More Newtmentum news: Florida edition

Another day, another state. While the media continues to line up a variety of non-silver bullets to fire at Newt Gingrich from stories both old and new, the pollsters take to the field and keep bringing back encouraging signs for the former Speaker. This time it comes from the always critical Sunshine State, which Obama managed to carry in 2008. How’s Newt doing? Pretty well, as it turns out.

Newt Gingrich is the current favorite in Florida’s Jan. 31 Republican presidential primary, picking up supporters who fled Herman Cain to claim 41 percent in a poll conducted Tuesday night for the Florida Times-Union.

Gingrich has as much support as the next four candidates combined in the telephone survey of 513 registered voters who say they’re likely to cast ballots in the primary. The poll, conducted by InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research, has a margin of error of 4 percent…

“I am totally shocked by these numbers,” said pollster Matt Towery, CEO of InsiderAdvantage. “Newt Gingrich is winning nearly 50 percent of the independent vote, but more importantly, the Republican vote which makes up the vast majority of the Florida Republican primary.”

The rest of the numbers all look pretty bleak. Mitt manages to snag 17% and Herman Cain – who was absolutely dominating Florida last month – has plummeted to 13. Nobody else rose much above the noise level.

The analysis in the Florida Times-Union may prove even more entertaining than the actual poll numbers though. One particularly insightful comment comes in their explanation of how Gingrich has supplanted Herman Cain. They start out by noting the series of sexual harassment and infidelity allegations as the driving factor for Cain’s fall, but then add this caveat. (emphasis added)

While Gingrich has been criticized for having affairs, too, none have surfaced recently. Some pundits have noted that the number and freshness of the accusations are what’s damaging Cain’s chances, especially when coupled with videos of gaffs he made when fielding foreign-policy questions.

I see. So basically that sort of allegation is OK, providing it’s not too recent and you don’t have too many of them. It’s turning out to be a strange season indeed, sports fans.