Rich Galen
We can say this about our friend Newt Gingrich: He has never suffered from public self-doubt.

On the strength of a string of polls showing the GOP conservative base has fallen in love with him Newt told ABC News' Jake Tapper:

"I'm going to be the nominee. It's very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I'm going to be the nominee."

A Rasmussen poll which was taken on Wednesday shows Newt with 38 percent to Mitt Romney's 17 percent among likely voters. Even being mathematically challenged I know that is a 21 percentage point lead.

The rest of the field is in single digits: Cain & Paul are at 8; Perry, Bachmann and Santorum are at 4, and Huntsman continues to trail the field with three percent.

If there were a national primary and it was scheduled for this Saturday, Newt would probably be correct. He might be correct anyway, but it's a little early to be taking a victory lap.

The Iowa caucuses will not occur until a month from tomorrow. New Hampshire is a week later. South Carolina will be held on January 21 and the Florida primary will be ten days after that.

I have not focused on anything past Florida but it bears looking at.

In February the states which will choose delegates are Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota and Michigan.

March will bring 19 states into focus including 10 on March 6

Eight states will select delegates in April. Seven in May and seven states will wrap up the process in June including California and New Jersey on June 5

This is December 2 and there is likely to be a long way to go.

Dear Mr. Mullings:

What if Newt wins Iowa and South Carolina and generates enough forward momentum to win Florida?


The National Debate Scheduling Association

That would certainly help make Gingrich's case, but keep in mind that under Republican National Committee rules any caucus or primary held before April:

"… shall provide for the allocation of delegates on a proportional basis."

Whoa! Really? So the bulk of primaries and caucuses will be decided on a proportional basis instead of the traditional winner-take-all.

That's sort of the way the Dems have done it and it is what led to Hillary and Obama duking it out through June four years ago.

Proportional awarding of delegates means that as long as a candidate doesn't get skunked in a big state, he or she will be able to stay in the game for a long time - so long as the money keeps coming in.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at