santorum are close in South Carolina, Gingrich should be able to get the Anti-Romney vote behind him by Florida. That would be the first time Romney is forced to compete against one rival. If the Anti-Romney vote is united and Romney still wins, it's over, because what more can they do? In Florida, Romney is even closer to the point at which combining the Anti-Romney vote behind one opponent would still result in a Romney victory. Romney's margin would be reduced by a Gingrich win in South Carolina, so it could get interesting.

From Elephant Watcher
"The chief business of the American people is business." - Calvin Coolidge

Latest debate - Reagan was a better President than Obama: http://www.debate.org...
mongoose
Posts: 3,500
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1/17/2012 10:09:16 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Do you do anything beyond post things from Elephant Watcher, or do they think for you?
It is odd when one's capacity for compassion is measured not in what he is willing to do by his own time, effort, and property, but what he will force others to do with their own property instead.
1Historygenius
Posts: 1,639
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1/17/2012 11:13:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/17/2012 10:09:16 PM, mongoose wrote:
Do you do anything beyond post things from Elephant Watcher, or do they think for you?

Sometimes, but I find them informal.
"The chief business of the American people is business." - Calvin Coolidge

Latest debate - Reagan was a better President than Obama: http://www.debate.org...