Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
is shaping up to be the “anti-Romney” in the Republican presidential race, according to a new Newsmax/InsiderAdvantage poll of Iowa caucus voters.
Although the survey showed scandal-plagued Herman Cain still enjoying a substantial lead, InsiderAdvantage head Matt Towery says that will almost certainly not last.
“We found most Republican voters in Iowa were unaware of the latest developments in the Cain case,” Towery said after Thursday night’s poll. “There is a great likelihood that his vote will fall off.”
The poll put Cain at 30% with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 15%. Gingrich was third with 12%, followed by Texas Rep. Ron Paul at
9%, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann at 8%, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at
6% and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman at 2 %.
Five percent said their vote would go for another candidate. Outsiders including former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roehmer and gay rights activist Fred Karger were not included in the poll.
“There are only three real candidates now,” said Towery. “There’s Cain who I believe will begin to drop, Romney who has been squeezed down by the whole Cain surge and is holding on but not gaining traction, and Gingrich who is the next in line.”
Towery said the poll has a margin of error of 4.3%, which would put Gingrich in a statistical dead heat with Romney
in the first state in the nation to register its vote.
Cain’s strong showing was probably because his face has been all over news reports over the past week, the pollster said. “We have to remember that most Americans don’t read political newspapers or websites and these things take quite a while to trickle down.”
He said the importance of the Des Moines Register in Iowa cannot be overstated and that paper has not run the scandal heavily.
Towery said the decision by Cain’s wife Gloria to pull out of an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren is a disaster for his campaign, whatever the reason.
“If the comes out that the campaign pulled her, it will look like they don’t want the harassment claims discussed. If she decided herself not to go on it looks like she feels she cannot defend him. Either way it’s bad.
“It’s a bit like the Salem witch trials – if you’re innocent you drown, if you’re guilty you are burned at the stake.”
Towery, who was due to discuss the results of the Newsmax poll with Sean Hannity on Fox News on Friday night, said the Iowa poll result is important because, as primary season approaches, national polls are becoming less and less relevant.
He admitted there was some irony that three-times married Gingrich should be the person to benefit from another candidate’s sex scandal. But he said Americans have a history of forgiving politicians if they are given time.
“Newt can now say ‘I made my mistakes and I have waited a long time to run for president. In the meantime I converted to Catholicism, I have been married to my current wife for 11 years, I’m a grandparent and now I’m 68 years old.’”
The pollster said the Perry
campaign now seems to be dead, and could be even further hurt because of accusations – since denied – that his camp leaked details of Cain’s past to the website Politico.
Even with the fluid state of anti-Romney opinion within the party, which has seen Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Perry and Cain all rise to the role of front-runner, no campaign has so far managed to “resurrect” itself once it had fallen behind, he pointed out.
But he said he did not believe a much-watched video of an animated speech that Perry gave in New Hampshire last week will hurt him further. “I thought he got his points across well in that speech,” he said.
“I don’t know if he was inebriated, as has been suggested,” said Towery. “But if he was, maybe he should have a couple of swigs of Jim Beam before he goes on the next debate.”
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