The Newt Surge/Collapse Continues/Ends/Continues to End

This is the text of a CNN news alert about its new poll.

New CNN poll shows Newt Gingrich is falling back into a tie with Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination.

A couple of things wrong with this.

1) Gingrich is not “falling” into anything. The new poll has him rising from 24 percent to 28 percent in a national ballot test against his fellow Republicans (except Johnson and Roemer). But Romney has spiked from 20 percent to 28 percent – a 40 percent support surge. On the question “Which Republican candidate do you think has the best chance of beating Barack Obama in the general election next November?” Romney has fallen from a 19-point lead over Gingrich to a one-point lead.

2) There is no national Republican primary. The ball game is in Iowa, and New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

And that’s where we see the evidence of Newt slippage. Public Policy Polling releases its first Granite state poll since July, since before the Cain boomlet and the bimbo eruption that ended it.

Mitt Romney - 35%
Ron Paul - 19%
Newt Gingrich - 17%
Jon Huntsman - 13%
Michele Bachmann - 5%
Rick Santorum - 3%
Rick Perry - 2%
Gary Johnson - 1%

PPP adds a follow-up question, asking for the vote breakdown if the field gets pruned in Iowa. Romney, Paul and Huntsman all gain 2 points, and Gingrich gains 3. No collapse for Gingrich. He’s just staying where he was two weeks ago – the best-polling Romney alternative who isn’t acceptable to some conservatives, and who may not have the support to stick it out as the long-term, long run Romney alternative.