Nate Silver: Newt Now Twice as Likely as Mitt to Win in South Carolina

 

Over at FiveThirtyEight, the political blog that, in the Sahara-like bleak vastness of the New York Times, remains an oasis of common sense, shrewd analysis, lean writing and general excellence, Nate Silver now gives Gingrich a 64 percent chance of winning the South Carolina primary tomorrow, Romney only a 36 percent chance.  (That’s right.  All that Silver offers either Ron Paul or Rick Santorum is a big fat zero.) 

What’s almost more interesting is that Nate Silver feels…abashed.

What has happened…[over the last week] has frankly surprised me a great deal. The momentum in South Carolina shifted literally overnight; one pollster showed an incredible 22-point swing against Mr. Romney and toward Newt Gingrich over the course of a 24-hour period after the Monday night debate.

Although I thought that Mr. Gingrich had a strong debate on Monday night, and although I’m usually pretty careful to warn my readers that primary polling can be highly volatile, that’s not the sort of thing you see every day.

No, it most certainly isn’t. 

Santorum won in Iowa, Mitt took New Hampshire, and now Newt appears ready to score in South Carolina.  This is getting interestinger and interestinger.

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @CrowsNest

    wmartin:

    America hates Newt Gingrich:

    http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/america-hates-newt-gingrich/326161

    Dear Lord….those fav/unfav numbers.

    Exactly. Which is why Prof. Rahe is correct that Newt has a hard time rallying anyone who is not already in the base and onboard. Its why his smashmouth media beatdowns won’t play as well in the general election.

    In 1994, Newt was not a known quantity nationally–he came across, then, as a scrappy young challenger to Washington wisdom, as someone who really was a big ideas candidate and someone speaking a lot of common sense. That struck a chord with many Americans.

    But you can’t undue the latter years of the 90s or the bad taste it left in the mouths of many Americans. Whether they are willing to give Newt a second chance (or a 9th life….) is yet to be seen: but his negatives suggest no.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Member
    @MelFoil

    At this point, a lot people aren’t looking for Ronald Reagan anymore. They’re looking for Dirty Harry.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Member
    @StuartCreque

    We must remain calm and sanguine: the inevitable nominee, Mitt Romney, will demonstrate his most highly electable political skills in the next 24 hours and win the South Carolina primary. I have it on the word of top men. Top. Men.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Member
    @StuartCreque
    Peter Robinson: Santorum won in Iowa, Mitt took New Hampshire, and now Newt appears ready to score in South Carolina. This is getting interestinger and interestinger.

    Iowa: was supposed to be infertile ground for Romney this year and to go instead to one of the two Favorite Offspring, Pawlenty or Bachmann. Santorum was supposed to have been laboring in a futile effort to make old-school retail politicking work in 2012. Surprise! Santorum DID make it work, and Romney did almost identically well to his performance in 2008 (a triumph of lowered expectations).

    New Hampshire: was supposed to be Romney’s home turf, with a possible challenge from Huntsman, who’d worked about as hard in NH as Santorum did in IA. No surprise at all: Romney won, as a Favorite Son should.

    South Carolina: was supposed to go for a hard-charging conservative, either Perry or Cain. Showed a big flash of Newt fever in December, which faded with Newt’s results in IA and NH. And was therefore supposed to be Romney’s to claim, absent a surge for social-con Santorum. Surprise (pending voting)! Cain’s absence, Perry’s weakness and Newt’s pugnacity make Newt victorious.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Member
    @StuartCreque

    Here are the two next most important questions if Newt wins tomorrow:

    1. Will Santorum have the wherewithal and the tenacity to stay in through Florida?
    2. Will Florida’s primary voters catch Newt fever and coalesce around him as a not-Romney alternative, or will they coalesce around Mitt as the not-Newt alternative?
    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PeterRobinson
    Stuart Creque

    Iowa: was supposed to be infertile ground for Romney this year and to go instead to one of the two Favorite Offspring, Pawlenty or Bachmann. Santorum was supposed to have been laboring in a futile effort to make old-school retail politicking work in 2012. Surprise! Santorum DID make it work, and Romney did almost identically well to his performance in 2008 (a triumph of lowered expectations).

    New Hampshire: was supposed to be Romney’s home turf, with a possible challenge from Huntsman, who’d worked about as hard in NH as Santorum did in IA. No surprise at all: Romney won, as a Favorite Son should.

    South Carolina: was supposed to go for a hard-charging conservative, either Perry or Cain. Showed a big flash of Newt fever in December, which faded with Newt’s results in IA and NH. And was therefore supposed to be Romney’s to claim, absent a surge for social-con Santorum. Surprise (pending voting)! Cain’s absence, Perry’s weakness and Newt’s pugnacity make Newt victorious. · 10 minutes ago

    Love this summary, Stuart. Just goes to show: In politics, nobody knows anything.

