Another good-news-for-Newt poll: Gingrich hits 50 percent in Florida

posted at 2:05 pm on December 1, 2011 by Tina Korbe

It’s apparently my turn to chronicle Newt Gingrich’s astronomical rise in the crucial swing state of Florida and his generally increasing popularity nationwide. Jazz took the first stab at the trend when he highlighted an Insider Advantage poll that showed Gingrich with a 24-point lead in the Sunshine State. AP then turned it inside out with expert analysis of a PPP poll that also suggested Gingrich has a handsome — even possibly unassailable — lead in the country’s panhandle. But as yet another poll shows Gingrich dominating that oh-so-important electorally-rich southern state, a third post seems justifiable.

This particular poll comes from American Research Group, Inc., and shows Gingrich with a whopping 50 percent of support among likely Republican voters in Florida. Mitt manages to capture 19 percent — but that’s still more than 30 points behind the former Speaker of the House. Compare that to just one month ago, when Gingrich registered just 11 percent support and Romney still mustered 28 percent. At that point, Cain led the state with 34 percent. What happened, really?

Yes, Cain faltered and, yes, when voters abandon the Cain Train, they are likely to contribute to Newtmentum. And, yes, Mitt Romney has a support ceiling that nothing he does ever raises — and a surprisingly persistent opposition floor that nothing he does ever lowers. But when I ask, “What happened?” I really mean, “What did Newt ever do to dominate so thoroughly?” Allah provided a convenient list of all that Newt has done that shouldn’t impress voters — and should even turn ‘em off. In this particular election cycle — when jobs and the economy are supposedly uppermost in everyone’s minds — his rise is particularly interesting, as he’s never exactly been known for his job creation prowess.

But he also has to have done something right. What was it? No question his rhetorical skills — however dependent on dramatic modifiers, as Mark Steyn has pointed out — have contributed mightily. The point has often been made that, in this particular primary race, debate skills have assumed undue importance for the simple reason that the candidates have participated in so very many debates.

He seems also to be helped by the fact that he’s both old and new. On the one hand, he’s familiar and his flaws have long since been dissected and dismissed. Cain is crumbling because of unsavory allegations against his person? Gingrich’s past mistakes have been in the open for ages — and forgiven.

On the other hand, even though he toyed with the idea in the past, he has never actually run for president before. Voters are put off by Romney’s aura of inevitability and perpetual campaign mode? Gingrich seems polished, but not overly obsessed with his candidacy — or, for that matter, the presidency.

And then there’s the matter of likability. In the first place, Gingrich — who entered the race with a reputation for a certain churlishness — has made an extra effort to run a cheerful campaign, carefully resisting the temptation to criticize his competitors but not making a self-righteous point of it (a la Jon Huntsman). In the second place, he has reached an age when crotchetiness has a kind of cachet. He can afford to attack the media because he has decades of experience with them; he’s tried to work with ‘em and now he’s entitled to be cranky. In the third place, again, he has humbled himself — and hardly anything is more likable than that. He’s a tragic hero who rose and fell and, in the course of falling, recognized his tragic flaw of secular self-reliance and worked to correct it.

But if he’s likable to Republicans, he’s also proved himself willing to fight scrappily against Barack Obama. Ed has made the case that that, more than anything else, might be what makes Gingrich’s boom a lasting one. (I think Bachmann is even scrappier, though, and definitely more conservative.)

Whatever the reason for it, the rise of Newt Gingrich — more so than the rise of any previous frontrunner — has fundamentally reshaped the primary season, forcing GOP voters to decide what heresies they’re willing to overlook for the sake of nominating the only candidate other than Romney who excels at debates.

Update: These polls might be good news for Newt, but are they good news for the GOP if we really want to beat Obama in Nov. 2012? Public Policy Polling says no. Obama leads Romney in Florida by just 45 to 44, but he leads Newt by 50 to 44.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely do you think it is that Newt would beat Obama in the general?


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Newt’s so hot right now that even the sun would need a pair a shades to be able to look at him directly.

RepubChica on December 1, 2011 at 4:24 PM

Prediction: Newt does not win Iowa

ConservativePartyNow on December 1, 2011 at 4:27 PM

If Newt can’t beat Obama, I highly doubt Mitt or anyone else can. If the electorate determined that Obama was somehow superior to Newt, but that Mitt was superior to Obama it would mean they still have no clue who Obama is or what’s at stake in this election and for this nation. If they are that deluded, then they are just as susceptible to MSM brainwashing as they have ever been.

