Saturday, January 21, 2012

Newt Gingrich South Carolina Victory Speech

It's a good speech, a gracious speech.

And lots of red meat in there for partisans. I like Newt's comments on the economy and balancing the budget. These are the most important issue facing the country. And he ripped into Barack Obama with a vengeance. This is what helped put Newt over the top. The exit polls indicate that Newt won over conservatives on the economy, his debate performances, and on his perceived strengths in the general election. Voters think Newt can beat Obama. See the Wall Street Journal, "Gingrich Won on Electability: Exit Polls":

In all three nominating contests so far, at least a plurality of voters have said the economy and electability were important factors. In Iowa and New Hampshire, such voters backed Mr. Romney. But in South Carolina, they backed Mr. Gingrich.

Indeed, South Carolinians placed an even higher priority on beating President Obama than did their counterparts in Iowa and New Hampshire. About one-third of voters in each of the other two early states told pollsters that the ability to defeat Mr. Obama was the most important candidate quality. In South Carolina, 45% said that was their highest priority, according to exit poll data released by CNN. Half of them voted for Mr. Gingrich, while fewer than four in 10 voted for Mr. Romney.

Similarly, a far larger proportion of South Carolina voters said the economy was the most important issue than did their counterparts in Iowa and New Hampshire. If South Carolinians had followed the pattern of voters in previous states on which candidate they favored on the economy, that would have meant a big win for Mr. Romney. But they didn't. Four in 10 of those voters backed Mr. Gingrich Saturday, while one-third backed Mr. Romney.
And check the raw exit poll data at CNN. Fifty-five percent said they decided on their vote either today or in the last few days, and Gingrich won 44 percent of each of those groups respectively. And Gingrich won with conservatives and tea party supporters. It was a decisive victory.

The question now is how well Gingrich sustains his momentum. South Carolina had a huge evangelical vote and that demographic won't be repeated in quite the same way moving forward. Florida especially will be very different from the Palmetto State. But Mitt Romney's campaign has been hit hard and the primaries could now drag on for months if Gingrich consolidates his progress and picks up additional victories in the weeks ahead. This is the way the primaries should be and I couldn't be happier. I don't love Gingrich but I've been dejected at the possibility of a Romney steamroller. The democratic process wouldn't have been fully exercised with a quick Romney win and that won't happen now. The eventual nominee will be a much better candidate with a prolonged campaign that airs both the tough questions and more dirty laundry.


RightKlik said...

One thing that impressed me about Gingrich's performance in the SC debates was his command of the local issues. I believe he will do the same in FL. If he does, and if he can tweak his tone on a state by state basis (and I believe he can), he could exceed expectations.