I’m a bit skeptical of the Gingrich surge. A lot of commentary this week has said how flawed Gingrich is as a candidate while simultaneously suggesting he is a serious threat to win the nomination. I’d like to see another couple of weeks of data before I conclude his trajectory isn’t going to reverse, in the tradition of Bachmann, Perry and Cain. The public commentary has a little too much hysteria to it to be fully convincing.
But that said, Gingrich has taken a significantly bigger lead over Romney than any of the previous three candidates were able to do. My trend estimate now puts that lead over 19 points. Perry briefly approached a 14 point lead while Cain was only briefly ahead slightly and Bachmann never was ahead.
The problem with trends is you never know when they will reverse direction or even just flatten out. The shear magnitude of Gingrich’s recent polling, receiving over 40 percent in some polls, suggests he is near a ceiling. But the trends show no sign of slowing yet. If the history of this year’s race is any hint, we are likely to see Gingrich slow his ascent, and I think see some decline in two weeks. Just in time for Christmas. Of course, the polls usually take a holiday too, so the density of polling after next week may lessen making it harder to see what change is occurring.