Mitt Romney’s negative ads in Michigan will backfire, Newt Gingrich contended Wednesday night.

In an interview with Fox News Channel’s Greta van Susteren, the former House speaker argued that Romney’s ads could cause Wolverine State voters to move away from former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), but that those voters would flock to Gingrich, not Romney.

“My prediction is if Mitt Romney goes and attacks Santorum as negatively as he attacked me in Florida and elsewhere, what you’re going to see is he’ll peel votes off Santorum, but they’re going to come to me,” Gingrich said. “They’re not going to go to Romney.”

A Detroit News poll out Thursday morning shows Gingrich trailing far behind Romney and Santorum in Michigan. Santorum takes 34 percent among likely Republican primary voters in the survey, compared with 30 percent for Romney, 12 percent for Gingrich and nine percent for Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

Should Romney lose Michigan — his home state and one where he has received endorsements from major establishment figures, including Gov. Rick Snyder (R) — it would represent a major blow to his campaign to clinch the nomination.

Gingrich, whose campaign is struggling to stay afloat and who has aired his share of negative ads against Romney, contended Wednesday night that the former Massachusetts governor risks going too negative in Michigan.

“People are looking for a positive leader who has a positive solution on jobs, a positive solution on gasoline and energy and frankly somebody who’s going to stand up against the Obama administration’s war against Christianity and is going to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘We’re prepared to fight to defend religious freedom in America against a radical secular administration,’” Gingrich said.

He also argued that even if Texas holds its primary in late May, as it now appears on track to do, his campaign will still be able to remain competitive over the coming months.

“It just means that we’re going to have to pick up all those delegates in late May, just before the California primary, when we hope to pick up more delegates out here,” he said. “It still means that on Super Tuesday, we’re looking at Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, we’re looking at Ohio. It means the week after Super Tuesday we’re looking at Alabama and Mississippi. We have hopes that we’re going to keep picking up delegates everywhere, and continue this race. It’s going to go on for a long time, I think.”

Gingrich, who has spent this week in California and plans to campaign in Georgia this weekend, added that he will visit Oklahoma on Monday, and also expects to hold campaign stops in Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan.

“These are states that are real, they’re immediate, they’re now,” he said.