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New South Carolina Polls: Romney Leads, Gingrich Second

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 1/13/12 12:40 PM

National, Politics

Two new polls released today show Mitt Romney continues leading newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum in the race to replace pro-abortion President Barack Obama in the November presidential elections.

Mitt Romney still holds first place in the South Carolina Primary field that will face off against one another next Saturday. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters in South Carolina finds Romney ahead with 28% support from GOP voters. Now, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is in second place with 21% of the vote while support for Santorum, who was in second a week ago, has fallen back to 16%. That puts him in a tie with Texas congressman Ron Paul.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has staked everything in his campaign on South Carolina, now captures six percent (6%) support, while former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman runs last with five percent (5%). One percent (1%) like some other candidate in the race, and eight percent (8%) remain undecided.

“Romney’s support remains virtually unchanged from the 27% he earned a week ago, but the field challenging the front-runner has seen some movement. Santorum is down eight points, Gingrich is up three, and Paul is up five,” Rasmussen notes. “Among likely primary voters who describe themselves as Very Conservative, Gingrich and Santorum each earn 23% of the vote, while Romney runs third with 18%. However, among Somewhat Conservative voters in South Carolina, Romney leads by 16.”

“Much can change in the closing days before the South Carolina primary, with just 52% who say they are certain of their vote at this time,” Rasmussen indicates. “Forty-one percent (41%) still could change their minds, and eight percent (8%) have no initial preference so far. Those primary voters who’ve already made up their minds include 63% of Paul’s supporters, 61% of both Romney and Gingrich voters and 57% of Huntsman’s backers. Just 44% of Santorum’s voters and 33% of Perry’s have made their final decision.”

Scott Rasmussen notes, “One half of Huntsman voters in New Hampshire and one-third of Paul’s said that they would like to see more candidates enter the race. This suggests whoever is perceived as the most effective tactical alternative to Romney could see a last-minute surge in South Carolina as well.”

Romney is viewed favorably by 68% of likely South Carolina Republican primary voters, followed by Santorum at 63%, Gingrich at 56%, Perry at 48%, Paul at 43% and Huntsman at 35%.

Meanwhile, a new American Research Group poll in South Carolina finds Mitt Romney leads with 29%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 25%, Ron Paul at 20%, Rick Perry at 9%, Rick Santorum at 7% and Jon Huntsman at 1%.

“Paul has gained the most and Rick Santorum has lost the most since the last American Research Group survey on January 4-5. In that survey, Paul was at 9% and Santorum was at 24%,’ the ARG firm noted. “Gingrich and Romney are tied among self-identified Republicans with 29% each, followed by Paul with 18%. Paul leads among independents and Democrats with 29%, followed by Romney with 27%, Gingrich with 12%, and Rick Perry with 11%.”

“Gingrich leads among those likely primary voters saying they are supporters of the Tea Party with 28%, followed by Romney with 24%, Paul with 20%, and Santorum with 11%. Romney leads with 33% among those saying they are not supporters of the Tea Party or are undecided about the Tea Party, followed by Gingrich with 23%, and Paul with 21%,” ARG indicates. “Gingrich leads among evangelical Christians with 40%, followed by Perry with 15%, Romney with 13%, Santorum with 12%, and Paul with 10%. Among likely voters saying they are not evangelical Christians, Romney leads with 48% and followed by Paul with 33%.”

Gingrich leads among men with 29%, followed by Paul with 23%, Romney at 18%, and Santorum with 14%. Among women, Romney leads with 38%, followed Gingrich with 22%, and Paul with 18%.

In the Rasmussen poll, regardless of the candidate they support, 68% of likely GOP primary voters in the Palmetto State expect Romney to be the eventual nominee, with no one else even close. A plurality (43%) thinks Romney would be the strongest GOP candidate to oppose President Obama, followed by Gingrich who is seen as the strongest challenger by 23%.

“This is comparable to the views of Republican voters nationwide. Paul is seen as the weakest challenger to Obama by South Carolina primary voters and GOP voters nationally,” Rasmussen indicates.

This South Carolina survey of 750 Likely Republican Primary Voters was conducted on January 12, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.