Gallup confirms that this has become a two-man race in its latest “acceptability” poll:
Newt Gingrich (62 percent) and Mitt Romney (54 percent) are the only two candidates Republicans say would be acceptable presidential nominees from their party, emphasizing the degree to which the GOP race has narrowed down to these two men at this juncture. A majority of Republicans say each of the other six candidates measured would not be acceptable nominees.
Interesting, but it’s hard to put much stock in polling like this. As Allahpundit writes, “partisans have a funny way of convincing themselves that a candidate is acceptable once he starts to look inevitable.” If you remember from this extensive Pew Poll over the summer, a full 48 percent of GOP voters said there was “no chance” they’d pull the lever for Gingrich. Now, just 34 percent of Republicans say he’s “not acceptable,” according to Gallup. I guess the prospect of a Romney nomination has pushed some Republicans to consider options they never would have dreamed of just a few months ago.
And speaking of desperate measures, some conservative pundits, who see Gingrich as unelectable and Romney as untrustworthy, have been taking a second look at Jon Huntsman this week. George Will writes that both Romney and Gingrich are unacceptable, while Huntsman’s “program is the most conservative.” Meanwhile, Jim Pethokoukis outlined the case for Huntsman, urging conservatives to look past the poor first impression.