The Gingrich Moment has yet to catch on with National Journal's Political Insiders. Despite former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's surge in the Republican presidential nomination contest, overwhelming majorities of both Democratic and Republican Insiders still say former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has the better shot at beating President Obama in 2012.
Who has a better chance of beating President Obama in 2012, Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney?
(110 votes) (102 votes)
Newt Gingrich 14% 17%
Mitt Romney 86% 83%
For some of the Insiders, Romney's well-oiled campaign and potential for moderate appeal gave him the edge.
"He almost beat a liberal icon in a blue state and went on to win the governor's race," said one Democratic Insider. "He is a very strong general-election candidate."
"Mitt Romney is better positioned to speak to independent voters," said another Democrat, "including key voting blocs like swing unmarried women." A Republican strategist agreed. "Romney is more acceptable to moderate voters, especially female voters."
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Other Republican Insiders named Romney as the stronger candidate, but couldn't muster much enthusiasm about the prospect....
However, the overwhelming refrain from the majority of Insiders on both sides focused on Gingrich's temperament and the unpredictable risks it would create in a general election.
"Winning the presidency is all about discipline, focus, and organization," said one Republican Insider, "none of which are strong suits for Gingrich."
"With Newt, we go to bed every night thinking that tomorrow might be the day he implodes," said another Republican. "Not good for our confidence - or fundraising." A third Republican stated plainly, "Gingrich is not stable enough emotionally to be the nominee - let alone, the president."
"Newt can't take the scrutiny," agreed a Democrat, "and he has the personality of an angry badger."