Newt Gingrich tried to raise expectations for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s performance, the presumptive front-runner in New Hampshire, during an appearance on CNN just hours before the polls closed.
“If he can’t break 50 percent in a state that is, I think, his third-best state after Utah and Massachusetts, it’s going to be interesting to see how he makes the case that he is the presumptive front-runner,” Gingrich said. “Yes, he has more votes but at no point so far has he come anywhere to having a convincing majority of Republicans.”
Gingrich’s prediction sets incredibly high expectations for Romney, who was polling at 41 percent in the most recent WMUR-University of New Hampshire, which was conducted Jan. 5-8. He received 32 percent of the vote in 2008. Gingrich attracted 8 percent of likely Republican voters in the same WMUR poll.
Gingrich said he expects Romney to come in “about where Paul Tsongas did when everyone thought he lost the election at about thirty-seven percent.”
As for his own prospects in New Hampshire, Gingrich said he expects to come in somewhere behind Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, whom he predicted would take second place. Gingrich said he will likely end up “kind of bunched up in a group” with former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former Sen. Rick Santorum in the bottom of the pack.