Newt Gingrich cracked the double digits for the first time in today’s ABC/Washington Post poll, attracting 12 percent support from those polled.
Gingrich’s spokesman told ABC the campaign is pleased:
“Any progress is good progress,” spokesman R.C. Hammond said. “What we’re looking to do is continually march toward the caucus and put forth ideas and solutions.” …
“We’re seeing steady growth and that’s important,” Hammond said. “We’ve got a growing base and we’re seeing three out of every four donors coming in is a new person.” …
“Our goal is to make sure that the time for voters to latch onto Newt as their candidate will be when it’s time to vote and caucus,” Hammond said. “As long as we’re seeing steady progress, that means we’re on track, we’re not looking to have everyone on board by a certain date.”
It’s not hard to believe voters have begun to reconsider Gingrich. His scandal-plagued personal life is very much a part of his past, not present, and his statesmanlike presentation and long-established opinions cast a reassuring aura of consistency over his candidacy.
In the same poll, 45 percent of voters said they’re still apt to change their minds about a candidate — and 25 percent picked Gingrich as the winner of the Republican debates so far. Those are both positive signs for Gingrich, who, except for the early implosion of his campaign staff, as his advisers rushed away to persuade Rick Perry to run, hasn’t drawn much negative attention to himself throughout the primary season — and has even gradually begun to attract positive speculation.
But, on the subject of negative attention: Despite all he’s received this week, Herman Cain’s share of support in the ABC/WaPo poll still grew, from 16 percent to 23 percent. Whether that’s because GOP voters actually think he’d make a professional president or just want to show support in the face of a poorly reported (and subsequently poorly handled) scandal remains to be seen.
In the meantime, voters will see who handles in-depth policy questions better when Gingrich and Cain go head to head tomorrow in Houston.