Mitt Romney is getting nervous. After seemingly securing a landslide victory In South Carolina, Romney has had an awful week that has caused his numbers to plummet. So much so, that his main rival, Newt Gingrich, has taken the lead in multiple polls, including a Clemson University Poll that shows Gingrich in the lead with 32%. Romney has 26%. The poll was released only 24 hours before the vote. Even New York Times pollster Nate Silver gave Gingrich an 87% chance of winning South Carolina by a 10 point margin. That’s a strong prediction.
If these numbers hold true, and Newt Gingrich does indeed win South Carolina, which I believe he will, it shows how weak Mitt Romney really is. Many conservatives and Tea Party supporters are firmly against Romney, believing him to be a moderate. That’s bad news for Romney, especially in the South.
This isn’t that surprising when you consider the bad week Romney has had. He has been hammered consistently for not releasing his tax returns and was even booed during a GOP Debate earlier this week when he danced around whether he would release multiple years of returns. Romney is also taking heat for admitting that he only pays a 15% tax rate, which is lower than what most ordinary Americans pay, and is taking hits because of reports that he has millions of dollars stashed in an offshore account in the Cayman Islands.
All of this has drained the energy out of the Romney campaign in South Carolina. So Mitt Romney has apparently had to bus in supporters from Virginia and Washington DC to add energy to Romney rallies on primary day, though a Romney spokesman has denied this. Most of these supporters are Mormon students from Brigham Young University. That’s why you’re seeing more energetic crowds at Romney events today.
Two weeks ago, Romney had a 19 point lead over Gingrich and because he has dodged questions about his taxes, South Carolinians are swinging to Gingrich because they believe Romney has something he is trying to hide. Even if Romney loses and does manage to secure the nomination anyway, it’s clear that conservatives are not that energetic about him, and that’s good news for President Obama. Stay tuned for more South Carolina primary news and updates, including the results of today’s vote.