How big a bounce did Newt Gingrich get out of his South Carolina primary victory? The answer – 17 points. This is based on a Quinnipiac University Poll conducted in Florida before and after the South Carolina primary.
Prior to South Carolina, Gingrich trailed Romney by 11 points, 37-26 percent. After South Carolina, Gingrich led Romney by 6 points, 40-34 percent.
The Gingrich surge in Florida appears to be more of a pro-Gingrich response rather than an anti-Romney reaction. While Romney’s favorability numbers hardly moved, Gingrich’s favorability numbers soared. Prior to South Carolina, 72 percent of likely Republican primary voters had a favorable opinion of Romney. After South Carolina Romney’s favorable number was 70 percent. Gingrich on the other hand went from a 54 percent favorable prior to South Carolina to a 66 percent favorable after South Carolina.
Quinnipiac also asked Florida likely Republican primary voters about a variety of candidate attributes. Gingrich improved on all of these attributes with his biggest gains on electability, being inspiring, competence, and handling a crisis. To measure electability Quinnipiac asked voters which Republican candidate is best described as being able to defeat Barack Obama in the general election. Before the South Carolina primary Romney led Gingrich on that question by 29 points, 55-26 percent. However, after South Carolina, Gingrich had closed the gap to 3 points , with 45 percent for Romney and 42 percent for Gingrich.
The key question is how long Gingrich’s bounce will last. With less than a week to go before the primary we will know the answer to that question shortly.