Newt Gingrich is gold to Wall Street. Investment consultant Keefe, Bruyette and Woods released its outlook for the state of the GOP race Wednesday and it's banking on the former House speaker who's making his move for the Republican presidential nomination.
The financial services firm says that given the flux in the Republican race for the presidential nomination, Gingrich is the only viable anti-Romney candidate in the field.
The firm predicts the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain will derail the Cain train and that Rick Perry's golden moment has passed, leaving Gingrich in a position to gain on front-runner Mitt Romney.
"We believe Newt Gingrich is a masterful debater and public speaker. He shines in debates," says the report, provided to Whispers. "Also, in our view, among all the Republican candidates he delivers the most articulate and effective critique of the Obama administration." [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP candidates.]
Should Cain fade, the firm says that Gingrich will benefit in the early states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
While pundits view Romney as the clear front-runner, the firm reports that Romney's inability to break the 25 percent ceiling in any poll is evidence that he's not gaining the trust and popularity he needs among the GOP base to be declared the clear choice. [Who's in and who's out: See a slide show of the 2012 GOP contenders.]
Keefe, Bruyette and Woods says that it is going to come down to Iowa. If Romney places well and then wins in New Hampshire, he'd likely be the nominee, but if Gingrich wins Iowa and has a strong showing in New Hampshire, "the race would be wide open." [Read Robert Schlesinger: When Cain's Not Able, Will Gingrich Be Next in Line?]
"The bottom line is that Romney is, in our view, a vulnerable front-runner. Republican voters continue to look for an alternative, and we think Gingrich is going to get a second chance to be the alternative to Romney."