Newt Gingrich is down in Iowa, but with voters so unsettled he's not out
Newt Gingrich has dropped like a rock in Iowa polls, but with GOP voters there so unsettled it's premature to count him out. Forty-one percent of likely caucusgoers still might change their minds, a recent poll finds.
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When asked about his biggest weakness, he and his wife exchanged knowing looks. “Go ahead,” Callista Gingrich told him. Perhaps an opportunity to express regret about his messy marital past, which hurts him among Iowa’s large evangelical community? “Chocolate!” an audience member suggested. But he stuck to his script on the attack ads that have devastated his chances. “It’s probably that I’m too reasonable and should have responded to the negative ads two weeks sooner,” he said.Skip to next paragraph
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But Gingrich clearly isn’t giving up. He starts his remarks here by noting that the latest Des Moines Register poll, released Saturday night, shows 41 percent of likely caucusgoers still might change their minds on whom to support Tuesday. After the Waterloo appearance, he told Reuters he would not drop out after Iowa, no matter what. He raised $9 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, and said he’ll compete in the next two contests, the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries.
Still, if there’s an Achilles’ heel attached to a potential Newt revival, it’s electability. Polls show Mr. Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, as most electable against Mr. Obama, and Republicans here want nothing more than to unseat the president. Still, many say, polls, schmolls, I’m going to vote for the person I think would make the best president. After all, it’s been the most volatile of GOP primary seasons; in Gallup polls, the national lead has changed seven times since last May.
Among the undecided at LJ’s, more than one said they had boiled down their choices to Gingrich and Romney.
“I’m still soaking it all in,” says Joe Nora, a senior at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., who’s home for the holidays. He caucused for Romney four years ago, but might switch to Gingrich this time. He also doesn’t rule out voting for Obama next November, which is how he went in 2008.
Nancy Peters of Cedar Falls, Iowa, is firmly in the Republican camp, and says she’s a fan of all the GOP candidates except the libertarian-leaning Ron Paul. “I’ll go for either Mitt or Gingrich,” she says. “My main concern is who would be the best to beat Obama. I don’t disagree with Newt, I just don’t know about electability.”
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