Gingrich Takes Turn As GOP's Latest Anti-Romney

Newt Gingrich.

Newt Gingrich. Ethan Miller/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Ethan Miller/Getty Images

First it was Michele Bachmann, then Rick Perry, then Herman Cain. Now it appears to be Newt Gingrich's turn to be the top anti-Mitt Romney candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows the former Republican House speaker essentially tied with the former Massachusetts governor. Romney was at 24 percent, Gingrich at 22 percent. The margin of error was +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Cain, who has been beset by sexual harassment charges, has plummeted in this poll, going from 25 percent about a month ago to 14 percent in the latest poll which was conducted from Nov. 11-13.

In another survey, this one conducted by Public Policy Polling, Cain does much better, with 25 percent support. That was essentially a tie with Gingrich whose support was pegged at 28 percent. Romney was at 18 percent. (The MOE was +/- 4.1 percentage points.)

Not all polls show the same Gingrich surge. A survey by Lake Research Partners and The Tarrance Group for Politico/George Washington shows Cain at 27 percent, Romney at 25 percent and Gingrich at 14 percent.

Gingrich's sudden ascent in some national polls has more to do with the obviously intense dislike so many conservatives have for Romney who for his inconstancy on issues than an excitement about Gingrich. Also, conservatives running out of options.

Still, there's no denying that Gingrich is enjoying a moment in the Republican sun in a nomination race that seems to reward, at least for a little while, any candidate not named Romney who hangs around. If Tim Pawlenty isn't kicking himself, he should be.

Gingrich has plenty of doubters still. After much of his campaign staff in Iowa and New Hampshire quit several months ago and with a career that has given opposition researchers much material, Gingrich isn't expected to last.

As blogger Neil Stevens wrote on RedState.org of the Gingrich moment:

"The vetting will happen, the opposition will act, and that number will not last. As with Cain and Perry before him, Gingrich will take a beating."

And as Jamelle Bouie writes on the American Prospect's VoxPop blog:

"Like Bachmann, Perry, and Herman Cain before him, Gingrich is basking in the spotlight generated by a desperate conservative movement. As soon as it becomes clear that Gingrich is a terrible choice for facing Barack Obama, they'll turn their attention elsewhere."

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