Unexpected

01.09.12

Election Oracle: Newt's Surprise Surge in New Hampshire

After taking a beating in Iowa, Newt Gingrich came out guns blazing on Sunday, aiming his fire squarely at frontrunner Mitt Romney's "pious baloney"—and the Web liked what it heard.

The Daily Beast's Election Oracle shows Gingrich—who just a week ago was at the bottom of the field with a favorability rating of -58—continuing his rise after Sunday morning's Meet the Press debate, with his rating moving up 10 points to 27 on Sunday. Unlike traditional polls, the Election Oracle analyzes views expressed on the Internet—the most extensive and immediate opinion generator ever invented—to determine a daily favorability rating for each candidate from -100 to 100. The Oracle tracks 40,000 news sites, blogs, message boards, Twitter feeds, and other social-media sources to analyze what millions of people are saying about the candidates and hot-button issues. (See methodology here.)

09-storychart-v3

Gingrich's rise in favorability may indicate the Web's growing appetite for attacks on Romney, who appears poised to lock down the nomination with wins in New Hampshire and South Carolina. (The Oracle predicts Romney has a 59 percent of chance of winning the GOP nomination, with Newt at just 13 percent.) In addition, Romney is dominating the conversation online—40 percent of all candidate mentions refer to Romney. But despite the growing volume, his favorability has slumped to 14, a combination that suggests a grudging acceptance of the likely nominee.

The Oracle also showed Jon Huntsman, who's staked his campaign on a strong showing in the Granite State and has been surging in the polls leading up to Tuesday's primary, continuing to lead the pack in favorability at 47—though he registered no gain from his well-received debate performance Sunday, actually dropping four points from Saturday. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, after their positive showings in Iowa, have also seen their favorability numbers flag over the past week, with Santorum edging downward, to 43 from a peak of 62, and Web sentiment about Paul souring dramatically, with his favorability now down to -21 from 55 just six days ago.