Kataklysmic on December 1, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Oh BS. Only Newt has been fined $300,000 by his own Congress for ethical violations. You might think this doesn’t matter, but a lot of other people will once they learn about this.

haner on December 1, 2011 at 4:39 PM

On Intrade:

Mittens 47.4% (he was at 70% a week ago)
Newt at 18% (he was at 7% a week ago)

Looks like the money is still on Mittens for now.

Interestingly Obama has stayed right around 51% during Newt’s surge and Mitten’s swoon. This speaks to the Mittens/Newt electability argument. It’s moot. They’re equally crappy candidates that will assure an Obama re-election.

angryed on December 1, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Bleh. Newt is at 38% not 18%.

angryed on December 1, 2011 at 4:47 PM

On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely do you think it is that Newt would beat Obama in the general?

If 10 is extremely likely, I’d put Newt at 8 or higher.

LFRGary on December 1, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Newt to ABC: I will be the nominee.

stefanite on December 1, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Oh BS. Only Newt has been fined $300,000 by his own Congress for ethical violations. You might think this doesn’t matter, but a lot of other people will once they learn about this.

haner on December 1, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Yes, the 4 people who didn’t know that a long time ago now know since you have spammed every thread with it. Apparantly you have missed the myriad rebuttals that commenters including myself have provided. Even so, back to my original point: let’s say those ethics charges hadn’t been dismissed and found to be without merit, does an informed electorate consider them to be more or less egregious than Fast and Furious, Solyndra, Lightsquared, being an America hating Marxist Alinskyite, etc? If the electorate can be convinced that Newt is worse than Obama, they can be convinced that anyone we put up is worse than Obama.

Kataklysmic on December 1, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Newt to ABC: I will be the nominee.

stefanite on December 1, 2011 at 5:01 PM

What do you expect him to say, I will come in third?

idesign on December 1, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Mittens 47.4% (he was at 70% a week ago)
Newt at 18% (he was at 7% a week ago)

Looks like the money is still on Mittens for now.

Interestingly Obama has stayed right around 51% during Newt’s surge and Mitten’s swoon. This speaks to the Mittens/Newt electability argument. It’s moot. They’re equally crappy candidates that will assure an Obama re-election.

angryed on December 1, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Wow, looks like someone read your comment (or maybe just this post by Tina) and saw an opportunity. Or he’s just naturally improving. Either way, 20 minutes later and now he’s almost 10 pts away, 37-48.

I’ve got mixed feelings about whether I want him to beat Romney – they both have huge amounts of RINO baggage (and let’s face it, it really is down to them, and maybe Perry as a long shot if he get’s his act together).

But it’s still fun to watch his ascension.

Newt Rising.

RINO in Name Only on December 1, 2011 at 5:10 PM

If the economy improves Newt has a 40% chance vs. Obama- if it stays bad, 60%.
Newts rise is because Romney has not made the case against Obama while coming across as stiff and programmed- zero passion. The Fox interview also makes me think he may have a glass jaw.
Newts 11th commandment strategy plus his brilliant debate performances are the reasons he’s here.
Still a long way to go- but if Romney thinks sliming up Newt is going to win him support, good luck.

jjshaka on December 1, 2011 at 5:10 PM

I give Newt a week before everyone realizes this is in fact Newt Gingrich we’re talking about. Whatever the polls may say, there’s still the fact Gingrich has no ground game and limited, if any, money. Romney beats him over the head organization-wise, and the fact is that Romney and Gingrich both pull from the same sort of pool, leaving room for a third person to take advantage of the split.

BKennedy on December 1, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Gov. Romney went to visit W today, behind closed doors, according to the Fox crawl.

Cindy Munford on December 1, 2011 at 5:17 PM

RINO in Name Only on December 1, 2011 at 5:10 PM

I mis-typed 18 instead of 38.
But the number has been pretty wild all day between 31 and 40.

Mittens too ranging in the 40s and 50s.

Good money to be made trading both of them I think. Every new poll will swing them one way or another and I think you can hedge enough to make money either way.

angryed on December 1, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Gov. Romney went to visit W today, behind closed doors, according to the Fox crawl.

Cindy Munford on December 1, 2011 at 5:17 PM

I think you meant H W

angryed on December 1, 2011 at 5:23 PM

angryed on December 1, 2011 at 5:23 PM

I only know what was on the crawl and it said George W. Bush, wouldn’t be the first time they made an error if it was GHW Bush.

