Newt Gingrich, Next in Line?
Republicans, we know per Bill Clinton and others, always want to fall in line. Is Newt the next in line? The New York Times Iowa poll has him leading on a couple of “next in line” qualities. He leads as the candidate best prepared for the job of president, 43 to 30 over Mitt Romney. He leads as the candidate most qualified to be commander in chief, 40 to 19 over Romney. He leads as the candidate most qualified to handle an international crisis, 44 to 16. He narrowly leads Romney (basically a tie) on who has the best chance to win a general election, 31 to 29. I think Iowa voters are vastly overrating Newt on all these qualities, but there it is. This puts Romney more in the position of an insurgent currently, when he has no insurgent qualities whatsoever. Newt leads as the candidate who most understands “the needs and problems of people like you,” 24 to Ron Paul at 16 and Romney at 13. Gingrich leads Romney 18–10 on who will do the most to preserve conservative principles (although Bachmann and Paul narrowly lead Gingrich on this one). On whether Newt says what he believes or what people want to hear, 63 percent think Newt says what he believes, 30 percent think he says what people want to hear. Romney is, of course, upside down on the question. Forty percent think he says what he believes and 53 percent think he says what people want to hear. The poll is a window into the power and depth of the Newt surge at the moment, and the peril to Romney.