These numbers from Gallup is shocking. It's not just that 82 percent of self-identified Tea Partiers find Gingrich acceptable. It's the rotten numbers for the other candidates.
Let's pretend that candidates were screened purely for their records, their public statements, and their current policies. Who would you expect to do well among Tea Partiers -- people who want a shrunk-down federal government, massive spending cuts, and more federalism? On paper, surely you'd expect them to reward Rick Perry, the arch-federalist, or Jon Huntsman, the anti-war candidate with the radical tax plan. Surely they would ding Newt, which has spent a week now talking about a micromanaging idea for letting kids make money working at school, and who nearly killed his campaign by saying the Ryan budget was too radical. But no. Newt blows them away. They've fallen for the Newt of the debates, forgiven the Newt who tripped himself up in the summer and endorsed various and sundry big government ideas in the Aughts. There is real work for Romney or someone to do here in pulling those voters away.