It comes as no suprise that Newt Gingrich’s star is beginning to fade in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination. Like others before him, Gingrich shot up to front runner status on the backs of voters who are looking for "anybody but Romney." And like those other flavour of the week candidates, his numbers are returning to earth, especially in the all important state of Iowa.
It was always going to be a tough road for Gingrich in Iowa. His numbers in statewide polls were much higher than he ever could have expected on caucus day. In Iowa’s strange caucus system, it is organization that matters most. A strong on-the-ground operation and a vast dedicated army of volunteers to get out the vote is what will put a candidate over the top in the Hawkeye state. Think Barack Obama in 2008. Gingrich has never had that kind of organization and he will suffer for it.
It was also hard to imagine Gingrich pulling in the true conservative vote that has been so dissatisfied with Romney. As soon as Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry began running negative advertisements against Gingrich across the state, Newt’s numbers began to fall.
The question now is who will benefit from Gingrich’s misfortune. Conservatives are still not sold on Romney and will likely divide their vote between Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum. This will probably set up a two way race between Romney and the libertarian minded Ron Paul. Should Ron Paul squeak out a victory, the wrath of the Republican establishment and the liberal media will come down on him like a hammer. Whatever the scenario, Mitt Romney is looking more confident and comfortable than he has in weeks.