With the voting booths scheduled to open tomorrow in Florida, pollsters are all over the place in their predictions about the outcome.
Everybody has Mitt Romney winning. The discrepancy is in the predicted margin, which matters in a primary.
A Suffolk University poll has Romney up by 20, 47 percent to 27 percent. A Quinnipiac poll puts Romney up by 14, 43 percent to 29 percent, up from a nine-point margin a week ago.
But Georgia-based InsiderAdvantage claims the Romney-Gingrich race is tightening, with Romney up by five percentage points, 36-31 percent. Matt Towery, InsiderAdvantage’s founder and owner, has ties to Gingrich, which might be cause for caution. But Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm, has it 39-32.
That’s a fairly wide spread this close to an election, which means somebody is going to have egg on their face when this is over. If the tighter projections prove valid, Gingrich has some justification for continuing to fight, perhaps all the way to the convention as he promises.
A margin of 20 points or more, on the other hand, would pretty much spell the end of the race. That’s particularly true if exit polls show Romney beating Gingrich even among conservative Republicans.
Of course, such a defeat doesn’t necessarily mean that an increasingly bitter Gingrich would withdraw from the race. He feels abused and ill-used by his party’s establishment, and he may decide to stick in the race just to be obstinate. Back in the Iowa days, you may remember, Gingrich was trying to convince everyone that he had really changed and was no longer the angry, combative politician he used to be.
That Grandpa Gingrich act didn’t last very long.
– Jay Bookman