Cindy Munford on December 1, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Gingrich has no chance of beating Obama. The indies do not trust him and the TEA Party folks that are supporting have no moral center. They will bail on him just as they have every other candidate they have been 100% behind until they examine they record.

csdeven on December 1, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Gingrich has no chance of beating Obama. The indies do not trust him and the TEA Party folks that are supporting have no moral center. They will bail on him just as they have every other candidate they have been 100% behind until they examine they record.

csdeven on December 1, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Voters just aren’t going to take Romney to the prom.

sharrukin on December 1, 2011 at 5:32 PM

csdeven on December 1, 2011 at 5:30 PM

No moral center?
Idiot.

jjshaka on December 1, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Gingrich has no chance of beating Obama. The indies do not trust him and the TEA Party folks that are supporting have no moral center. They will bail on him just as they have every other candidate they have been 100% behind until they examine they record.

csdeven on December 1, 2011 at 5:30 PM

In this latest Rasumssen poll, Newt beats Obama among Independants 50-32

Kataklysmic on December 1, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Wow, I can never imagine suggesting who has or hasn’t a moral center. Presumptuous much? Regardless, people who may or may not fall short of a specific moral compass still get to vote.

Cindy Munford on December 1, 2011 at 5:39 PM

The indies do not trust him

Evidence?

and the TEA Party folks that are supporting have no moral center.

Moral center? WTF are you talking about?

They will bail on him just as they have every other candidate they have been 100% behind until they examine they record.

csdeven on December 1, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Again, what evidence do you have that any significant portion of those “preferring” one of the fallen leaders was “100% behind” that person?

I for one have “preferred” Palin, Romney, Perry, Cain, and Newt at various times, but have never wholeheartedly supported any of them. There’s a reason we make them go through this vetting process. None of them is perfect, all have strengths.

peski on December 1, 2011 at 5:48 PM

csdeven on December 1, 2011 at 5:30 PM

In this latest Rasumssen poll, Newt beats Obama among Independants 50-32

Kataklysmic on December 1, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Yeah, that’s what I thought I’d seen. csdevin is smoking something.

peski on December 1, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Voters just aren’t going to take Romney to the prom.

sharrukin on December 1, 2011 at 5:32 PM

He already has strong support from the indies and rational GOPers will vote for him.

YOU are not part of a rational voting block. You are a subset of a small portion of the tiniest iota of the slimmest minority of the electorate. Your non participation will be statistically insignificant.

csdeven on December 1, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Gingrich has no chance of beating Obama. The indies do not trust him and the TEA Party folks that are supporting have no moral center. They will bail on him just as they have every other candidate they have been 100% behind until they examine they record.

csdeven on December 1, 2011 at 5:30 PM

I’m sure this has already been proposed many times before, but I can’t help asking: Are you Mitt Romney? I’ve been wondering about this for the better part of 4 years.

RINO in Name Only on December 1, 2011 at 5:52 PM

He already has strong support from the indies and rational GOPers will vote for him.

Again, evidence? Repetition does not qualify.

YOU are not part of a rational voting block. You are a subset of a small portion of the tiniest iota of the slimmest minority of the electorate. Your non participation will be statistically insignificant.

csdeven on December 1, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Retreating to insults doesn’t work either.

peski on December 1, 2011 at 6:00 PM

That last sentence is dead-on, Tina. We don’t want Romney, we do want someone people who seems smart and capable, and we will overlook a lot in order to get it.

alwaysfiredup on December 1, 2011 at 6:00 PM

We don’t want Romney, we do want someone people who seems smart and capable, and we will overlook a lot in order to get it.

alwaysfiredup on December 1, 2011 at 6:00 PM

I mostly agree, except that I don’t think we “don’t want Romney”, but that we don’t want to SETTLE for Romney unless there’s no other choice.

peski on December 1, 2011 at 6:01 PM

I think courting the Independent vote in the Republican primary is a brilliant strategy? ///

Cindy Munford on December 1, 2011 at 6:03 PM

*someone people

No idea where that came from…

alwaysfiredup on December 1, 2011 at 6:04 PM

Newt may be a nut….But he is our nut!
A.B.O!

Herb on December 1, 2011 at 6:06 PM

I just remembered why I dislike Romney so much.

mike_NC9 on December 1, 2011 at 6:18 PM

peski on December 1, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Polling. Romney leads among indies and the GOP is more interested in beating Obama than nominating an ideologically pure candidate.

csdeven on December 1, 2011 at 6:18 PM

I think courting the Independent vote in the Republican primary is a brilliant strategy? ///

Cindy Munford on December 1, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Of course you do. That is why you are always correct. ///

csdeven on December 1, 2011 at 6:19 PM

I have never suggested I am always correct nor pretend to know about the morality of strangers.

