It’s easy to dismiss the Gingrich surge as just the next flavor of the week. Two reasons why he may last longer than the others: First, 43 percent of his supporters say they’re with him for the long haul, which is substantially higher than the numbers for the two other frontrunners (see the McClatchy link below). And second…where else could Republicans possibly go from here? The only three left in the race who haven’t had their 15 minutes are Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum. Which means if Gingrich fails his audition, there’s pretty much only one viable candidate left waiting in the wings.
Here are the polls that are undoubtedly giving Rick Santorum room for hope. First, McClatchy:
— Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, 23 percent;
—Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, 19 percent;
—Cain, the former restaurant executive, 17 percent;
And the CBS News poll:
The field of Republican candidates now has three candidates within striking distance of each other at the top of the list: with 18 percent, Herman Cain is in the top spot, followed by Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich with 15% each. Support for both Cain and Romney has declined since late last month, and Gingrich is the only one of the top three whose support is steadily – if slowly – on the upswing.
While Cain still leads in the CBS News poll, there are plenty of signs that he’s on the downswing. His support among women has plummeted from 28 percent to 15 percent in the last month, and he’s lost conservative and Tea Party backers. Most Republicans are still sticking by Cain, with 60 percent saying the allegations won’t impact their vote. But 30 percent say the scandal makes them less likely to support him.