To borrow from an SNL skit, this is something you can put under the heading of White People’s Problems.
While others at this conference were out playing golf and having fun, I was sitting here in my room in this Key West resort overlooking the aquamarine water, sweating away over my presentation for the panel discussion tomorrow.
In their longest form, my notes were 1,825 words in length, so I pared and whittled, and got it down so it glittered and shone.
And the upshot? After all the hemming and hawing GOP voters have done over the last few months, Romney has it sewn up.
But then I started looking at these polls Gingrich has been touting today:
ICYMI: Recent Polls Show Newt as
Clear Conservative Alternative in SC
Three recent polls show Newt Gingrich emerging as the clear conservative alternative to Mitt Romney in South Carolina.
An American Research Group (ARG) poll shows Newt Gingrich closing the gap with Mitt Romney to just four points in South Carolina, while support for Rick Santorum has collapsed from 24% to just 7% in 7 days.
The results: Romney 29%. Gingrich 25%. Paul 20%. Perry 9%. Santorum 7%. Huntsman 1%. Other 2%. Undecided 7%.
These polls reinforce trends that show Gingrich emerging as the clear conservative alternative to Mitt Romney in South Carolina.
· Evangelical Support. Gingrich has a commanding lead among evangelical Christians with 40% support compared to Governor Perry with 15% in second.
· Tea Party Support. Gingrich leads amongst supporters of the Tea party 28% to Governor Romney’s 24%.
Meanwhile, Governor Romney is losing his support amongst independents to Ron Paul, suggesting that the Governor’s support amongst independents is not strong, and would be lost to President Obama in the general election.
This poll from ARG echoes the findings of two other recent polls.
An Insider Advantage Poll from January 11th shows Newt Gingrich in a statistical tie with Governor Romney with 21% support to the Governor’s 23%. Rick Santorum has faded to 14% support, with Ron Paul at 13%, Jon Huntsman at 7% and Rick Perry at 5%.
A Rasumussen Poll from January 12th also shows Newt Gingrich well ahead of Rick Santorum and Ron Paul with 21% support compared to their 16%. The poll results are available here.
And I started to fret. Gingrich has mo. Here we have all these pols from all over the country ready to hear me in the morning, and what if I make a prediction that was completely off? David Yepsen is here. Today, a guy with PBS was asking me on the phone, “Who is the David Yepsen of South Carolina.” I resisted the temptation to say, “You’re talkin’ to him, baby!”
In any case, the actual David Yepsen (he’s the Brad Warthen of Iowa) is here, and I’m about to make a fool of myself in front of him.
So I started making phone calls to Republicans whose judgment I trust in South Carolina. And the very first one I reached said there’s no way this thing is sewn up, that there’s movement and Gingrich is impressing people.
He said he suspects Romney is going to fail in South Carolina for the same reason he failed with our voters four years ago.
Why is that, I asked?
“Because he’s a plastic banana rock ‘n’ roller.”
What does that mean, I croaked?
It means South Carolinians look at him and see a phony.
Anyway, I’m scrapping my presentation for tomorrow. I’m going to wing it. Here’s hoping my “winging-it privileges” haven’t been revoked.