Gingrich, Romney, Santorum even, Ga. poll says

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 7:07 AM
Last updated 7:02 PM
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A new poll pegs Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum as nearly even in Georgia as its March 6 Republican primary approaches.

Gingrich’s double-digit lead has dried up in less than three weeks, and experts say his White House hopes likely are over if he can’t carry his home state.

In a Monday InsiderAdvantage Georgia poll of 711 likely primary voters, Gingrich, a former long-time Georgia congressman and House speaker, had 26 percent.

Former Massachusetts governor Romney had 24 percent and former Pennsylvania senator Santorum had 23 percent. Texas Rep. Ron Paul trailed with 12 percent.

The margin of error for the poll was 3.6 percent, so Gingrich, Romney and Santorum were about even.

The results signalled a dip of 9 percentage points for Gingrich and a gain of 8 for Romney compared to a Feb. 9 Landmark-Rosetta Stone survey. Santorum slipped 3 points; Paul rose by 7.

Before the new survey, Georgia was the only state in which Gingrich led among 11 where voters will cast ballots on March 6.

“If these numbers are correct,” said Kennesaw State University political scientist Kerwin Swint, “they signal the collapse of Newt as a viable candidate. Georgians may be starting to dismiss him as a serious contender.”

University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock said the poll suggests “a substantial collapse” in Gingrich’s support.

“A whole lot of air is going out of his balloon,” Bullock said. “ ... It’s going to be hard to spin this in any possible way.”

But Gingrich spokeswoman Susan Meyers did her best.

“It’s like Newt said,” Meyers said. “This race is like a ride on a roller coaster. The only poll that will matter will be on March 6, and we’re sure Georgians will want a win for the home team.”

InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery, a friend of Gingrich who’s criticized his tactics, said Gingrich is still competitive.

“The race has tightened,” Towery said. “Romney and Santorum have been on TV, but I still think it’s Newt’s to lose. He’s got a strong Georgia support base and a better organization. He can still win if he gets back on TV.”

There were news reports on Tuesday that Sheldon Adelson, billionaire bankroller of a pro-Gingrich committee, has said he’ll pour more money into ads.

Meanwhile, Gingrich’s campaign announced plans for him to speak at Atlanta-area churches on Sunday.

Swint said the numbers are “very good” for Romney.

“Georgia tends to be a Republican establishment voting state,” he said, “and that means that, as Gingrich slips, Romney picks up support.”

Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg cited what she said is an ongoing trend.

She said Romney’s “positive, limited government message” resonates with Georgia voters.

“Gov. Romney,” she said, “has a conservative vision for job creation — and having spent his life in the private sector, he knows what it takes to get Americans working again.”

Santorum spokeswoman Alice Stewart said the new numbers show Georgia voters appreciate her candidate’s “consistent message of limited government, low taxes and faith and family.”

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wtinney
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wtinney 02/22/12 - 08:25 am
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If Gingrich cannot even swing

If Gingrich cannot even swing his own adopted home state which he served as a Congressmen and, of course, House Speaker (while representing Georgia as well), then he might as well hang up the ole campaign shoes. Santorum will take Georgia as he will take Michigan (and any other midwestern or southern state). Romney will take Eastern shores and likely California, Oregon and Washington. This will be a close GOP primary process - stay tuned!

allhans
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allhans 02/22/12 - 01:18 pm
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One guy told me that he

One guy told me that he guesses he will vote for "that gingrich feller". Folks are voting when they know next to nothing about the candidates.

allhans
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allhans 02/22/12 - 01:21 pm
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The debate tonight could turn

The debate tonight could turn the tide. I plan to watch.
Romney says if he releases of his plans for the country this early in the gmae the Dems will jump all over them, even preempt them. He might be right.

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