Santorum Exit Wouldn’t Help Gingrich

The First Read gang cites a new NBC poll that shows no bounce for Newt Gingrich is Rick Santorum quits the race:

Santorum’s vote splits off evenly if he’s removed, and Romney has an even WIDER lead over Gingrich, 49%-33%. So, Gingrich can’t make the argument that if conservatives weren’t divided he would win. The numbers just don’t bear that out. What’s really interesting — Santorum probably could argue that if GINGRICH weren’t in the race, he’d have a better chance against Romney. Santorum’s image is as good as it’s been since the campaign began.

Musing to myself this morning on this question, I reckoned that perhaps 2/3 of his supporters would go to Newt Gingrich and the remaining 1/3 to Mitt Romney. I reasoned that, while Gingrich was more ideologically similar, a large number of the supporters of staunch family man Santorum could not stomach the serial adultering Gingrich. Apparently, though, the latter group is much larger than I’d guessed.

While Santorum’s extreme religious views, which amount to bigotry in some cases, mean I couldn’t vote for him in November, he does come across as earnest and, at least within the context of a belief system I despise, decent. Indeed, it would seem that, if Gingrich were really interested in maximizing the chances for a conservative to knock off Romney, he’d quit the race rather than the other way around.

via Taegan Goddard

 

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, James Joyner, Quick Picks, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. FWIW, I get the impression that many Santorum supporters have already given Gingrich a look-over and found him wanting for one reason or another. Otherwise they would have jumped on his bandwagon in December, or during the pre-South Carolina surge. If that’s the case, then maybe this isn’t entirely surprising.




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  2. Brummagem Joe says:

    But this is purely a Florida poll where Romney has been carpet bombing at vast expense for weeks. It doesn’t automatically follow that this would be replicated across the country. I’m not a great fan of Gingrich by any means but there’s such an anti Gingrich house effect here that no one want to conside info objectively.




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  3. PJ says:

    Question is, how many of those supporting Santorum will look at the Mormon and the serial adulterer and either stay home or pick a third party candidate?




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  4. john personna says:

    Before this election, my exposure to Mr. Santorum was low. Having seen and heard a bit more from him, I at once respect him more, but am more confident that he has strange ideas. He’s an upright fellow, with strange ideas. Heh. That is at least an improvement over the Palins and the Bachmans who still seem a bit flaky and strange.

    Santorum would make a great candidate in an alternate reality.




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  5. legion says:

    I’d guess that someone who tries to vote the way they believe (and I think it’s safe to say religion is the driving force behind pretty much all of Santorum’s base) might find it easier to to overlook Romney’s Mormonism than Gingrich’s utter lack of morals. Say what you want about flip-flopping, Romney’s religion is about the only thing he _has_ held fast to, while Gingrich has converted for each of his affairs/spare wives.

    Of course, if religious morals are really the deciding factor in who you vote for, you should probably reconsider voting Republican at any level, but that’s just me trolling…




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  6. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    If morals, religious or secular, are really the deciding factor in who you vote for, the best stance would seem to gravitate toward not voting at all. However, for those people, I have a quote from Martin Luther:

    I would rather be ruled by a wise Saracin than by a foolish bishop.




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