Newt Gingrich name-dropped local issues such as the Manchester VA hospital and talked up Granite State history on a frenetic final day of campaigning ahead of today’s New Hampshire primary, but all throughout he kept one eye on make-or-break South Carolina.
It is hard to gauge what would constitute success for Gingrich in today’s vote, as his campaign and its allies focus their resources on the next primary state. Improving on his fourth-place showing in Iowa would show momentum, but that is no easy task.
Mitt Romney, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, is widely expected to win, though polls have shown his lead dwindling. The rest of the field is a muddle. Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum are seeking conservative Republican non-Romney votes, while Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman are courting Independents— who can vote in the primary.
At nearly every stop Monday, Gingrich cited the morning’s Suffolk University tracking poll as a sign of a fluid race: It showed Gingrich in fourth place with 11 percent of the vote, but his numbers are rising as Romney’s support has dropped to 33 percent.