By Randy Krehbiel World Staff Writer
Newt Gingrich’s charisma and intelligence may trump all other considerations for Tulsa-area Republicans, a focus group of likely voters in the March 6 GOP primary indicated last week.
The 11 registered Republicans with a history of voting in primary elections were assembled by SoonerPoll.com at the Tulsa World offices three days after Gingrich’s victory in the South Carolina primary pushed him to the front of the GOP presidential field.
The focus group included six men and five women. Four identified themselves as Gingrich supporters, two for Mitt Romney, one for Ron Paul and one for Rick Santorum. Three said they were undecided, and one Romney supporter said she was now leaning to Gingrich.
“I think I feel the way I’ve already heard some of you speak,” said Denise Miller of Tulsa. “With Romney, I don’t feel convinced that I know what he stands for or doesn’t.
“So there is Newt, who is a little bit of a loose cannon … but, by golly, you know where that man stands.”
Several indicated a true preference for Herman Cain, who is no longer actively campaigning, and at least one said Michele Bachmann, another candidate who’s fallen by the wayside, was his first choice.
Real estate developer Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida were also mentioned as “dream” candidates.
All said it is imperative Republicans ultimately unite behind one candidate to defeat President Barack Obama in November.
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