After enjoying 14- to 15-percentage-point leads over Mitt Romney in early December, Newt Gingrich is now statistically tied with Romney in national Republican preferences for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination: 26% for Gingrich vs. 24% for Romney. This follows a steady decline in support for Gingrich in the past 10 days.
The latest findings are from Dec. 13-18 Gallup Daily tracking, based on 1,177 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who are registered to vote. Gallup initiated Daily tracking of the Republican presidential trial heat on Dec. 1, and reports the results in continuous five-day rolling averages.
No single candidate has benefited proportionately more from Gingrich’s 11-point decline — from 37% to 26% — over the past 10 days. Rather, Gallup polling finds slight increases in support for the six remaining major candidates in the race. Also, the percentage of Republicans favoring none of the candidates or who are unsure has risen by three points, from 14% to 17%.
Twenty-four percent of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents now favor Romney for the nomination. This is up just slightly from the 22% to 23% level seen for much of the first two weeks of December. Support for Ron Paul is now 11%, up from 8% to 9% earlier in the month — marking the first time his support has been above 10% since mid-September. At that time, a Gallup poll of all Republicans/Republican-leaning independents put his support at 13%.
The GOP Establishment “pile on” against Newt Gingrich has been profound and frequent. Gingrich who has little campaign cash and/or organization to respond to the attacks both in the free media and “on air” has had as meteoric a rise as has been his collapse. Gingrich has wilted under all of the attacks. Here is the graph:
It seems the GOP voters are “settling” now for Mitt Romney or are giving other candidates a second look.
I maintain that there is still time for a third candidate to arise from the ash pile of former GOP Poll leaders. Today’s hunch is Jeb Bush who, today, has a piece in the Wall Street Journal.