Newt Gingrich has a message for his Republican primary rivals: The race is already over.
“I’m going to be the nominee,” he told ABC News' Jake Tapper on Thursday. “It’s very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I’m going to be the nominee.”
Gingrich made the claim in response to a question from Tapper about whether he would start being more aggressive toward his GOP rivals, who have ramped up attacks on the former House Speaker as his campaign has built momentum.
“They are not going to be the nominee," Gingrich answered. "I don’t have to go around and point out the inconsistencies of people who are not going to be the nominee. They are not going to be the nominee.”
“You are going to be the nominee?” Tapper countered. Gingrich confirmed that he would be, and continued:
And by the way I don’t object if people want to attack me, that’s their right. All I’m suggesting that it’s not going to be very effective and that people are going to get sick of it very fast. And the guys who attacked each other in the debates up to now, every single one of them have lost ground by attacking. So they should do what they and their consultants want to do. I will focus on being substantive and I will focus on Barack Obama
Gingrich, whose campaign was riven by staff departures and media mockery in June, has seen a meteoric rise in popularity in recent weeks as Herman Cain's star has dimmed.
A national poll of Republicans released by Rasmussen on Thursday gave Gingrich a commanding 21-point lead over Mitt Romney--38 percent to 17.
And a Florida poll put out by the American Research Group gave Gingrich a 31-point lead over Mitt Romney in the Sunshine State.
The influential election analyst Nate Silver tweeted, "Rasmussen poll could definitely be an outlier but if Newt is really 21% ahead not so sure that Romney is the favorite."