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Member
    @StuartCreque
    Peter Robinson

    Just goes to show: In politics, nobody knows anything.

    Yeah, it has that in common with Hollywood, and that’s because both are exercises in predicting where the tastes of the American public will be at given dates in the future.

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Moderator
    @JamesOfEngland
    Crow’s Nest

    Exactly. Which is why Prof. Rahe is correct that Newt has a hard time rallying anyone who is not already in the base and onboard. Its why his smashmouth media beatdowns won’t play as well in the general election.

    In 1994, Newt was not a known quantity nationally–he came across, then, as a scrappy young challenger to Washington wisdom, as someone who really was a big ideas candidate and someone speaking a lot of common sense. That struck a chord with many Americans.

    But you can’t undue the latter years of the 90s or the bad taste it left in the mouths of many Americans. Whether they are willing to give Newt a second chance (or a 9th life….) is yet to be seen: but his negatives suggest no. ·

    To add to this: The widespread conservative blog response (particularly on the corner, from Steyn and other RINOs) that he was clearly faking his anger will be a big part of the media stories before the Obama debates. The media will love the demonstration that even Newt doesn’t think they’re that bad.

    The anti-anti-racism attacks will also be harder.

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Member
    @NobodysPerfect

    Here’s what happened last night:

    The favorite was smooth, polished; a skilled boxer who had just come off two consecutive wins: a TKO and a knockout.

    The challenger was out of shape, undisciplined, easily winded. People thought he was finished a year ago, but he climbed back in the ring.

    The referee walked out into the center of the ring. And the old palooka decked him with a vicious right hand.

    The crowd went wild!!!

    Dah, dah, dah, dah, Dah, dah, dah, dah…

    The fight was over before it even began.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Member
    @KenBurns

    I would think Palin’s semi-endorsement of Newt would explain some of his rise, but I’m not sure if the polling took place beforehand.

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Member
    @StuartCreque
    Ken Burns: I would think Palin’s semi-endorsement of Newt would explain some of his rise, but I’m not sure if the polling took place beforehand. · 3 minutes ago

    I think it plays only a small part at this point, since she couched it as “just to keep the process going.”

    I wonder whether she will make a full endorsement after tomorrow’s vote, or will wait into February or even March.

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe
    Nobody’s Perfect: Here’s what happened last night:

    The favorite was smooth, polished; a skilled boxer who had just come off two consecutive wins: a TKO and a knockout.

    The challenger was out of shape, undisciplined, easily winded. People thought he was finished a year ago, but he climbed back in the ring.

    The referee walked out into the center of the ring. And the old palooka decked him with a vicious right hand.

    The crowd went wild!!!

    Dah, dah, dah, dah, Dah, dah, dah, dah…

    The fight was over before it even began. · 43 minutes ago

    Nicely put.

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe

    After Newt’s exchange with Juan Williams and the standing ovation he got, I figured that he would win in South Carolina. After last night, I knew it. What people sense is that a milquetoast moderate — formed in the likeness of Thomas E. Dewey, Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, and John McCain — is a likely loser.

    The problem is: So is Newt. For all of his virtues — and Lord knows, he has virtues — Newt is ill-situated to rally anyone not in the base. It is not his supposed “lack of moderation” that I have in mind. It is his lack of discipline — personal and political.

    For what it is worth, I expect him to win on Saturday decisively. I still expect Romney to be the nominee, but to get the nomination he is going to have to throw away the script prepared by his handlers and display some fire.

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @StuartCreque
    Paul A. Rahe: I still expect Romney to be the nominee, but to get the nomination he is going to have to throw away the script prepared by his handlers and display some fire.

    I don’t think he’s got the fire in him — that is, I don’t think he can put that fire into his arguments. If he could, he wouldn’t get so flustered by easily-anticipated questions about taxes and Bain Capital investments and his record as Governor of Massachusetts.If Newt wins tomorrow and if that momentum carries into Florida, Romney is going to start to look like an also-ran, a guy who can’t put away the competition. That was how Hillary lost in 2008: her inability to capitalize on her comeback win in New Hampshire made people doubt she could close the deal against Obama, and so they began to doubt she could win in the general election.
    • #14
  15. Profile Photo Member
    @Schwaibold

    Maybe Palin thinks she can influence the primaries such that there is no clear winner, resulting in some form of ‘deliberative convention’ where she would be named the nominee.

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Member
    @MichaelTee
    Paul A. Rahe: Newt is ill-situated to rally anyone not in the base. It is not his supposed “lack of moderation” that I have in mind. It is his lack of discipline — personal and political.

    I still expect Romney to be the nominee, but to get the nomination he is going to have to throw away the script prepared by his handlers and display some fire.

