Newt Gingrich is increasingly looking like a very serious contender for the Republican nomination in 2012 if he decides to take the plunge. He's been posting significant support in all of our state by state polling looking ahead to the contest, but his performance on our California poll this week was particularly impressive.
Gingrich led the way in the state with 28% on our poll to 25% for Mitt Romney, 18% for Sarah Palin, 13% for Mike Huckabee, and 10% for Ron Paul. California (obviously) is a long way from Georgia and Gingrich putting up those kinds of numbers so far from home is a clear sign that he'd be more than a regional candidate.
What was particularly striking in our California numbers was that Gingrich led Palin 33-19 among conservatives. The conventional wisdom has been that Palin would be the candidate of choice for the right if she decided to run in 2012, but might it actually end up being Gingrich? Too early to say but he definitely deserves to be mentioned in the same company as Huckabee, Palin, and Romney as the GOP candidates who already have a substantive level of national support.