Why Newt may be down, but not out.
There are many pundits who are predicting that Newt could be out by tonight, and that is certainly a possibility. Afterall, Newt has been the recipient of the pretentious Romney attack machine that drove the other candidates to hate him in 2008 and he may want to get his revenge by getting behind Perry, just as Rudy and others dropped out early in 2008 and got behind McCain to stop Romney. But I think counting Newt out is premature for a number of reasons:
1) Newt has got $9 million in the bank. That’s a decent sized war chest going into South Carolina and Florida. It certainly does not match Romney’s money and even Perry’s money, but it is a good amount to remain competitive. Plus…
2) Newt has gone on the offensive against Romney. No one has touched Romney with any consequence thus far in the race and Newt has realized simply relying on a positive campaign without drawing a contrast with your competition is not enough. Newt will and SHOULD finally contrast Romney’s record with his, while also laying out his positive vision for America.
3) Where would “peeled-off” Romney support go? The vehemently anti-Newt support reconsidering Romney may go to Perry, but I think much of the neutral Romney support will go to Newt.
4) Debates begin again this weekend. This is typically where Newt has shined. He has to have an INCREDIBLE performance and he’s got to go after Romney. If he does that he’s still very much alive.
With much of the voter base undecided and looking for an alternative, don’t expect Newt to drop out just yet. It’s certainly possible, but unless he does terribly, don’t count him out.