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In presidential primary politics, one of the most oft repeated stories is the upset winner who briefly takes a lead, only to give it back.   A week and a half ago Gingrich completely remade the race in a South Carolina debate, and earlier this week took a clear lead in Florida.

But in the last 48 hours it is clear that lead has receeded.  The following table shows what has happened:
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On thing to note is how close Romney's numbers in the last day are to his pre-debate average.  Gingrich is still well above where he was before South Carolina, but Romney is almost where he was two weeks ago.  

Florida is awash in negative advertising.  Last night about 1 ads in 4 were from either pro-Romney or pro-Gingrich forces, and all the advertising was negative.  The good news for Democrats is that this is taking its toll on the Republicans.  The new Quinnipiac Poll shows Romney is 43 postive, 37 negative versus the January 11th poll which found Romney's favorables at 49 postive and 29 negative.  With an 8 point jump in negatives in half a week, it will be interesting to see just how much damage the GOP does to itself this week.  Clearly it is in our interests to see this fight continue.

This shows the information in graph form.  
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This patter is not unusual.  Let's look at two examples, both from the New Hampshire Primary:

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The two examples are very similar to what we have seen in Florida this week.  

What to make all of this.  IMHO Gingrich has been way off message.  He took off in South Carolina by feeding the GOP red meat in a direct (and arguably rascist) way.  Since arriving in Florida he has been involved in exchanges with Romney over ethics.  Moreover, yesterday Gingrich was involved in a disasterous exhange with Rubio of an immigration ad he was running. Rubio is officially neutral, but he certainly gave Romney a huge lift here yesterday, and the polling above doesn't take this latest exchange into account.

The lesson of the GOP cycle in some ways is debate uber alles.  Debates gave Bachman the lead briefly, destroyed Perry and revived Gingrich in South Carolina.  This means this race is far from over, but to win Florida Gingrich will need a strong performance tonight.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

    by fladem on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 09:47:59 AM PST

  •  Crap (6+ / 0-)

    I still think Obama beats rMoney, but the House and Senate picture would look a lot better with the Newt scaring off the moderates. Maybe with tonight's debate crowd free to hoot and holler, Newt can work up a frenzy and claw his way back into the race.

  •  The lesson is that both guys suck, and as soon (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, Supavash, BasharH, NYFM, LucyGoose

    as one looks like he's ready to lock the nomination up, the GOP upchucks.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 10:01:16 AM PST

  •  This is making me sad. If Romney ends up carrying (7+ / 0-)

    Florida by a solid 8-10 point margin, I think there's a good chance he can wrap this up by Super Tuesday.

    We need a good Newt debate performance tonight!

  •  No. Romney in a long campaign will flatline. It's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jennyp

    highly unlikely he'll have any rabid support from teabaggers, evangelicals, far right deadenders, etc. Granted there's apossibility Newt could give Obama and Democrats a massive win, Willard is a safer opponent. And it looks like Newt and Paul will drag this out at least into April anyway.

    I'm especially interested to see how Arizona (senate, pres. and House) go, also southeastern Pa., Va., and NC.
    And will Indiana anti-labor law lead to Democrats doing well there?

  •  Thanks for this post, fladem. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, fladem

    As a fellow Floridian, I just heard the electability argument resurface with FL NPR reporting the Quinnipiac poll showing that the president and Romney are exactly tied.

    Must admit this is depressing.  With our horrible governor, I thought that would help the president.  I've been viewing the charts of Romney hemorrhaging independent support, yet, NPR's reporting asserted that the indie vote is still equally divided.  

  •  Hmm, would love to see some cross tabs... (0+ / 0-)

    And some PPP or Q poll results.  I didn't think Ras, IA, and ARG were all that reliable.  This is still narrative time and the polling outfits will come up with whatever numbers they want.  I would look for the post-debate polling very close to the voting date when the polling companies try to outdo one another for accuracy.

    At any rate, I'll root for the extended primary thanks very much.  :)

    The most dangerous... programs, from a movement conservative's point of view, are the ones that work the best and thereby legitimize the welfare state. Krugman

    by BasharH on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 01:05:07 PM PST

  •  gingrich will go ballistic tonight (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    he tried looking responsible and presidential last time out while RMoney unconvincingly played attack dog. This time out, I think he's learned his lesson. He'll let his inner Newt out in all it's raging glory. I expect him to be in full attack mode right from the beginning of the opening bell.

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