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January 21, 2012 / Political Fluency

Gingrich Won – So What?

”We will win on Monday. We’re going to come ready to play.”

–          Alonzo Mourning – Center for the Miami Heat after losing to the Chicago Bulls by 24 to go down 3 games to none in a best of 7 series.

“Well if they win on Monday, we’ll just win on Wednesday.”

–          Dennis Rodman – Power Forward for the Chicago Bulls upon hearing that Mourning guaranteed victory in Game 4.

Newt Gingrich is the Miami Heat and Mitt Romney is the Chicago Bulls.

With a victory in the must-win state of South Carolina, Gingrich has officially become the Not Romney in the race; Rick Santorum is likely to drop out after Super Tuesday on March 6th. Gingrich should drop out on March 7th as well because he will be out of money and will have lost most, if not all, of the contests the day before as the Republican electorate comes to terms with Newt’s unelectability. But he probably won’t because his massive ego won’t let us enjoy what could be classic debates between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul – the only one with the money to last through every contest to promote a message as opposed to destroy Mitt like Gingrich wants to.

CBS News announced that this was “a major upset.” That’s absurd.

Gingrich was ahead in South Carolina for six weeks in the polls from November 8th through December 18th when polling stopped for the holidays. His line is shown in green. Romney began his surge shown in purple on January 4th after reportedly winning the Iowa caucus and polling in the state began again. Gingrich took the lead back two weeks later on the 18th.

It was Romney who was preparing to upset Gingrich in South Carolina up until the last few days.

Interestingly Gingrich also had major leads in Florida during his post-Thanksgiving surge in the national polls just like he did in South Carolina at that same time.  Combine that with the momentum boost as a winner in South Carolina and we can expect to see Gingrich surge again in Florida to make the polling chart look a lot like South Carolina’s, but with a two week delay.

In both charts there is a Gingrich peak and then a trough while Romney surges followed by Gingrich peaking again. But in Florida the Gingrich attempt to peak won’t quite get to Romney as the latter’s numbers fall only a negligible amount. Gingrich still doesn’t have enough money or staffing to compete against Romney in the vast and expensive state. Mitt will win by 5 points or more.

All Gingrich did today was win a state that a Not Romney had to win to make this nominating contest have even a modicum of drama over the next 6 weeks as Romney was not likely to win this state to begin with. Romney is now up 3 to 1 in the best of 7 series.

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