Cindy Munford on December 1, 2011 at 6:24 PM

The bad news:

Florida shows perils of Gingrich for GOP
– Public Policy Polling

: says Romney polls higher among “Blacks, Hispanics, Independents” againt OBama than does Gingrich, says in key swing states, a Gingrich nomination and run against Obama would encourage or result in an Obama re-election, while a Romney nomination and run against Obama would mean a Romney win.

I don’t know, just posting that link. Worth considering.

Lourdes on December 1, 2011 at 6:24 PM

On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely do you think it is that Newt would beat Obama in the general?

What exactly does Obama have to do to this country to shake this inevitability theme?

Cindy Munford on December 1, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Just wait until we get a candidate and watch the Republicans and non-Republican conservatives and half the independents fall behind him despite all the primary period perjoratives. You cannot judge general election viability against Obama via polls where partisans in the primary do not want to admit they will support in the general the guy they do not support in the primary. Once we get through the healing of a successful convention, watch Obama fall to just a little above his performance approval numbers at that moment in time against the GOP nominee.

Obama in the end will beat himself if he does not change because his approval level is about 43%. The truth is Gingrich and Romney can both win because Obama is beating himself.

KW64 on December 1, 2011 at 9:16 PM

What exactly does Obama have to do to this country to shake this inevitability theme?

Obama could be putting live babies in a blender on TV and 40% of the electorate would find a way to rationalize continued support for him. This is because that portion of the electorate is now a client of the big government welfare state. Union members, college professors, government workers, welfare queens, people living on trumped up “disability” claims to Social Security, and the 40+% of Americans who pay $0 (or less!) in Federal income tax.

As long as they think Obama’s going to give them something there’s nothing he can do to lose their support. We just have to energize our base and work on that small group of idiots in the middle.

Woody on December 1, 2011 at 9:18 PM

Newt is a plague.

Igor R. on December 1, 2011 at 11:40 PM

Obama could be putting live babies in a blender on TV and 40% of the electorate would find a way to rationalize continued support for him.Woody on December 1, 2011 at 9:18 PM

Well he did refuse to do anything about doctors putting live aborted babies in cold dark closets to die alone in Illinois and that did nothing to dampen his popularity or media adulation.

Nevertheless, the day after the Republican convention he will be behind in the polls I predict. He may feel forced to debate the GOP candidate, but I will bet he would only debate Newt if he needed a Hail Mary.

KW64 on December 1, 2011 at 11:58 PM

Is accepting M. Romney a good thing? He’s an ideal target for Obama trash campaigning. Remember the “M” stands for Mandate as well as Mitt. (For that matter Gingrich is also an ideal flip-flop and mudslinging target. Romney is merely wide open extremes of flip-flop and electoral expediency.)

Cain might indeed be a better choice even if he looks like toast now. If all his skeletons have been disturbed by now he’s looking quite good, especially with his level of corporate background and charisma. He’d probably make a better than average POTUS and might actually follow through on reducing government size. I don’t think either the R-word or the G-word will.

{^_^}

herself on December 2, 2011 at 3:46 AM

: says Romney polls higher among “Blacks, Hispanics, Independents” againt OBama than does Gingrich, says in key swing states, a Gingrich nomination and run against Obama would encourage or result in an Obama re-election, while a Romney nomination and run against Obama would mean a Romney win.

I don’t know, just posting that link. Worth considering.

Lourdes on December 1, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Also Romney pulls in Michigan.

haner on December 2, 2011 at 3:58 AM

Mitt couldn’t beat McLame so how’s he gonna beat Zero? At least Newt knows where the plug is in the swamp.

Kissmygrits on December 2, 2011 at 8:46 AM

Only Newt has been fined $300,000 by his own Congress for ethical violations. You might think this doesn’t matter, but a lot of other people will once they learn about this.

haner on December 1, 2011 at 4:39 PM

You’re not really serious, are you? Or are you working for one of the non-Gingrich campaigns?

Gingrich was fined for the crime of teaching a college course on American political history and not reporting the income as a campaign contribution. That’s actually what he did for a living before politics: he taught history at the college level. The IRS investigated the matter and decided that there was no violation of any kind. It wasn’t even close.

Some people may care when they learn for the first time that Gingrich was fined, but if they still care after they learn what it was for, they deserve to have the right to vote taken away from them.

As for you, now that you know how ridiculous that fine was, you’re never going to mention it again. Right?

philwynk on December 2, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Bob Dole, Part Deux

patch on December 2, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Comment pages: 1 2