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Friday, January 27, 2012

The bottom line: Republican primary voters WANT to be fed with the red meat of hate
Posted by Jill | 5:35 AM
Perhaps we can stop pretending now that the reason for Newt Gingrich's support is because he's a smart fella who understands the plight of the working man and recognize that it's because he's the living, breathing talking id of the voter whose primary motivation is racial, ethnic, and religious hate.

Nate Silver notes (NYT link) that the more Newt Gingrich invokes poor {black} people with no work ethic and {black} food stamp recipients, the more support he has. And when he makes even a feeble attempt to be a "statesman", his support plummets:
At Monday’s debate in Tampa, Fla., it was Mr. Gingrich who pulled his punches, adopting a subdued approach and declining opportunities to attack the other candidates. His strategy, like Mr. Romney’s a week earlier, perhaps looked good in the playbook: the initial polls after South Carolina had shown Mr. Gingrich surging to a lead in Florida, and perhaps Mr. Gingrich thought he could look more like a front-runner by adopting a less combative and more magnanimous approach.

But Republican voters, once more, did not react well: Mr. Gingrich has since lost considerable ground in the polls and now trails Mr. Romney in Florida. It is not necessarily clear that the debate was the only cause of this. Nevertheless, Mr. Gingrich entered Thursday evening trailing Mr. Romney in the polls and needing a win in the second debate.

Instead, Mr. Gingrich seemed to be playing for a draw. He passed upon several opportunities to push back at Mr. Romney, despite being expressly presented with opportunities to do so — on health care, on Ronald Reagan’s legacy, on immigration, and on Mr. Romney’s personal finances among other issues. The only exception came when Mr. Gingrich alleged that Mr. Romney had invested in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — but this was met with a strong rebuttal by Mr. Romney, who seemed well prepared for the attack.

I strongly suspect that Mr. Gingrich will extend the losing streak for this passive debate strategy. There aren’t any post-debate polls yet, but the betting market Intrade might provide a preview of them. By the time the evening was done, Mr. Gingrich’s chances of winning Florida had plummeted to 10 percent from 25 percent in the market, and his chances of winning the Republican nomination had dropped to about 5 percent from 10 percent.

Of course there are four full days left before Tuesday's Florida primary, so Gingrich has plenty of time to toss out meat and bone and sinew to the hatemongers who are still so busy pointing down the ladder at those who are still further down than they are to notice the guys up above them hungrily eyeing the last two bucks in their pockets.

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