Newt Gingrich has found one issue Americans of all political stripes can come together over: their mutual dislike of him.
When the race to 2012 first started to gain steam early this year, Gingrich was seen as a viable contender, a big-name Republican with a strong brand and the cash to back a White House bid. But after a bungled rollout marred by gaffes and controversies, the always polarizing Gingrich has alienated not just Democrats, but his own party as well.
Over the past few months — essentially, shortly after he made his campaign official — Gingrich’s favorability rating has plummeted with Republicans.
In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday evening, 32% of Republican adults said they had a favorable opinion of the former Speaker, though slightly more, 34%, had an unfavorable opinion of him. Two months prior, 50% of Republicans had said they liked Gingrich, while just 13% said they did not.
A PPP survey of Republican registered voters also released on Wednesday showed Gingrich’s GOP support undergoing the same dramatic swing.
In the latest poll, 49% of GOPers had an unfavorable opinion of Gingrich, while 36% viewed him favorably. But back on May 10, PPP released a survey showing that 54% of Republican voters had a favorable opinion of Gingrich, compared to 30% who said the opposite.
Gingrich formally launched his campaign on May 11.
As his support has eroded, so too has his standing in polls of the Republican primary. Most notably, Gingrich slid to sixth place in the latest Gallup release, falling behind largely unknown candidates like Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain. In that poll, Gingrich came in with just 5% of the vote, tying him with Michele Bachmann.
A Fairleigh Dickinson University survey completed June 7 also pegged Gingrich’s support at 5%, placing him fifth out of eight candidates.
Gingrich’s campaign rollout was an absolute mess by almost any measure. The first weekend after his announcement, he labeled the House Republicans’ plan to privatize Medicare as “right wing social engineering.” That prompted a week of attacks from members of his own party, including that plan’s architect, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, “With allies like that, who needs the left?” Then came a series of walk backs and clarifications, not to mention a report that he’d run up a six-figure bill at Tiffany’s.
To cap it all off, several senior aides abandoned Gingrich’s campaign altogether last week, raising questions about how Gingrich could possibly keep going, let alone win the nomination.
To be sure, the first primary ballot won’t be cast for for another seven months. But given the direction things are currently going for Gingrich, with his support sliding while lower-tier candidates gain steam, he’ll have need an incredible turnaround to have any chance of making a good showing come next year.