THANK YOU to all Puerto Rico voters for your overwhelming support of Governor Romney today! — CONGRATULATIONS to you and to Governor Romney!
There has been one article after another talking about how Gingrich needs to get out of the race to benefit Santorum and to make this a two-man, face-to-face run for the nomination. Often, the implication is that the vast majority of Gingrich voters will swing to Santorum. Even the TV pundits seem to be touting some inherent weakness in Romney that only allows him to garner “one third of all the votes in any given primary” etc.
If you were to believe the MSM (and most passive voters do), you would conclude that Romney is failing miserably and that the perpetual Gingrich ego trip only helps Romney to keep the “anti-Romney” vote splintered — nevermind that Romney is winning in every category! It is simply wishful thinking and has no basis in fact (see Michael Medved’s reasoning as to why the “Major Mainstream Media” hate Mitt Romney at the end of this post).
Let’s look at what happens if Mr. Newt were to walk away from the limelight — behavior that would belie his self-interest. Dante Chinni wrote an outstanding article Friday in The Wall Street Journal, titled, “Politics Counts: Who Benefits If Gingrich Drops Out?”
The most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found the dynamics of the national race would not change dramatically if it were a simple Romney-Santorum showdown. With the four current candidates in the field Mr. Romney leads Mr. Santorum 38% to 32%. If it is just the two of them in the running Mr. Romney still leads 45% to 40%.
The vast majority of Illinois voters live in the big city Industrial Metropolis of Cook County, home of Chicago, and the wealthy Monied Burb counties that surround it. So the net Newt impact would probably be pretty small. The same would probably true in upcoming primaries in Wisconsin, New York and Connecticut.
Louisiana, which votes Saturday March 24, is a very different story. In Louisiana, 70% of the population lives in Minority Central counties and 18% live in the Boom Towns. In other words, if form follows, the Gingrich vote there could play a very big role in who ultimately wins the state. The same might also be true in states like North Carolina and Kentucky that are still ahead.
Also Friday, Gallup published an article that included the latest results of one of its surveys to show categorically who “Gingrich voters” would likely support if he were to exit the race. Do you think we will hear much about this in the MSM? It is highly unlikely! Why? See Michael Medved’s article at the end of this post.
Republican voters who prefer Newt Gingrich for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination are as likely to name Mitt Romney as their second choice as they are to name Rick Santorum, suggesting the race would not tilt in Santorum’s favor if Gingrich dropped out.
Some conservative Republicans have called for Gingrich to drop out of the race on the assumption that conservative primary voters would then unite behind Santorum as the conservative alternative to the more moderate Romney. But Gallup data indicate that Gingrich voters would not be likely to coalesce behind Santorum, suggesting that factors other than candidate ideology may be attracting voters to Gingrich, Santorum, and Romney.
Gallup can simulate Republican preferences without Gingrich in the race by removing Gingrich votes and reassigning them to his voters’ second-choice candidate. The results of this procedure suggest that national GOP preferences would change little if Gingrich dropped out. The reconfigured preferences show Romney getting 40% of the vote and Santorum getting 33%. That seven-percentage-point Romney lead is essentially the same as the six-point (34% to 28%) Romney lead in March 8-15 interviewing with Gingrich support included.
Thus, Santorum may not benefit much from Gingrich dropping out because the most conservative voters already support Santorum to a large degree, and Gingrich’s appeal to this group is not substantially greater than Romney’s.
[Gallup continues below the fold + Medved + Chart + Photos]… (more…)