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Friday, January 20, 2012

Has Newt Caught his White Whale?

On January 11, I wrote the following about Newt Gingrich's obsession with taking down Mitt Romney:

Gingrich might be on his last breath, but with hate's sake, he'll spit his last breath at Romney. Mitt Romney, my friends, is rapidly becoming Newt Gingrich's white whale. . . . He [will] pile upon the Romney's white hump the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down. If his chest was a cannon, he would shoot his heart upon it.

Nearly every phrase was taken from Herman Melville's "Moby Dick," the classic American tale of a ship captain obsessed with catching the sperm whale that had taken his leg. The analogy, here, is clear. Pro-Romney SuperPACs dismantled the Gingrich candidacy toward the end of December. Gingrich, once flying on top of national, Iowa, South Carolina, and Florida polls, was decimated by the attacks. Like Ahab lost his leg to the whale, Gingrich lost his lead to the Romney.

Since then, of course, Gingrich has seemed to be on a single-minded focus in the 2012 Republican Primary. Sure, he wants to win; but if his ship is going down, he wants Romney to go down with him. Ahab's rage thrust him across the seas as the crazed Captain was willing to sacrifice himself to gain his revenge. Similarly, an irate Gingrich has been on a nearly suicidal mission in South Carolina.

Ultimately, Ahab found his whale, but it cost him his life and ship. Is Gingrich, however, re-writing the end? Don't look now, but Newt Gingrich has taken the lead in three South Carolina polls. That link refers you to the Real Clear Politics polls. Take a look at this trend:

On 1/16, Rasmussen reported a 14-point lead for Romney.
On 1/17, NBCNews/Marist reported a 10-point lead for Romney.
On 1/18, Politico/Tarrance reported a 7-point lead for Romney.
But that last poll was taken across 1/17 and 1/18. The following polls began on 1/18:
On 1/18, PPP reported a 6-point lead for GINGRICH. Insider had it as a 3-point lead. Rasmussen had it at a 2-point lead. Today PPP reaffirmed its 6-point lead for Gingrich.

The Rasmussen polls most interest me. Rasmussen reported a 14-point lead for Romney on 1/16, but that same polling service reports a 2-point lead for Gingrich just two days later. That's a 16-point swing by the same polling company. That is an incredible turnaround.

It's also a clear pattern across the polls. An enormous lead for Romney--one he had four days ago--has completely evaporated.

In its place is a lead for Captain Ahab.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ahab also believes that he stood for -- and stood up for -- all mankind in the eternal struggle against nature. In the same way, sort of, Captain Newt is standing for all the ugliness, racism, and greed of the Republican party, brandishing it boldly, blatantly, as if it were a matter of existential honor. Let's hope he carries that message almost all the way to the White House. So everybody knows.

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