Jan 21 2012
I am looking forward to tonight’s election results, because it looks like Newt Gingrich is going to have a big night. Nate Silver at Five-Thirty-Eight provides a solid analysis on what is happening:
Much of the reason for the relatively clear lead for Mr. Gingrich is that he has very clear momentum in the race. In a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, for instance, Mr. Gingrich led Mr. Romney by 4 percentage points in interviews conducted on Wednesday night, based on a detailed breakout of nightly results provided to FiveThirtyEight by Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling. But Mr. Gingrich’s lead expanded to 6 points in interviews conducted on Thursday. And Mr. Gingrich led by 14 points in about 700 interviews conducted on Friday night, after the Thursday night debate in North Charleston and the interview given to ABC News by one of Mr. Gingrich’s ex-wives.
In primaries, especially in the early-voting states, momentum is a strong predictor of the results, and it is usually correct to give considerable weight to the most recent data.
Polls this week indicate a big shift towards Newt and away from Romney. This actually makes sense in that I think most people are fed up with politics in general. Many are disappointed that the 2010 backlash wave has been largely ignored by the parties, congress and news media. The Political Industrial Complex has been steadily marching over the cliff, leaving voters flummoxed as to how to further emphasize their distaste with Big Government.
As their frustration grows, the voters are more willing to go outside the bounds of normal behavior. That is why I think, as in 2010, the polling numbers will be way off (since their turnout models rely on average voting behavior as seen in past races).
Anyway, tonight could be another attempt by voters to send a signal to the establishment elites in both parties.
Update: The Hill (the political establishment’s own news outlet) is concerned Romney may be blowing it:
Romney seems to have gone into a defensive crouch, leaving many Republicans feeling like football fans who watch their team move to a ‘prevent defense’ to protect a fourth-quarter lead and dread losing all of it. Their nerves are being jangled even as they acknowledge that outright disaster has so far been averted.
Even if he were to lose Saturday’s South Carolina primary, he would likely remain the overall favorite to clinch the nomination.
But the procession of errors has been striking nonetheless — and it has raised concerns among many in the GOP about his vulnerabilities in a general election contest with President Obama.
Romney’s inevitability is all he ever had to go with. Once that is gone, he could easily sink back down to the ‘almost won’ category.