Gingrich Rising: Mock Convention Predicts Newt Will Win the Palmetto State
South Carolina’s “First in the South” primary has been one of the most volatile political races in recent memory. Over the past week, Romney’s seemingly unassailable lead has evaporated and Newt Gingrich has once again risen from the political dead. No matter who wins tomorrow, Gingrich will finish much better than initially expected and will pose a much more serious threat to the Romney campaign going forward. Though polling data indicates that the race is too close to call, Gingrich’s late surge has continued despite (and perhaps because of) a renewed focus on his prior marital problems. We feel that Gingrich will capitalize on the momentum gained from his attack on the “liberal media” and pull out a narrow victory over national frontrunner Mitt Romney in Saturday’s primary.
The race for third place is equally as contentious, and, though we can confidently predict that neither Ron Paul nor Rick Santorum will move ahead of either of the two frontrunners, little else is certain at this time. The most likely scenario is that Rick Santorum will receive a slight bump from a strong debate performance and the news that he actually finished with the highest vote count in Iowa, allowing him to narrowly beat out Ron Paul for third place in South Carolina.
A word of caution: virtually anything could happen once polls open tomorrow, and there are still a number of viable scenarios in which Romney pulls out a win in South Carolina tomorrow. And, since third and fourth place will be determined largely because of how many Santorum and Paul supporters will defect to Gingrich, virtually the entire ballot is in a state of chaos at this time.
The race in South Carolina has been between Mitt Romney and whichever socially conservative candidate can capture enough of the Tea Party and evangelical vote to beat him since the New Year. Over the past week, Gingrich has been able to successfully capture the majority of the anti-Romney proxy vote. Additionally, his strong performance in recent debate has allowed him to attract a majority of previously undecided voters.Prior to Iowa and New Hampshire, Gingrich had a strong lead in South Carolina. Mitt Romney’s recent lead in South Carolina was most likely caused by his great showing and support in the first two states. But Romney’s relatively docile debate performances as compared to Gingrich’s incendiary ones gave Gingrich the means and the opportunity to recapture much of his initial voting base in South Carolina.
Though we have been working around the clock analyzing polling trends, reviewing data from past election cycles, and talking to political experts across the South, the only certain prediction we can make about tomorrow is that the race for first will be between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, while the race for third will be between Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. This has certainly been one of the most volatile races in recent primary history and should prove to be entertaining to watch tomorrow, so please stay tuned.
When the polls close tomorrow, Mitt Romney will still be the front runner for the Republican nomination, but the race will be fundamentally changed. Newt Gingrich will have momentum going into the Florida primary, and the conservative, anti-Romney vote will have a standard bearer around whom to rally. If Gingrich has learned from his past troubles and can run a disciplined campaign over the next few weeks, he will be a force to be reckoned with at least through Super Tuesday on March 6th. Then again, if Gingrich could run a disciplined campaign, he might actually be on the Virginia ballot.Yet, even with momentum at his back, Gingrich will have a very difficult time overcoming Romney in Florida, especially if Santorum can maintain a viable presence in this race. If, however, Santorum stumbles in the coming weeks and the race becomes binary, Romney could once again face an extremely difficult primary battle.
Over the past 30 years, South Carolina has signaled the effective end of many election cycles, but 2012 is no normal election cycle. Ladies and Gentlemen, let the Florida ad-wars begin.
By: South Carolina State Chair, Connor Danielowski; Political Chair, Zach Wilkes; and the Mock Convention Political Team
Fri, January 20, 2012
by Political Team