It¹s too early to count Newt Gingrich out of the Republican presidential race despite his fourth-place showing in the cliffhanger Iowa caucuses, pollster Matt Towery insists.
The former House speaker now has time to respond to vicious attack ads that hurt him badly in the Hawkeye State.
And he has to grasp that opportunity and hit back against main rival Mitt Romney in the crucial upcoming primaries in South Carolina and Florida, Towery says in an exclusive interview with Newsmax.
Gingrich finished 11 percentage points behind Romney in Iowa. The former Massachusetts governor defeated former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum by just eight votes out of 121,000 cast, with Texas Rep. Ron Paul coming in third.
“The national polling has Romney and Gingrich tied,” Towery pointed out. The reason is because those really very tough attack ads running against Gingrich in Iowa have not run nationwide.
“If Gingrich begins to fight back and he gets money in his pocket – lets say he should win South Carolina – the whole national scene could change because he would have the money to be competitive in Florida,” said Towery. “If South Carolina creates a new winner, then Florida will be the state that decides the whole thing.”
Towery’s company, InsiderAdvantage, predicted the Iowa results better than virtually any other poll. It had Romney hanging on to a narrow lead with Santorum rising fast. “He was moving up very quickly,” the pollster said.
One of the questions going into next week’s New Hampshire primary is where supporters of Michele Bachmann – who announced today that she was suspending her campaign after a disappointing sixth place finish in her birth state of Iowa – will go.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry could also be gone by the time of South Carolina’s Jan. 21 primary. On Tuesday night he hinted he was quitting, but on Wednesday tweeted that he was going on.
“There are a lot of conservative votes, particularly in South Carolina, that are still out there that could go to Gingrich or Santorum,” said Towery.
“What Romney wants is to have Gingrich and Santorum split the conservative vote in South Carolina. But South Carolina is a very tricky state. People think of it as an evangelical state. It’s really not. It nominated John McCain, who is hardly viewed as an evangelical.”
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