Can Gingrich Win South Carolina?

The media buzz is that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is surging in the Palmeto State. Obviously we won't know until Saturday night who the winner is. Political prognosticator Nate Silver has some thoughts at The New York Times:

There are some hints that Newt Gingrich is gaining ground in South Carolina, perhaps at Mitt Romney’s expense. But the evidence is not definitive yet, and this would represent a reversal of a previous trend that had shown Mr. Romney gaining ground there.

Although Mr. Romney had a double-digit lead in interviews conducted on Sunday and Monday night, Mr. Gingrich was actually ahead of Mr. Romney by five points in interviewing conducted on Tuesday night. However, the sample sizes on the daily samples are extremely small, leading to a larger margin of error and making it hard to calibrate demographic weights, so this evidence is tenuous at best.

If you want additional evidence for Mr. Gingrich’s momentum, you have to look beyond South Carolina and toward national polls. A Rasmussen Reports national survey, conducted entirely on Tuesday night, showed Mr. Gingrich closing to within three points of Mr. Romney nationally.

What seems safer to conclude is that no candidate other than Mr. Romney or Mr. Gingrich is likely to win in South Carolina.

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@FordOConnell retweeted @PoliticalQB 2012-01-18 23:45:59 -0500
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published this page in In The News 2012-01-18 23:44:00 -0500
Analysis & Political Strategy