Regardless of the political party you belong to, which of these GOP candidates do you think would be the most likely to defeat President Obama?
77% - Mitt Romney
5% - Ron Paul
2% - Rick Santorum
As you may know, over a year ago I predicted that Newt Gingrich would be leading the polls by the end of 2011 among the GOP hopefuls for president. This was not an endorsement; just an instinct. All during the year I took a lot of grief from my political experts about that forecast. But, as you know, my 2011 vision was vindicated.
When it came time to make my 2012 predictions, my gut told me to stick with my original instincts and not underestimate Newt Gingrich. But then my head intervened.
Everyone knows that Obama has the most formidable national re-election organization - and war chest - in the history of America. Then I learned that Mitt Romney has a formidable national campaign organization that can go the distance with Obama and that Gingrich has virtually no national organization and is week-to-week financially. And Romney, it seemed to me, would be the best at coalescing independent voters over to the GOP side of the ballot. Therefore, I went with my head instead of my gut, and predicted Romney would be the 2012 Republican nominee.
My reasoned prediction was in pretty good shape for a while, until a tectonic shift happened in South Carolina on Saturday, where Gingrich accomplished nothing short of a smack-down. He won the state by taking 40% of the vote in the GOP primary to Romney’s 28%. Santorum and Paul split the rest.
Last week, Gingrich had a potentially devastating, roller-coaster week. So when you combine that with the considerable experience and instincts of so many political pundits favoring Romney, plus my prediction and our recent poll results (see below), perhaps at no time since Truman upset Dewey in ‘48 have so many professionals and regular folk exclaimed in national unison, “Whoa! Didn’t see that coming.”
Politically speaking, South Carolina is a long way from Tampa, Florida, where the Republican National Convention will be held in August. Gingrich has proven that his message resonates with conservatives. But he has two huge mountain ranges to climb before he moves into the White House: 1) win over independents; and 2) put together a national organization that can stay with Obama for all four quarters of this Super Bowl of politics.
If you love politics, it doesn’t get any better than this. If you love America, surely the raw beauty of this process is one of the reasons. God bless America.
Today on my radio show I talked with Rich Galen, Publisher of Mullings.com and Republican strategist, about which GOP candidates had the best chance to become the nominee and defeat Obama in November. Take a few minutes to click here and listen to our predictions.