There’s been a sudden disturbance in the Force.
With all the talk about former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s resurgence over the past month, few are probably noticing the overnight drop in the polls the former Speaker is experiencing. It’s not just one poll either – there are a few signs that the Gingrich glitter is wearing off. While the Real Clear Politics polling average finds him at a comfortable 10.5 percentage points ahead of a still crowded Republican primary pack, some key surveys show troubling signs for Gingrich.
A confluence of things could be happening to explain that. For one, he’s been under an incessant, hot spotlight the past few weeks since he back from political oblivion. While political memories are very short, a constant barrage of attacks from old colleagues on the Hill to new opponents in the primaries are beginning to wear on the Speaker.
People are being reminded of the man from 14 years ago. And, a fairly ugly portrait is being painted.
Two: do not underestimate Mitt Romney’s steady 20 percent. That’s a solid, faithful 20 percent that has been staying there for some time. They apparently like him enough to keep staying there and to tell other potential voters why they’re putting their bets on Romney.
Three: this pulling-the-gloves off technique is paying dividends for Romney, apparently. But, it’s still a little too early to tell. It could simply be the result of a holiday drop off.
Four: that general election electability narrative could also be working. Newt just doesn’t stack up against President Obama like Romney does.
Here’s Politico on internal polling numbers from various camps buzzing about a Newt drop-off: “Sources didn’t provide specific numbers on how far he’s slipped, but it’s perceptible in both camps’ numbers … the person who is holding strong, according to the internal numbers, is Paul, who has a true shot of winning the caucuses, according to several Iowa Republican insiders surveying ground games and energy.”
Keep in mind that Newt’s lead in the RCP average is primarily from polls taken last week. Now, we’re getting into this week and it doesn’t look good.
So here’s the numbers crunch:
A New Hampshire Suffolk University poll puts Mitt Romney at 38%, Gingrich at 20% and Jon Huntsman (possibly being pushed by the state’s conservative anti-Newt elite as an offset) at 13%. But, this doesn’t surprise us since Romney was the Governor of the neighboring state. His Massachusetts (more specifically Boston) media roots run deep.
“If independents participate in a big way next January, Huntsman will benefit. While other candidates have focused on the more traditional Republican voters, Huntsman has traction among independents, who could dominate the Republican Primary if mobilized,” argues Suffolk pollster David Paleologos
The more telling poll is Gallup daily tracking which shows Gingrich slipping big time, 29% to 24% over Romney.
American Research Group puts Romney at 35% and Ron Paul (don’t sleep on him, yet) at 21% and Gingrich at a lowly 16%
The latest Iowa Rasmussen survey now has Romney getting 23%, Gingrich at 20% and Paul biting away at Newt’s heels at 18%.
What else could be hurting Gingrich?
Maybe as more news bubbles up about the former Speaker’s Congressional past, more hostility could be directed at him as the former Member of a hated political body. Talking up his time as Speaker might not be as useful as Newt would want it; there could be a growing perception in voter-land that he’s as tainted as the rest of the ilk on Capitol Hill.
The latest Pew Research study shows public disapproval of Congress “… has reached record levels, and the implications for incumbents in next year’s elections could be stark.”
“Two-in-three voters say most members of Congress should be voted out of office in 2012 — the highest on record. And the number who say their own member should be replaced matches the all-time high recorded in 2010, when fully 58 members of Congress lost reelection bids — the most in any election since 1948.”
“The Republican Party is taking more of the blame than the Democrats for a do-nothing Congress. A record-high 50% say that the current Congress has accomplished less than other recent Congresses, and by nearly two-to-one (40% to 23%) more blame Republican leaders than Democratic leaders for this. By wide margins, the GOP is seen as the party that is more extreme in its positions, less willing to work with the other side to get things done, and less honest and ethical in the way it governs. And for the first time in over two years, the Democratic Party has gained the edge as the party better able to manage the federal government.”