ANALYSIS | Texas Gov. Rick Perry dropped out of the 2012 election and endorsed Newt Gingrich. Will that put Gingrich ahead of Mitt Romney in the South Carolina primary? Or is the value of an endorsement overrated?
Perry's decision to drop out is not surprising. Ever since his stumbles in the debate, this had been expected. But his decision to endorse Gingrich for president is a little more of a surprise. After all, most endorsements tend to head the way of the front-runner. That was the thinking when Huntsman picked Romney, at least.
But while others speculate on the possible Gingrich-Perry 2012 ticket, balancing legislative and executive experience in the first South-South pairing since Clinton and Gore, isn't it worth determining whether endorsements are really the dealmakers that we think they are?
Huntsman's pick of Romney should have helped the former Massachusetts governor shore up his stature with the moderates. But Romney seems to have dropped somewhat in the polls. I suppose the negative reaction to Romney's low tax rate and his dismissal of $375,000 in speaking fees as "not very much" for income overshadowed that endorsement. Likewise, will the negative flap Gingrich's ex-wife is sure to cause with her interview and "open marriage" comments drown out the good news from the Perry endorsement?
If we add Perry's 3 percent support from a January 19 InsiderAdvantage Poll to Newt Gingrich's 32 percent support, Newt's narrow three percentage point lead over Romney (29 percent) moves out of that 3.8 percent margin of error. In other words, it should seal the deal.
But as the Pew Research Center has noted, endorsements from other candidates rarely sway voters. A survey shows that only backing from former President Bush or Sarah Palin would move the needle any (McCain was a wash, while backing from others like Bachmann, Trump or Cain would make one worse off) in the Republican Primary. And for the general election, support from Bush or Palin as well as the others former Republican candidates, would really weaken a GOP candidate. So let's not pencil in Gingrich as the winner yet, just because Perry picked him.
- Politics & Government/Elections
- Politics & Government
- Mitt Romney
- Newt Gingrich