With just 5 days until the Iowa Caucuses, Team Newt is “managing expectations” for Gingrich’s crash and burn.
On Wednesday evening around 6:30 ET, Newt Gingrich strategist Joe DeSantis declared the Gingrich surge in Iowa officially over.
“Oh I think anywhere in the top five would be surviving Iowa,” DiSantis told CNN.
Just a couple weeks ago, Gingrich was riding high in Iowa, leading by huge margins. DeSantis acknowledged that his candidate is no longer in “the top tier” however, chalking up the decline to the blanket of negative ads that have been run against Gingrich since he surged.
“I don’t care what candidate’s in the race, if they get $9 million in negative advertisements against them they’re going to drop in the polls,” he said. “Considering we’ve been outspent 30-1 on the air, that still being very competitive for fourth place right now and, frankly, really not that far off from being in the top tier in Iowa still is pretty impressive.”
The latest polls find Romney having regained the lead, with Ron Paul now dropping to second, Gingrich dropping to fourth rapidly, and if anything, Rick Santorum gaining a bit of momentum as he’s now in third. Gingrich has disintegrated, going from 33% to 14% and falling.
But Mitt can’t seem to break that 25% mark. That means a vast majority of Republicans still want him to jump off the nearest pier. That probably explains why Newt is talking about sticking around after finishing fifth or so: whoever does drop out after Iowa would end up giving their votes to, well, anybody but Mitt. And it’s not going to take much to beat Mitt’s weak showing down the road.
And for now, that may be enough to keep everyone alive for a while. If Mitt does win Iowa, but manages to win with a showing involving 30-35% at best, it’s still anyone’s ball game, no matter how much Romney wants to declare the primary season over on January 4.