ANALYSIS | Three polls earlier this week have anointed a new frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.
Newt Gingrich, who seemed dead in the water for months, has surged to the front of the pack. A Public Policy Polling poll released Monday found Gingrich in the lead, with 28 percent supporting him for the nomination. Herman Cain was close behind at 25 percent, while sometime frontrunner Mitt Romney polled 18 percent. Everyone else was in single digits. The latest CNN poll, also released Monday, put Romney at the top with 24 percent to Gingrich's 22 percent, within the margin of error. A second PPP poll released Tuesday, focused on California, gave similar results. The former Speaker was on top with 33 percent, followed by Romney at 23 percent and Cain at 22 percent, with the rest of the field again in single digits.
These polls are good news for the Romney campaign. With all of the ups and downs in the GOP primary this year, Romney has remained consistent. His approval numbers in California have barely moved from the last time PPP polled there. In January, 59 percent of voters viewed him favorably; now, 55 percent do. Such a small swing in ten months says that the GOP voters in California pretty much know what they think about Romney, and he ain't all that bad. The CNN poll tells the same story. Going back to May, Romney's national polling average is around 23.5 percent. Slow and steady might win this race.
Romney's numbers of have been consistent because the candidate himself as been consistent, especially when compared to the rest of the field. No scandals or gaffes plaguing Romney. His competitors would love to be so lucky. The Herman Cain sexual harassment allegations have likely doomed him to failure. In the same CNN poll above, respondents were asked if they were following the scandal. Two out of three responded "somewhat" or "closely". More than half said it was a serious issue, and exactly half said they believed the accusers over Cain. Finally, they were asked if Cain should give up the race; 46 percent said yes, with 58 percent of women saying he should drop out. Numbers like these are going to be tough to overcome.
It gets worse for Cain. His campaign is imploding all around him. Reporters are being manhandled, he has a poor grasp of foreign policy, and just canceled an interview with an influential New Hampshire newspaper over video cameras. Cain is approaching Bachmann territory, making mistakes that likely results in plummeting to the bottom of the polls.
Now Gingrich is in front, or at least near it, and he's got plenty of baggage (and jewelry) to attack. To say nothing of the news that he was paid millions as a "consultant" for Freddie Mac. You know, one of the federally backed mortgage lenders that helped get us into this economic mess? Being in front means everyone is attacking you. Just ask Rick Perry how that worked out for him.
If you are Mitt Romney, you've got to like your chances.
- Mitt Romney
- Herman Cain
- Newt Gingrich