CNN and QUINNIPIAC released some mind boggling poll numbers this morning that have folks in the Romney Campaign and the White House a bit rattled.
CNN shows Newt leading Romney in Iowa 33% to 20%. In South Carolina CNN has Newt pounding Romney 43% to 20%. And in the important swing state of Florida CNN has Newt blowing away Romney 48% to 25%. Adding credence to the CNN numbers is a QUINNIPIAC poll in the swing state of Ohio that shows Newt hammering Romney 55% to 28%.
But the most telling poll of them all is the QUINNIPIAC poll that shows Newt leading the President 43% to 42% in Ohio. In spite of all his baggage Newt is in a statistical tie with the President in what has historically been the most important state in the election process.
Political pundits believe that this is a Newt bubble that will eventually burst. They feel that once people start really delving into the substance of these candidates voters will find that when it comes to policy Newt very rarely practices what he preaches.
Establishment Republicans are hoping the pundits are right. They believe that they have a very real chance of taking the House, the Senate and the White House. They see Newt’s nomination as a disaster for local Republican candidates; and they don’t believe that he can defeat the President in a general election. They are hoping that Romney can find it within himself to show some fight.
Romney’s reserved and stoic demeanor has not served him well. Newt’s combative personality has resonated with the voters. Romney is going to have to demonstrate that he wants the job badly enough to leave his comfort zone and go toe to toe with Newt.
It was just a few short weeks ago that Newt’s campaign was dead in the water. His staff had abandoned him. He was drowning in debt. His bombast and loose cannon mouth had brought him nothing but trouble. Today he is riding the wave…leading the polls. Whether he can maintain this momentum and raise enough money to fight off the well funded Romney onslaught that is about to rain down upon him remains to be seen.
Newt’s rise in the polls feels different to us than the similar rise of Bachmann, Perry or Cain. It’s hard to put a finger on just why…but it does feel different. More real!
If nothing else these poll numbers show us that people are very, very angry and dissatisfied with the way Washington is run; and Newt has surged at just the right time to take advantage of that unrest. In 2008 voters turned on the Republican Washington establishment and elected a black Democratic outsider to the White house. In 2010 they expressed their dissatisfaction once again by sweeping away the Democrats and giving Republicans control of the House. Will similar changes be in store in 2012?