All the male commentators and pundits got it wrong! Marianne Gingrich’s sorrowful remembrances of her marriage to Newt have, indeed, arisen to bite the former Speaker’s candidacy.
Both the Rasmussen and the Monmouth University Polls show Romney pulling ahead of Gingrich in Florida. After the former Speaker opened the primary with a nine point lead, he now trails Romney in both surveys by almost ten points. Monmouth has Romney ahead by 39-32 and Rasmussen has him up by eight at 39-31.
There are, of course, many reasons for this turnaround: Romney’s attacks on Newt over Freddie Mac are scoring, especially because Gingrich was unable to give a good explanation of what he did for the money in the Monday debate. Newt’s attacks on Romney focus on his flip flopping and Romney care, negatives that have already received quite an airing over TV in the debates and are old news. Either voters buy Romney’s explanations or they don’t, but a negative ad is not likely to do much one way or the other.
But the gender breakouts in the Monmouth Poll tell the story: Newt is ahead among men by 5 points but trails among women by 19!!! This 24 point gender gap can only be attributable to the Marianne Gingrich interview aired on Thursday night of last week. It had no immediate impact on the South Carolina vote two days later, nor was it in evidence in the post-South Carolina polls in Florida. But, after a round of breakfast table conversations and talks over lunch, women have reached a verdict: They are not voting for Gingrich.
Monmouth has Newt winning men by 38-33 and losing women by 45-26. This stunning turnaround mirrors poll findings at the start of the presidential race when Gingrich was winning twice as many men as women. But the former Speaker had closed the gender gap in subsequent polls only to have it open up wide now with his presidential ambitions squarely on the line.
There is, of course, a debate tonight and Newt often wins such contests. Much could change, but it looks bad for Gingrich among women in the Florida balloting.