Poll: Gingrich Smart, Conservative But Baggage Holds Him Back
The new Huffington Post/ Patch poll of influential conservatives shows former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's appeal and limitations.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has the brains and the ideals to make a run at the White House, but his history and background may hold him back.
That's according to our new Huffington Post/ Patch Power Outsiders poll, which asks influential conservatives in four early voting states (New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Florida) their opinions of the GOP candidates and the issues.
Nearly all respondents said Gingrich, who has been surging in recent South Carolina polls, has the knowledge and experience to make a good president. And most of them believe he takes stands on issues that they agree with. But fully one-third of them do not believe he can win the Republican nomination or beat President Barack Obama in the general election.
When pressed on why, many of them suggested it was his history or baggage holding him back.
In South Carolina, the background may be less of an issue. Nearly 80 percent of those polled said it was still a possibility that they would support Gingrich in the Jan. 21 primary. Or it could just be that South Carolina's conservatives voters continue to search for someone to support other than former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who many don't see as conservative enough.
It's Gingrich's intellect that continues to impress voters, as "smart" and "intelligent" were mentioned again and again when respondents described him in one word. See the word cloud attached for all of the responses given. His recent debate performances, especially Saturday night at Wofford College, is also behind his surge.