We know that the drive-bys of the Mittites and all those faux Tea Partiers in the so-called Republican establishment have destroyed the Gingrich momentum in Florida. But which segments of the GOP electorate have been most affected? Simply: the older ones. Comparing PPP's Jan. 28 survey to its Jan. 22-23 survey, we find that the over-65 set has gone from a 40-40 split between Gingrich and Romney to favoring the latter over the former by 50-28. And the 45-65ers, who had favored Gingrich over Romney 41-30, now favor Romney over Gingrich 39-33.
Interestingly, however, Gingrich has actually picked up support among the 30-45-year-olds, who had favored Romney by a point, and now prefer His Grandiosity by 9 points, 35-26. Perhaps they associate Newt's heyday with their own wild and crazy youth. Let's party like it's 1994, dudes!
Among the youngest GOP voters, both candidates have lost altitutude, with Gingrich's advantage declining only modestly, from 20 points (46-26) to 15 points (38-23). But unfortunately for him, the two youngest cohorts constitute less than a third of Florida's GOP electorate. Altogether, the two surveys show a 13 point swing, going from Gingrich up by five over Romney (38-33) to down by eight (40-32).
And what of those always fascinating evangelicals? As a voting bloc, they have more than mirrored the overall shift, swinging from preferring Gingrich by 19 points, 23-42, to a nearly even two-point spread of 34-36. But though it's half of what it was, there's still a Mormon gap; that is, non-evangelicals prefer Romney by nine points more than evangelicals (43-34). If it persists, the Mormon Gap could still create some bumps in the road for Mitt. In 2008, Mike Huckabee was clobbered in Florida but went on to win primaries in the Deep South on Super Tuesday. This year, however, there's a month, not a week, between Florida and Super Tuesday. And by March, Newt may be nothing more than road kill.