    You’re a historian? How did Newt pull off 1994? It certainly wasn’t a lack of discipline. It was discipline that took 16 years of him working in Congress to build enough of a coalition to build the “Contract with America.” It was discipline of message and coordination with using the tool of Rush Limbaugh that built support to overthrow the Democratic governance of 40 years in Washington, DC.

    What evidence do you have that Romney will break out of the milquetoast shell and display some fire? He’s been running for President for over a half a decade! If ifs and buts were candy and nuts…

    It’s almost as you’re being willfully ignorant. I can’t believe this is true.

    Can it?

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Sorry, I loved Newt’s optimism leading into the 1994 election, but even his Contract for America was not the main reason for the big Republican victory. It was America’s anger with the House banking and post office scandals. The voters took away the keys to the car over it. Sorry, Newt…it was NOT about you.

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Member
    @Palaeologus
    Michael Tee

    Paul A. Rahe: Newt is ill-situated to rally anyone not in the base. It is not his supposed “lack of moderation” that I have in mind. It is his lack of discipline — personal and political.

    I still expect Romney to be the nominee, but to get the nomination he is going to have to throw away the script prepared by his handlers and display some fire.

    You’re a historian? How did Newt pull off 1994?

    You might as well ask: how did Boehner (or Michael Steele for that matter) pull off 2010?

    But you wouldn’t ask that because it doesn’t suit your narrative.

    You see what I did there? I presumed bad faith and/or incompetence on your part, which is foolish.

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Member
    @MothershipGreg
    Crow’s Nest

    wmartin:

    America hates Newt Gingrich:

    http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/america-hates-newt-gingrich/326161

    Dear Lord….those fav/unfav numbers.

    Exactly. Which is why Prof. Rahe is correct that Newt has a hard time rallying anyone who is not already in the base and onboard. Its why his smashmouth media beatdowns won’t play as well in the general election.

    In 1994, Newt was not a known quantity nationally–he came across, then, as a scrappy young challenger to Washington wisdom, as someone who really was a big ideas candidate and someone speaking a lot of common sense. That struck a chord with many Americans.

    But you can’t undue the latter years of the 90s or the bad taste it left in the mouths of many Americans. Whether they are willing to give Newt a second chance (or a 9th life….) is yet to be seen: but his negatives suggest no. · 6 hours ago

    As a lukewarm Gingrich supporter, I really appreciate your posts, because they are sensible, with none of this “OMG Newt = Christine ODonnell” lost cause hysteria that other Gingrich critics like to spout.

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Member
    @punditius

    Sarah.

    • #20
  21. Profile Photo Member
    @

    America hates Newt Gingrich:

    http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/america-hates-newt-gingrich/326161

    Dear Lord….those fav/unfav numbers.

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Member
    @Translucent
    Paul A. Rahe:

    The problem is: So is Newt. For all of his virtues — and Lord knows, he has virtues — Newt is ill-situated to rally anyone not in the base. It is not his supposed “lack of moderation” that I have in mind. It is his lack of discipline — personal and political.

    I heard this opinion before various times. People assume that because Newt has huge negatives those will cause him to lose rather than his huge positives causing him to win. Romney might be a candidate with almost no weaknesses to offer an opening, but Newt is a man who can create a opening to strike his opponent. I sensed that Newt could pull off a win in South Carolina back when did the crazy move to attack Romney from the left(Probably because it was crazy). The media seems to almost want Romney to get the nomination, by the way they keep telling republicans he is the only one who can win. Personally I think it is because they fear his unpredictable nature(and that time to time he will make them look like fools).

    • #22
  23. Profile Photo Member
    @StuartCreque

    Ah, I remember the good old days of 2008. Back then, the Democrats committed electoral suicide by tossing over their inevitable and highly electable candidate for the unknown and unelectable challenger, while we Republicans went with our best and most electable candidate, the war hero with the moderate, aisle-crossing compromising credibility to appeal to the Independent Middle.

    How we laughed and laughed as the unelectable Democrat made his grandiose pronouncements! What a landslide this was going to be for our side!

    Makes total sense to me to re-run our 2008 game plan. Hey, if we do it enough times, eventually we’re bound to win… someday….

    • #23
  24. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Stuart Creque: Ah, I remember the good old days of 2008. Back then, the Democrats committed electoral suicide by tossing over their inevitable and highly electable candidate for the unknown and unelectable challenger, while we Republicans went with our best and most electable candidate, the war hero with the moderate, aisle-crossing compromising credibility to appeal to the Independent Middle.

    How we laughed and laughed as the unelectable Democrat made his grandiose pronouncements! What a landslide this was going to be for our side!

    Makes total sense to me to re-run our 2008 game plan. Hey, if we do it enough times, eventually we’re bound to win… someday…. · 18 minutes ago

    I really have no idea what you could even be talking about. Who ever said that Obama was “unelectable?” He certainly never had poll numbers anywhere near as pathetic as Newt’s. He was always very well liked by the American people, and we were running scared that entire year.

    • #24

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