Rumors flew fast and furious on Monday night that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich might reconsider his presidential candidacy after today’s primaries.
“I think we need to take a deep look at what we are doing,” Gingrich told NBC. “We will be in North Carolina tomorrow night, and we will look and see what the results are. (Gingrich seems to be pinning his hopes of continuing in the race on winning the Delaware primary and the First State’s 17 delegates.)
With the possibility that today marks the last day of “Newt Gingrich, presidential candidate”, we spent the morning sifting through 2012 primary data to provide Fix readers with a glimpse into the totality of the former House Speaker’s performance in the race.
First, here’s a chart detailing how Gingrich performed in each of the 31 states that have voted to date:
As you can see, following Gingrich’s win in South Carolina on Jan. 21, he faded precipitously throughout the month of February before making a mini-comeback with a win in Georgia and second place finishes in Oklahoma and Tennessee on March 6. Gingrich again spiked briefly a week later when he finished second in Alabama and Mississippi but then fell off badly over the last month — winning just eight percent in Illinois on March 20 and 5.9 percent in Wisconsin on April 3.
Gingrich’s average percentage of the vote across all 31 states is 13.8 percent. If you remove Virginia, where Gingrich didn’t qualify for the ballot, and Wyoming (where he received .5 percent of the vote), Gingrich’s average across the remaining 29 states was 14.7 percent.
Gingrich won just two states: South Carolina and his home state of Georgia. He finished second eight times, third five times and fourth a whopping 16 times. In the last month plus, Gingrich finished fourth in Illinois, second in Louisiana, third in Maryland, third in the District of Columbia and fourth in Wisconsin.
All told, Gingrich has received 2,284,557 votes in the Republican race to date, according to this invaluable raw vote chart from Real Clear Politics. As of the end of March, Gingrich has spent $21,417,400 on his campaign, meaning that he paid roughly $9.37 for every vote he got.
Numbers, of course, only get you so far. (If numbers were conclusive, Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s would be celebrating World Series championship after World Series championship.)
Gingrich’s ability to shine in debates transformed him into a major figure in the race in the late fall/winter of 2011 and forced Romney, whose campaign had been on cruise control until then, to sharpen its edges.
But, overall, the numbers back up the broader narrative of the Gingrich campaign. His electoral bark wound up being worst than his bite as he could never string together a series of wins (or even strong second place finishes) that would have established him as a real challenger to Romney or, for that matter, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.
Over the last month, Gingrich’s campaign totally collapsed as any spark of momentum he was hoping to capture (or recapture) was snuffed out by the increasingly obvious fact that he had no chance to win.
Whether or not Gingrich ends his campaign after today’s primaries, the numbers cited above make clear that it’s been over for quite some time.