Georgia primary results: Newt Gingrich wins home state

March 6, 2012

Newt Gingrich has won the GOP primary in his home state of Georgia. As The Fix team reported :

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich got a confidence boost in Georgia, his first victory after a month-and-a-
half-long losing streak.

The win — which Gingrich had to have to survive — gives his struggling campaign some momentum going into contests in Kansas, Alabama and Mississippi on March 13.

The only other state Gingrich has taken is South Carolina, back in January.

His decisive win in the Peach State will bolster his case of being the favored candidate of the South, though he did not win Tennessee, which went to Rick Santorum.

Skeptics will argue that Gingrich’s popularity in Georgia has more to do with loyalty than viability.

He was elected to the House from the state for 20 years, and he campaigned as a favorite son.

Polling analysis from Behind the Numbers

Newt Gingrich scored a dominant win in Georgia, boosted by his ties to his home state, strong tea party support and a widespread sense among voters there that Mitt Romney is insufficiently conservative, according to exit polls.

Unlike in other states, Gingrich challenged Romney in Georgia as the candidate most likely to beat President Obama in November, and he topped the former Massachusetts governor among economy voters.

Gingrich also won big among older voters, winning roughly half those aged 45 and older and beating Romney by nearly 2 to 1. Voters may have rewarded Gingrich for his nearly 20-years as a congressman from the state: He won 62 percent of those who said having “the right experience” was the most important candidate quality.

Tea party voters played an outsized role in Georgia. Four in 10 voters described themselves as strong supporters of the movement, among the most numerous of any state that’s voted so far. Gingrich won over half their votes. Before Super Tuesday, no candidate had won a majority among strong tea party backers in any state yet.

Analysis from The Fix:  “I have to win Georgia, I think, to be credible in the race,” Newt Gingrich has said. He’s right. Georgia is the state where Gingrich first rose to power, in the part of the country where he’s most popular. If he can’t make it here, he can’t make it anywhere. He faces competition from Rick Santorum, who is courting the state’s evangelical vote.

More from PostPolitics

Liveblog: Super Tuesday results

Interactive: 2012 Republican primary tracker

The Take: What Obama can teach the GOP

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