Is the Gingrich campaign finally over?

"With more than 130 delegates (although all GOP delegate calculations are murky), Gingrich would, in theory, have a role at a contested Republican Convention. Morley Winograd, an architect of the Democratic Party’s arcane delegate rules and a veteran of the contested Kennedy vs. Carter 1980 Convention, suggested in an insightful column in Politico that Santorum and Gingrich should join forces in a last-ditch stop-Romney coalition. With almost all future GOP primaries winner-take-all by congressional district, Winograd theorized that the anti-Mitt candidates could divvy up the districts based on their comparative strength against Romney. There’s only one problem: It is hard to identify a spot on the remaining primary map where Gingrich would be a stronger challenger than Santorum."

- Walter Shapiro, “The Sad End of the Gingrich Campaign

Would an end to Newt’s political career see a return to his past?

"In its incongruous mix of wide-eyed futurism and partisan invective, Window captured the tension that has always made Gingrich an interesting politician: He is a man whose inner geek is perpetually at war with his inner hack. When Window was published, Gingirch the hack was just beginning to feel out his niche as the Republican Party’s preeminent human flamethrower. But it was in Gingrich the geek that Baen and the other science fiction buffs saw something special.”

—Charles Homans, “Freaks and Geeks: The rise and fall of Newt’s inner nerd.

While conventional wisdom suggests that the Republican nominating contest has already damaged Romney severely, statistics show President Obama faces a tougher reelection campaign than many now think.

"On what historically has been a key presidential trait—strong leadership—Obama leads Gingrich 51-41 but musters only a statistical tie (46-45) against Romney. And the president’s modest 5-point edge (47-42) over Romney on trustworthiness swells to an astonishing but hardly inexplicable 22 points (57-35) over Gingrich. I could go on, but you get the point: in the largest swing state, Obama is the odds-on favorite to demolish Gingrich but could well lose to Romney."

-William Galston: “Warning To Democrats: Romney Is a Stronger Candidate Than You Think

Photo courtesy of The Inquisitr

Could Newt successfully use Reagan’s legacy to win Florida?

"Demographics help explain why the Reagan Wars have reached such a fever pitch in Florida. About three-quarters of the Republicans casting ballots in next Tuesday’s primary will have been old enough to have voted for Reagan in 1984. (This estimate is based on the exit polls from the 2008 Florida GOP primary in which 75 percent of Republican voters were over 45 and 44 percent were older than 60). Not even in Iowa, where a significant chunk of GOP caucus-goers seems almost old enough to have posed for Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” is the Republican vote so tilted towards those with long historical memories."

-Walter Shapiro, “Doing It For the Gipper: Why Old People Could Be Newt Gingrich’s Saving Grace

Photo courtesy of Washington Post

Is Newt’s fire back?

Gingrich supporters across the board have cited his fiery presence as making him the best-suited candidate to verbally eviscerate Obama in debates. Has Republican hopefuls’ anti-Obama hyperbole guaranteed that this will not be the kind of election Gingrich or anyone else could actually win with a debate?

"This belief may be inextricable from the web of conservative conspiracy theories about Teleprompters and so forth, but for the sake of argument, let’s grant the nub of the Gingrich voters’ point: The speaker, first-class intellectual or no, is a consistently entertaining presence in the debates, and Obama is somewhat less so. The president was stiff and a bit dour compared to his adversaries in the 2008 primaries; his relative victories in the general election debates had more to do with John McCain’s flaws—the anger, the strange wanderings around the stage—than with his own performances."

-Charles Homans, “Would Newt Out-Debate Obama? It Wouldn’t Matter Anyway

Photo courtesy of Christian Science Monitor

What can we learn from Gingrich’s upset in South Carolina and can we expect something similar in Florida?

"The story of Gingrich’s remarkable victory is that there were even more South Carolina Republicans who don’t so much want to replace Obama as they want to knock him out, as Gingrich charmingly pledged to do this past week. They have convinced themselves that Obama is such a threat to the republic that only someone of Newt’s gumption and fortitude can take him down."

-Alec Macgillis, “South Carolina Shoots the TV

Photo courtesy of New York Daily News

Who will win Iowa?

The Republican field is crowded and fluid right now, but it won’t be for long. By January 11th, there will be at most three remaining contenders, and we’ll have a much clearer understanding of how the race will develop.

Until then though, it is still anybody’s race to win.

Check out TNR contributing editor William Galston’s “User’s Guide to the 2011 Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary" for an insider’s look at the two earliest and most important contests in the 2012 GOP campaign.

Photo courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor.