While some state polling by PPP indicates that Newt Gingrich dropping out of the race would be a clear benefit for Rick Santorum, Gallup national polling found it would have no significant impact. According to Gallup, 40% of Gingrich supporters’ second choice is Mitt Romney while 39% choose Santorum as their second choice. As a result, if Gingrich dropped out Romney’s lead over Santorum would remain basically unchanged. From Gallup:

Republican Nomination Preferences, With and Without Gingrich

This is definitely an unexpected result. It would say the vast majority of political observers and members of the Santorum team who believe that Gingrich dropping out would help Santorum are wrong. The Santorum campaign has been actively pushing to get Gingrich to drop out. In addition, from the exit polling in Mississippi you get the strong impression that in the South, at least, Gingrich and Santorum are hurting each other by splitting the anti-Romney vote.

Now that Gingrich has lost his two Southern ‘most wins’ this week, I would hope some more pollsters test this question to see if Gallup’s unexpected findings hold up.