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After endorsement, does Newt Gingrich still have a New Hampshire problem?

Newt Gingrich may have won the endorsement of the influential New Hampshire Union Leader, but he's still a distant second to Mitt Romney in state polls and has a lot of catching up to do.

By Staff writer / November 28, 2011

In this Nov. 22 photo, Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks during the Republican presidential debate in Washington. Newt Gingrich landed editorial endorsement of NH Union Leader Sunday Nov. 27, 45 days before GOP primary.

Evan Vucci/AP/File

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Newt Gingrich was endorsed by the New Hampshire Union Leader on Sunday, in case you haven’t heard. Yes, that’s great for Newt, and the endorsement has received zeppelin-loads of coverage in other media, to the point where the Union Leader Monday ran a story about the reaction to its GOP primary choice.

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But isn’t it possible that despite this development the ex-speaker still has a New Hampshire problem? He’s doing great in national polls, and he’s surging in Iowa and South Carolina, but for Mr. Gingrich a Granite State victory may still be a Mt. Monadnock climb away.

He's behind

Overlooked in a lot of the endorsement hoopla is the fact that Newt remains a distant second in New Hampshire polls. On Monday the Real Clear Politics rolling average of major surveys had him as the choice of 18.5 percent of the state’s GOP voters. Mitt Romney is first with 36.8 percent – almost double Gingrich’s total.

It’s certainly possible that a Newt surge is underway that this calculation does not yet catch. If Gingrich does well in Iowa he could slingshot into New Hampshire with momentum. But it’s also possible that the person in third place, Ron Paul, could outperform expectations in Iowa, and slingshot past the former speaker. After all, Paul’s currently at 13.3 percent, a slim 5 percentage points behind Gingrich. And if you look at him from the side, and squint, Paul kind of looks like the Old Man of the Mountain, don’t you think?

The Union Leader isn't what it used to be

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