Political scientists at Wilkes predict GOP election outcomes

Devoni Novak, Assistant News Editor

At this point in the Republican candidacy race, Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul have become back runners as Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich duke it out for the party’s nomination. As the GOP debates continue, Wilkes University political scientists are predicting the election outcome of the Republican candidate.
Despite the recent rise in popularity of 58th speaker of the house, Newt Gingrich, few believe he will actually win the Republican seat and are instead putting their money on Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
“I think it’s more likely that Romney will be the Republican nominee, more likely than Newt Gingrich,” said associate political science professor Dr. Kyle Kreider. “I see (Gingrich’s rise) as a result of people wanting someone other than Mitt Romney.”
Although Kreider notes that some seek an alternative to Romney, he still believes Gingrich is an unlikely winner. Because Romney has been known to take contradicting stand points on political issues such as gay rights, abortion and health care, voters are looking to the other candidates hoping a stronger conservative will arise.
“I think the primary issue is because Mitt Romney has a lot of baggage” Kreider said. “People are concerned he won’t be a true republican in the White House.”
In Kreider’s opinion, Romney will likely come out on top regardless because of his campaigns strong infrastructure. Romney’s campaign has more money, which buys a lot in politics, such as advertisements that allow him to spread his message to voters.
Kreider also noted that Gingrich was unable to appear on the ballot in Virginia simply because of a lack in campaign funds.
Besides funding, Kreider believes Romney will win the Republican nomination because of his capability to look attractive to voters outside the Republican Party. Of all the Republican candidates, Kreider suggested people feel Romney is the best candidate to go up against Obama because of his ability to appeal to independent voters. Engaging unpredictable voters is a key aspect because members of both Republican and Democrat parties know that they will win the votes of hardcore party supporters.
Political science professor Dr. Thomas Baldino is surprised Gingrich has made it this far in the Republican debates. He predicted early on that at least three candidates would be left by the time the campaign reached Florida. However, Baldino did not expect the sudden popularity of Gingrich or that he would be this close to Romney in the polls.
“Right now the latest polls tell us that Gingrich and Romney are running essentially in a tie,” Baldino said. “Gingrich’s performance in the first debate was his weakest of the bunch and it helped Romney because Romney looked better than he had in previous debates.”
Since then Baldino has noticed that Gingrich has become more assertive and seems to prefer an audience that responds to his one-line retorts. Although sometimes his short replies seem witty, Gingrich often says the wrong thing, which has voters second-guessing. Baldino believes Gingrich is a candidate who often has to put his foot in his mouth.
Agreeing with Kreider, Baldino believes Romney is the best opponent to go up against Obama in the race to the presidency. He suggests that what America wants will reflect the state of the economy. If the economy continues to improve, Baldino predicts it will be a close race. If the economy falters, Romney has a better chance. All in all, time will tell.