Newt Gingrich’s strong South Carolina victory provides little reason for Republicans to celebrate. To some extent because the former Speaker, would he go on to win the nomination, is nearly unelectable. His temper is not to his advantage, and he carries enough baggage to resemble a donkey, in spite of his party affiliation.
However, it remains relatively unlikely that he will end up on top. The markets give him a 29% chance, considerably up from before the South Carolina win, but still far behind Mitt Romney, who sits at 64%. What Mr Gingrich’s victory did show, is that Mr Romney is not as strong as he has appeared. His performance in the CNN debate leading up to his loss was sub-par, and the exit polls suggest that he lost a significant number of voters there. The Obama team is surely paying attention.
Mr Romney is currently behind Mr Gingrich in the Florida polls. He needs something to break the trend. Since his loss, he has dropped to having a 28% chance at the presidency, down from well above 40%.