First the results: New Gingrich Did Not Lose by As Much As You Might have Guessed He Might.
By the numbers, as estimated by various news agencies:
That’s a mighty strong showing for “Other” … it will be interesting to look into that.
Here’s the sequence over the last several days showing the March of the Numbers comparing Romney and Gingrich in polls
The pattern we see in Florida reflects the pattern of the overall primary process. No one ever had any doubt that Romney was going to win this primary, but in fact, there were two times when he was not ahead in the polls, and at the last minute, note that Romney was dropping in numbers with Gingrich gaining . Ron Paul remains irrelevant.
Here’s the bigger picture. Before the Iowa Caucuses Romney was considered the most likely person to win. Santorum won.
Before the New Hampshire Primary was considered the most likely person to win. But Oscar the Grouch could have won that primary had he been from the Greater Boston Area, of which New Hampshire is a minor suburb.
Before the North Carolina Primary, Romney was considered to be the most likely person to win. Um. New Gingrich won that primary.
So, to date, the candidate who is repeatedly labeled as the most likely to win the nomination has won half of the contests and is being dogged by a formidable, if obnoxious, opponent.
Furthermore, TV pundits are getting something else wrong: They keep pointing out that Romney is already the winner of the big picture, and as evidence of this they proffer his superior numbers when compared to Obama, vis-a-vis the other Republican contenders. But they tend to fail to mention that when Republicans in general are polled nation wide, they pick Gingrich over Romney. Gingrich, not Romney, is the “big picture” likely winner according that to that set of data. The data for this polling goes way back in time, but let’s just go back through August.
Over the last several weeks, Gingrich and Romney have traded places at the top of the national preference race, with Gingrich currently winning.
Yet, we still hear that Romney is the presumptive winner.
The next races are Nevada (on Feb 4th), and Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri (on Feb 7th). How are the candidates polling there?
Gingrich is beating Romney in Missouri by a small margin. Gingrich is beating Romney by a very large margin in Minnesota. I don’t know of any data from the other states, but the all important Ohio, which is part of Super Tuesday (in March) has Gingrich and Romney neck and neck (Gingrich is up by one point currently).
So what is the pattern? A horse race. I suspect this is going to be a horse race through Super Tuesday, at which time the horses will count up the delegates. I also suspect that Gingrich will stay in this race as long as it is mathematically possible even if it would require a bolt of lighting to possibly win.
I no longer think Santorum is a factor. Did I mention that Ron Paul is irrelevant?