Political strategist and author Douglas Schoen says Republicans are too quickly falling in line, believing it's a forgone conclusion that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will be their nominee.
"The only problem is, the polls suggest something else, and there is no evidence to suggest any degree of momentum or support rallying the former Massachusetts governor," Schoen writers today in an editorial in Foxnews.com.
Instead, Schoen argues, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich appears to have increasing momentum, and is solidifying his position as the anti-Romney. National polls — three of them in the last week — show Gingrich ahead of the GOP pack by 2-5 points.
Calling Gingrich the "smartest, most creative and most thoughtful candidate running in any party" Schoen says Gingrich leads in a few Iowa polls and is within a few points of Romney in one New Hampshire poll.
And the latter is significant, Schoen says, because it is in this state, and only this state, where Romney enjoys "anything approaching a comfortable margin."
Elsewhere, Schoen says:
"The South Carolina surveys show a commanding 14-15 point lead for Gingrich, and Florida is close to a statistical tie between Romney and Gingrich.
"Moreover, Gingrich has recently positioned himself as a Tea Party conservative, and hence the alternative to Romney. But also, Gingrich is a fairly original thinker. He is somebody who improbably enough might even be able to get back toward the center on at least some issues in a general election against President Obama.
"By speaking about the urgency of immigration reform, Gingrich took a position in the debate Tuesday night which can only benefit him going forward, should he be the nominee, recognizing the absurdity of the Republicans failure to come up with a path to citizenship for the 11 or 12 million people who are there illegally. And by reiterating that he supports the individual mandate on health insurance, Gingrich is in a position to offer an alternative to ObamaCare that is credible and reasonable as the campaign unfolds."
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