Newt: I Will be the Nominee

December 2, 2011 - 7:34 AM

We can say this about our friend Newt Gingrich: He has never suffered from public self-doubt.

On the strength of a string of polls showing the GOP conservative base has fallen in love with him Newt told ABC News' Jake Tapper: "I'm going to be the nominee. It's very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I'm going to be the nominee."

A Rasmussen poll which was taken on Wednesday shows Newt with 38 percent to Mitt Romney's 17 percent among likely voters. Even being mathematically challenged I know that is a 21 percentage point lead.

The rest of the field is in single digits: Cain & Paul are at 8; Perry, Bachmann and Santorum are at 4, and Huntsman continues to trail the field with three percent.

If there were a national primary and it was scheduled for this Saturday, Newt would probably be correct. He might be correct anyway, but it's a little early to be taking a victory lap.

The Iowa caucuses will not occur until a month from tomorrow. New Hampshire is a week later. South Carolina will be held on January 21 and the Florida primary will be ten days after that.

I have not focused on anything past Florida but it bears looking at.

In February the states which will choose delegates are Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota and Michigan.

March will bring 19 states into focus including 10 on March 6

Eight states will select delegates in April. Seven in May and seven states will wrap up the process in June including California and New Jersey on June 5

This is December 2 and there is likely to be a long way to go.

Dear Mr. Mullings:

What if Newt wins Iowa and South Carolina and generates enough forward momentum to win Florida?

Signed,
The National Debate Scheduling Association

That would certainly help make Gingrich's case, but keep in mind that under Republican National Committee rules any caucus or primary held before April, "… shall provide for the allocation of delegates on a proportional basis."

Whoa! Really? So the bulk of primaries and caucuses will be decided on a proportional basis instead of the traditional winner-take-all.

That's sort of the way the Dems have done it and it is what led to Hillary and Obama duking it out through June four years ago.

Proportional awarding of delegates means that as long as a candidate doesn't get skunked in a big state, he or she will be able to stay in the game for a long time - so long as the money keeps coming in.

What it also means is that someone like Gingrich will probably not be able to claim victory even if he outright wins Iowa, South Carolina and Florida because he is unlikely to win any of those with 100 percent of the votes.

On the other hand, Obama didn't have to win any state with 100 percent of the votes to have built up an insurmountable lead over Mrs. Clinton in the waning days of the Democratic primary season four years ago.

He won by enough so that Clinton had to win an overwhelming victory in some of the later states to be able to catch up.

The California and New Jersey primaries, because they occur in June, will be winner-take-all and June 5 might be the day that decides this nominating fight.

That's a couple of days more than six months from now.

As I have told you, I have packed up my crystal ball and put it in the hall closet so I have no idea if this will go all the way to next June, but I am pretty sure that Newt claiming to be the nominee a month before the first Hawkeye trudges into the first high school gym is, at best, premature and at worst, an example of dangerous Newtonian hubris.

On the Secret Decoder Ring today: A link to the ABC News interview in which Newt claims he will be the nominee; one to that Rasmussen poll, and one to the Wikipedia list of primary dates. Also an amusing Mullfoto and a Catchy Caption of the Day calling into question the sufficiency of a border fence with Mexico.