In the week before the South Carolina primary, Newt Gingrich was averaging 22 percent in the polls, per Real Clear Politics, and trailing Mitt Romney by six points. But when the vote was tallied on Saturday, Gingrich had won 40 percent of the vote to Romney’s 28 percent. What had happened to give Gingrich such a gigantic boost?
Talking to voters at Gingrich campaign events in the Palmetto State in the days before and the day of the primary, I heard plenty of enthusiasm about the two debates that preceded the vote — and for the feisty, take-no-prisoners persona that Gingrich projected on screen. But I also heard concerns about Romney and Rick Santorum, and a belief that Gingrich was not just a debater, but an experienced politician who had already proved that he could smash through Washington’s gridlock and achieve significant legislative victories.
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