Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has defeated the national media in South Carolina by a margin of 54 percent to 14 percent, according to a survey conducted by a Democratic polling firm.
The poll, conducted by Raleigh, N.C.-based Public Policy Polling (PPP), interviewed 1,540 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters from Jan. 18 to Jan. 20. It showed that 54 percent of those voters said they had a favorable opinion of Gingrich while 37 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of him.
At the same time, only 14 percent said they had a favorable opinion of the media, while 77 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of the media.Andrew Grossman writes at The Wall Street Journal:
South Carolinians placed an even higher priority on beating President Obama than did their counterparts in Iowa and New Hampshire. About one-third of voters in each of the other two early states told pollsters that the ability to defeat Mr. Obama was the most important candidate quality. In South Carolina, 45% said that was their highest priority, according to exit poll data released by CNN. Half of them voted for Mr. Gingrich, while fewer than four in 10 voted for Mr. Romney.
Similarly, a far larger proportion of South Carolina voters said the economy was the most important issue than did their counterparts in Iowa and New Hampshire. If South Carolinians had followed the pattern of voters in previous states on which candidate they favored on the economy, that would have meant a big win for Mr. Romney. But they didn't. Four in 10 of those voters backed Mr. Gingrich Saturday, while one-third backed Mr. Romney.Byron York in The Washington Examiner:
For one thing, all the talk about Romney having a hugely superior ground organization turned out not to be true. "They did not do the retail politics that a Santorum and a Gingrich have done over time," said Kevin Thomas, chairman of the Fairfield County Republican Party. (Thomas was neutral in the race.) "I think Newt's people, they had more on-the-ground staff, and they worked." There were a lot of them, too; after Gingrich's strong showing in the debates, said Susan Meyers, Gingrich's media coordinator for the Southeast, "We have so many volunteers, our phones are melting right now."
Gingrich's campaign was also faster and more nimble than the Romney battleship. "There is a very strong contrast between the two campaign organizations," said Gingrich adviser (and former George W. Bush administration official) Kevin Kellems. "In military terms, it's speed versus mass. Newt Gingrich's operation, and Newt Gingrich as a man, has a great deal of speed -- intellectual speed, decisiveness. The Romney campaign is much more about money and size, having hired half of Washington D.C. And sometimes, speed beats mass."
Romney stages perfect events ... in every sense but engaging with the voters....In this primary race, voters are hungry for substance, and Romney didn't give them much.