Gallup: Newt takes a nosedive among Republicans

According to Gallup’s latest positive-intensity survey among Republicans and independents, Newt Gingrich … doesn’t have much.  Calculated from the difference between strongly positive and strongly negative responses, Gingrich fell to his lowest level of the spring at 6 points, down from a peak of 19.  Gingrich now trails almost the entire GOP field in this measure:

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.

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.

The difference between Gingrich and the other two candidates mentioned is the name recognition factor.  Less than a third of respondents recognized former Utah governor and ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, while less than a fifth recognized former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson.  As they attempt to raise their national profiles, they have room to generate more passion and support.  Gingrich comes in second in terms of name recognition behind Sarah Palin and just ahead of Mitt Romney.

That may not be great news for the two leaders of the poll, though.  Despite having almost-saturated name recognition, they trail in positive intensity to less-known competitors, especially Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann, who lead in intensity.  Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum also do slightly better than Palin and Romney with half or more respondents not recognizing their names.  They have plenty of room to improve.  (Interestingly, Ron Paul also scores relatively low on positive intensity.)  Cain made the biggest jump in name recognition (16 points to 37%), followed by Tim Pawlenty, who added ten points to get to 50%.

In overall favorability measures, Gingrich again scores low, at least relative to other potential candidates.  His 61/32 would be good for a current officeholder, but the unfavorable number is the highest in the field, while the top number is second lowest.  The reaction to his remarks about Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan have deeply cut into Gingrich’s momentum, and at the moment, there is no reason to expect a dramatic rebound.