Thursday, December 1, 2011

Memo to Mitt ... You're Losing

Each time someone (Trump, Bachmann, Perry, Cain, etc.) has risen to challenge Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination, they have fallen apart as fast as they rose. So Mitt might think this is what is going to happen with Newt.

I don't think so. If I had to bet who is going to win the nomination, I'd bet on Newt right now, not Mitt. Several reasons why:

1) Newt is ahead of Mitt in several national polls by statistically significant margins. I do not recall seeing that from any of the others. Perry was the closest to achieving this but he was such an awful candidate, he couldn't possibly remain up there.

2) The polling numbers out of some of the early states are particularly alarming for Mitt Romney. Gingrich has a solid lead in Iowa and in South Carolina. He has a massive lead in Florida. But Mitt does not even have a solid firewall in New Hampshire if the latest numbers are to be believed. If Mitt loses Iowa and New Hampshire to Newt, the game is over. And Newt is already close enough in New Hampshire that an Iowa win could push him over the top.

3) Much has been made of Newt's lack of a ground game. I think the ground game is important in Iowa but not as important as it used to be. In addition, Newt does still have time to build his ground game up a little. Right now, Iowa is probably Newt's to lose.

What's striking about Newt's rise in the polls is that national media, etc. are sticking with the view that Mitt is still the front-runner. But, we've always known that if the anti-Mitt folks coalesce around a non-Mitt candidate, Mitt would lose. Conservatives appear to be doing that.

If I were a betting man, I'd give Newt the better shot at the nomination right now.


Jonathan Keller said...
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Jonathan Keller said...

I just received this interesting Tweet from IA Governor Branstad's Communications Director, Tim Albrecht:

"A campaign that starts organizing now needs to sign up 60 precinct leaders a day, including holidays, to fill all 1,784."

And so the question is, does this matter a lot/a little/not at all in this primary -- the way it did for Obama and Kerry -- or can Newt win IA w/ so little organization?

Not that anyone knows for sure, but if you look at the De Moines Register poll, it suggests that the demographic group pushing the Gingrich surge are cranky older voters who have caucused before, which suggests (perhaps) that it might not matter much.