Yes, my weekly post is a few days early, but I thought I look at the political landscape just before it is about to change. There have not been too many polls over the past week and a half, but all the polls that have been released do suggest that Mr. Gingrich has either smashed 30% or come very close to it. Ras was particular good for Mr. Gingrich, even if this polis a few points away from reality, it suggests that the undecideds might be breaking more towards Mr. Gingrich. The few state polls that were released over the past few days also show a trend towards Mr. Gingrich. Nationally, Mr. Gingrich now sits at 31.2%. With the very brief possible exception of Mr. Perry, Mr. Gingrich is the first person to crack the 30% mark nationally in well over a year.
Mr. Romney has slipped about one and a half points nationally over the past few days to sit at Twenty one and a half per cent. Mr. Cain has slipped over 2% to fall slightly under the 15% mark. Dr. Paul has a decent week and he now sits at 8.3%. Polls over the past few days suggest that Mr. Perry has fallen to just over a point to sit at 6.5%. Mrs. Bachmann holds steady at Five and a half per cent. Mr. Huntsman and Mr. Santorum both had a decent few days and thus both sit at Three and a Third per cent.
Outside the Northeast, it appears that Michigan, Utah and Virginia are the only state where Mr. Romney leads, Mr. Gingrich leads elsewhere and this helps him add over 200 delegates in the past few days or so to sit at 1159. It has been over a year since anybody smashed the 1000 mark (although Mr. Perry came close.) Mr. Romney lost well over 100 delegates over the past few days to sit at 466. He was hurt particularly in the South and West in terms of delegates over the past few days. Mr. Cain lost almost 100 delegates in the past few days and now sits at 252 as he essentially exits the race. The South and Midwest help Mr. Perry keep close to the 100 mark at 94. Dr. Paul climbs a bit to 88. Mrs. Bachman has slipped a bit in the delegate count to 37. Nobody else has quite crossed the 25 delegate mark
So recent trends show that at this moment in time, Mr. Gingrich would easily win the nomination. Just over a month ago, he was in 5th place before he started his steady climbs into double digits and beyond. Most of his support of course came from Mr. Cain and the SBRers, Somebody Besides Mr. Romney. This seems ironic for two reasons. First, many people started to shy away from Mr. Cain in part because some characters came out of the woodwork and made some sexual allegation. With Mr. Gingrich, the sexual allegations are actually true, albeit he apologized. Prior to Mr. Gingrich, one could at least make a strong argument that the leading non-Romney candidate was at least as Conservative as Mr. Romney. Let’s just say it is much more difficult to make that argument. In fact, several months ago, most people were Gingrichite because Mr. Romney was not moderate enough for them. He was not Pro-TARP enough, he was not Pro-Queen Dede enough. Mr. Gingrich’ past sexual antics did not bother Gingrichite a bit and they of course were not impressed with the fact that Mr. Romney among others appeared to have a good family life.
As Mr. Gingrich pretends to be Conservative, does well in debates, runs a well disciplined campaign and is the only non-Romneyite standing, Conservatives of various stripes start to forgive Mr. Gingrich for his past shenanigans and become honorary Gingrichites. While it seems Mr. Gingrich has a plurality of Tea Partiers and SoCons behind him (even enough to give him the nomination,) the majority of Conservatives still support SOG (Somebody Other than Gingrich.) Conservatives are not the only ones flocking to Mr. Gingrich; the past few weeks have seem a plurality (not a majority) of moderates move to him. Since Moderates and Independent leaning Republican do not have high moral standards, they are not really bothered by his Sexual escapades.
4 years ago, Mr. Romney attracted White Anglo-Saxon Suburbanites, but Ethnic voters and Hispanics went to Mr. McCain. To Mr. Romney’s credit, he has worked at getting Hispanics and Ethnic voters on his side. To a degree his has been successful. However, allowing himself to be dragged into an immigration contest with Mr. Gingrich probably hurt him with Hispanics and did not help with Whites. Mr. Romney’s recent immigration talk was most likely a miscalculation. He probably thought it was a good way to pander to White Conservatives in the Heartland. However, these Whites are not as anti-immigrant Mr. Romney’s campaign thought. Most could not care less about immigration; they are interested in promoting capitalism, not getting mixed up with contest between Whites and Hispanics. We in the heartland probably eat as many burritos and tacos as the city slickers. We probably even know as much Spanish as they do as well. So it short, it does not appear that this anti-immigration pandering helped Mr. Romney. He’ll have to use other tactics to gain Conservative voters.
So the Romneyites have finally gotten what they wished for; a somewhat clean two way contest between their camp leader and Mr. Gingrich. However, they are surprised how things are turning out and I too am surprised that we have what we have. With Mr. Huckabee, Mr. Trump, Mrs. Palin, Mr. Pawlenty and others out of the way, Mr. Romney simply moves from the 15 to 20% range to the 20 to 25% range. He has not seen the 30% mark for a year and a half and it does not look like it will happen this calendar year. Many of us scratch our head and wonder how people can vote for a guy like Mr. Gingrich, but the alternative is to vote for one who has brought us mandates. So I imagine at least some people ask themselves, whether they should vote for somebody with personal problems or policy problems. Many Romneyites have argued, that mandates do not hurt their candidate because that old news and he dealt with the issue. Well the Gingrichites can simply say that same thing with regards to his past sexual antics. To a degree, it is understandable that some would chose Mr. Gingrich, they have had enough with all the antics of the Romney camp and they will support whoever it take to beat him. The revelation that Mr. Gingrich got money from Fannie Mae causes many of us to just say ‘hoe hum twiddle dum’ since Mr. Romney also has friends in the banking industry. Of course the fact that Mr. Gingrich has run a more disciplined campaign helps him. Mr. Romney cannot afford too many more interviews like he had earlier this week.
It is certainly possible for Mr. Romney to win; Mr. Gingrich also has a ceiling (though it may not have been reached yet.) While some Conservative have completely tuned out to Mr. Romney, he needs to explain that he is the most Conservative of the two major candidates in order to crack improve his standing. This is a delicate task because if he goes on the attack, it will look like more of the same. The big question now is what happens to Cain voters, no doubt candidates like Mr. Santorum and Dr. Paul will get a little bit of that support, but it is quite doubtful that it will be enough. One of my friends told me this morning that since Cain is out “I’d like to vote for somebody like Bachmann or Santorum, but Gingrich is the only Conservative with a chance.” The fact that Mr. Gingrich is able to make people think that he is at least a quasi-Conservative illustrates Mr. Romney’s challenge. It will take hard work to bring Cainites to the Romney camp. Mr. Gingrich for now has been able to lead the Somebody Besides Romney coalition. We shall if Mr. Romney can lead a Somebody Other than Gingrich coalition or if the anti-Gingrich forces remain divided.