The conventional wisdom that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney would coast to victory in next year’s Republican nomination race has now been decisively overturned. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been running a confident insurgent campaign for the nomination, and the way things look his advantages in political momentum could be insurmountable with just weeks to go until decision day in Iowa and beyond.
Let’s start with this Washington Post poll from last week, “Gingrich emerges as clear front-runner in Iowa.” And also with the Des Moines Register poll from Thursday, December 8, “Iowa Poll: Iowans most jazzed over Gingrich.” The results from such surveys are big news in the closing weeks of the Republican presidential campaign: Gingrich has surged to the front of the GOP pack in Iowa and Romney’s support has dropped by half.
For some added background, there’s also an excellent discussion at this PBS NewsHour video below.
Judy Woodruff interviews Dan Balz and J. Ann Selzer, of the Washington Post and Selzer & Company, respectively. The talk focuses mostly on Gingrich’s amazing lead in Iowa — with just weeks remaining until the caucuses — and on what must happen for the other candidates from Romney on down. Frankly, to hear these analysts, there’s not a lot of hope for anyone besides Ron Paul, who Selzer indicates has an extremely well-established ground game in Iowa.
But let’s say Newt holds the lead in the polls all the way to January 3. Sure, the race is dynamic, and 60 percent at the Des Moines Register poll indicate they could still change their minds, but Newt’s got the Big Mo’. So, if he does well in the Hawkeye State, what chance does Gingrich have to secure the GOP nomination?