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Friday, January 6, 2012

South Carolina Primary: Romney 27%, Santorum 24%, Gingrich 18%

 

What a difference a caucus makes. Rick Santorum who two months ago had one percent (1%) support among likely South Carolina Republican Primary voters now is running a close second there with 24% of the vote.  

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the Palmetto State finds former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney still in the lead, earning 27% support from likely GOP Primary Voters, up from 23% in early November. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is in third with 18% of the vote, followed by Texas Congressman Ron Paul at 11%.

Bringing up the rear are Texas Governor Rick Perry with five percent (5%) and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman at two percent (2%). Another two percent (2%) of these likely primary voters like some other candidate, and 11% remain undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

In the first Rasmussen Reports survey of the South Carolina Republican Primary race in November, Georgia businessman Herman Cain came in first with 33% support, followed by Romney and Gingrich. Cain has since dropped out of the race.

The latest findings from South Carolina parallel the voting sentiments of Republicans nationally following the Iowa caucuses, with Romney out front with 29% support.  Santorum, after his photo finish with Romney in Tuesday’s caucuses, runs second at 21%, with Gingrich in third with 16% of the vote. The January 21 primary in South Carolina is especially critical for Santorum who has largely written off next Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation New Hampshire Primary and is counting on the conservative, evangelical vote in the southern state to build the momentum for his candidacy.

Things remain fluid in South Carolina, however, with nearly half the state’s primary voters (48%) saying they still could change their minds. Just 41% are certain already of how they will vote.  Those certain of their vote include 62% of Paul’s supporters, 51% of Perry’s backers, 50% of Romney voters. Just 43% of Santorum voters and 36% of Gingrich supporters are locked in at this point.
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