Jindal Out for President in 2012, Gingrich Maybe In; Poll Shows Close GOP Race

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 16, 2010   |   5:42PM   |   Washington, DC

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is well-liked by pro-live voters, but he is saying he will definitely not be a candidate in 2012. Meanwhile, New Gingrich may well be running and a poll has him and three others neck and neck.

Jindal is a rising star in Republican circles and was considered to be a potential heavyweight contender for the nomination because of his executive experience leading the southern state.

His strong showing during the BP oil spill crisis, his expertise on health care, his status as a Republican minority and his strong pro-life and conservative views combined to make him one of the more talked about potential hopefuls.

But he told AP he won’t be one of the candidates looking for the GOP nod to go up against pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

“I’m not being coy at all. I’m not running for president in 2012. Period. No ifs, ands or buts, no caveats,” said Jindal. “We have made great progress in Louisiana, but we’ve got a lot more work to do.”

On the other hand, pro-life former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is reportedly looking more and more like a possible candidate.

Gingrich told the Des Moines Register newspaper in Iowa, the site of the first presidential caucus, that he is “making personal arrangements that would allow him to launch a campaign for president early next year.”

Gingrich said the nation is “at the precipice of a very large fundamental change” and “if I was convinced we could launch a movement on that scale, then I think being the candidate who articulates that movement would be overwhelmingly attractive.”

The newspaper interviewed Joe Gaylord, Gingrich’s longtime political counsel, who said the former House leader is not being coy and added, “I would be very surprised if he doesn’t run.”

Meanwhile, the PPP polling firm has been conducting state-level polls testing the Republican field with voters in 18 states and it found essentially a four-way race for the nomination.

“The 18 state level polls we released over the last week on the 2012 GOP nomination contest confirmed what we already knew- this thing is about as wide open as it could be,” the polling firm said.

Averaged across the states PPP examined,Mitt Romney gets 19.5%, Sarah Palin gets 17.9%, Mike Huckabee gets 17.1%, and Gingrich gets 15.7 percent.

“That’s about as close as it could be among the front runners, and the fact that the biggest winner with 19.6% was someone else/undecided makes it clear that there’s plenty of room for someone outside the current top tier of potential candidates to become the GOP standard bearer,” the firm added.

Only one candidate held double digit leads in any state, with Romney doing so in Connecticut, Nevada, and New Hampshire and Romney was the only candidate to crack 30 percent in any state, doing so in the latter two.

The polling found little support for John Thune, the pro-life South Dakota senator, and it revealed pro-life Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty cuts into the numbers for Mitt Romney.