There is no question about it, the Union Leader endorsement of Newt Gingrich in January’s New Hampshire GOP primary was more of a slap in the face to Mitt Romney than a tipping point for Gingrich. Gingrich is unlikely to win the New Hampshire primary, but with new Republican primary rules in place (no longer winner take-all until Spring), and a crowded Republican presidential field, the endorsement could still be very important for Newt Gingrich’s surging presidential campaign not only in New Hampshire but in other nominating contests like Iowa and South Carolina. The Concord Monitor’s Tricia L. Nadolny weighs in:
As pollsters weighed the importance of Newt Gingrich’s New Hampshire Union Leader endorsement, which his campaign described as an “enormous boost,” analysts at the New York Times quantified it.
Nate Silver at the paper’s FiveThirtyEight blog calculated how candidates in recent history were boosted by the endorsement, starting with Ronald Reagan in the 1980 primary. They found that on average, the candidates were polling with 18 percent before the endorsement. On Election Day, the endorsed candidates finished with an average 29 percent of the vote in the state’s primary.
The 11-point increase, Silver points out, is a sizeable advantage.
But the blogger was also quick to suggest caution in inflating the importance, saying the boost is probably not completely due to the Union Leader’s backing.