How Electable is Newt Gingrich?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 26, 2012

Not very:

Despite Newt Gingrich’s momentum within the Republican Party, he would be a weaker contender than Mitt Romney in a general election contest against President Barack Obama, according to a Suffolk University/7NEWS (WSVN-Miami) poll of likely voters in Florida.

Romney led Obama by 47 percent to 42 percent in the Florida survey, while Obama topped Gingrich by 9 points, 49 percent to 40 percent. Among independents, Obama led Romney 44 percent to 38 percent and opened up a 56 percent to 29 percent advantage over Gingrich. Gingrich grabbed 12 percent of registered Democrats, while Romney secured 18 percent of registered Democrats.

“Newt Gingrich is weak among Florida independents and likely Democratic voters compared to Romney,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “If Florida is one of six key states that swings the national election, independents in Florida hold that key, and this poll suggests that Newt won’t be able to secure Florida for his party.”

In the popularity contest, Gingrich again did not fare well. He holds a 29 percent favorable and 58 percent unfavorable rating statewide among all likely voters. By contrast, Romney had a 44 percent favorable and 37 percent unfavorable rating. Romney’s popularity was lower among independents: 37 percent favorable and 36 percent unfavorable, while Gingrich’s popularity among independents imploded to 19 percent favorable with 70 percent unfavorable.

In the head-to-head matchup with Obama, Romney has risen from 42 percent to 47 percent (+5 points) since a poll taken in late October by Suffolk University/7NEWS (WSVN-TV) Miami. Obama polled at exactly 42 percent against Romney in both surveys. However, in that same October poll Obama led Gingrich 45 percent to 38 percent. He has since gained 4 points, and Gingrich 2 points.

In the Obama-Romney matchup, the poll showed that 83 percent of Obama voters would cast votes “for Obama,” while 17 percent said they would vote “against Romney.” On the flip side, 52 percent of Romney voters classified themselves as a vote “for Romney,” while 48 said their votes were “against Obama.”

I suppose I should remind readers that my posts against Gingrich–and therefore, for Romney–are not meant to indicate that Romney is my dream candidate for president. I recognize Romney’s virtues, but I also recognize his faults. However, whatever faults and shortcomings Romney has are trivial compared to those possessed by Gingrich, who would be a disastrous standard bearer for the GOP, even if he somehow manages to win an election against Barack Obama.

Which, of course, Gingrich won’t.

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