Apr 24, 2014
Tea Party Tribune
Tea Party Tribune
Tea Party and Political News Reporting

A Newt Gingrich withdrawal might not give Rick Santorum a major boost

Source: Boston.com

By: Shira Schoenberg, Globe Correspondent

Posted: March 17th, 2012

A growing chorus of conservatives are calling on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to drop out of the Republican presidential race, after Gingrich failed to win even the southern states that play to his strengths.

But while many pundits believe a Gingrich withdrawal would allow the conservative vote to coalesce around former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and defeat former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the data is less clear.

“Were Gingrich not in the race, his voters probably would disproportionately go to Santorum, but some of them, data suggest, would go to Romney, and some would stay home,” said Gary Langer, president of Langer Research Associates and an ABC News pollster.

There is little current data on voters’ second choice candidates. Quinnipiac University, for example, has not asked about voters’ second choices since January. But pollsters are likely to start asking again in light of calls for Gingrich to withdraw.

Langer said based on recent exit polls from Mississippi and Alabama, the demographics of Gingrich voters are similar to Santorum voters – they are very conservative evangelicals looking for a candidate who shares their religious beliefs. A substantial number of voters in both states felt Romney was not conservative enough. “Had there just been one non-Romney option, it’s fair to assume, that that not-conservative-enough vote would have coalesced around the surviving alternative,” Langer said.

But there are differences. Langer said voters who choose Santorum are often looking for moral character– an area where Gingrich falls short. Voters who like Gingrich want a candidate with experience and electability – an area where Santorum falls short. “To suggest there would be a one on one relationship between voting for Gingrich and Santorum would be clearly to overstate it,” Langer said.

In a post on the ABC News website, Langer noted that in national ABC News/Washington Post pre-election polls, more Gingrich supporters chose Romney than Santorum as their second choice.

A Fox News poll today found Gingrich polling at 13 percent. That poll found if Gingrich left the race, 7 percent of voters would move to Santorum, 5 percent to Romney and 1 percent to Paul. With Romney already far ahead in the delegate race, that could move Romney closer to the necessary 1,144 delegates without giving Santorum enough of a boost to catch Romney.

New York Times blogger Nate Silver analyzed data from Public Policy Polling to predict that Santorum would get 57 percent of Gingrich supporters and Romney would get 27 percent. Silver estimated that had Gingrich not been in the race, Santorum would have won four states that he lost, but Romney would still be ahead of Santorum in delegates.

Going forward, David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said the impact of a Gingrich withdrawal could be blunted by geography. Gingrich’s support is mostly in the south – in states like Mississippi and Alabama that already voted. Most of the April contests are on the east coast, in states like New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, which are likely to favor Romney and where Gingrich would have little influence. Votes will be held in May in states – such as Indiana, Nebraska, Oregon, Arkansas, and others – where Gingrich could have some impact, but where Santorum may be heavily favored even with Gingrich in the race.

“Given that Santorum is starting to win the south on his own anyway, I’m not sure of the added benefit of [Gingrich] getting out,” Paleologos said, “It’s almost by natural law becoming a two-person race by virtue of how the public is perceiving the major two candidates.”

So far, Gingrich has amassed 131 delegates, according to the Associated Press tally. If Gingrich drops out, his delegates will become free agents, and will not be bound to any candidate.

Josh Putnam, visiting assistant professor of political science at Davidson College, said most likely, without Gingrich, Romney and Santorum would both gain additional delegates in states that award them proportionally. In states that award delegates on a winner-take-all basis by congressional district, Gingrich’s absence may help Santorum amass delegates in states where Santorum is already leading. But it would have less of an impact in states where Romney is ahead.

Source: Boston.com

PinkTeaPatriot


Leave a Reply