How Newt Gingrich’s past marriages may be helping him in South Carolina

The re-rise of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential candidacy in South Carolina has spawned any number of fascinating storylines.

But none is more amazing than how Gingrich’s tempestuous past personal life — highlighted by his second wife’s allegations that he asked her to participate in an “open marriage” — appears to have helped rather than hurt him in the final days before the South Carolina primary vote.

Thanks to the good folks at Google — you may have heard of it — we have evidence of just how much talk of Gingrich’s marriages has dominated chatter in the state over the past week even as he has surged in polling in the Palmetto State.

Here’s a look at what people in South Carolina have been searching for when it comes to Gingrich:

And here, by way of contrast, are the most searched for terms in South Carolina when it comes to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney:

Until the votes are counted tonight, we won’t know for sure how the huge interest in Gingrich’s personal life impacted the South Carolina primary.

But, if Gingrich winds up winning, it’s clear that the dredging up of his personal life in the final 48 hours (or so) of the contest likely strengthened rather than weakened his hand in the Palmetto State.

Politics is a funny — and fascinating — business, isn’t it?

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.


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