Newt And The Base


Bill Kristol is open to him:

Gingrich may not follow the Bachmann-Perry-Cain trajectory of rapid rise and rapid fall. He is a far more experienced national politician than they. He’s a familiar figure. It’s not as if, like Bachmann, he’s making a favorable first impression that will then be qualified, or, like Perry, that the idea of the candidate will be very different from the reality, or that, like Herman Cain, he seems a breath of fresh air. Voters who have warmed to Gingrich in the last few months could of course still have second thoughts, and his rise may stall and reverse. It would indeed be surprising if he doesn’t now hit some bumps in the road. But he could be formidable.

I can see the point against Romney. But formidable against Obama? Seriously? Obama’s current lead over Gingrich is 8.5 points, landslide territory. Newt must be one of the least likable human beings ever to run for public office. Katrina Trinko looks at his standing among social conservatives. The evangelical problem could be severe:

Land has been doing informal focus groups among Southern Baptists for the past two years on Gingrich’s candidacy, as he expected Gingrich to run and be a serious contender. He found that women are especially wary of Gingrich.

“He’s got a gender problem,” Land says. “His toughest audience is going to be evangelical women. Evangelical men, depending on what Newt does and says, are more likely to give him the benefit of the doubt.” Women, on the other hand, have told Land that they would vote for Gingrich “under no circumstances.” If the general election comes down to Gingrich and Obama, they say, they may just not vote.

(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty.)