Romney Leading in New SC Poll

Via Swampland:

In another sign of the front-runner’s growing strength, Mitt Romney has taken the lead in South Carolina, according to a TIME/CNN/ORC poll released Friday.

The poll, which surveyed likely primary voters on Wednesday and Thursday, found Romney commanding 37% support, a 17-point gain since early December. He’s not the only one carrying momentum out of Iowa’s photo finish. Rick Santorum has surged 15 points to 19%, picking up the largest chunk of Newt Gingrich’s shattered coalition. The former Speaker is still in the hunt with 18%, but that’s down from 43% in December.

Ron Paul’s share has doubled to 12%, while Rick Perry’s has dwindled to a mere 5%.

So, I guess that “skipping NH” thing is playing out as I expected for Perry.

I am not surprised to see Santorum surge, as he is the clear hardcore social conservative left in the race.  I am mildly surprised by Romney’s surge, as I thought he might hit a slight bump in the road in SC, but this may end up not being the case.

If Romney can win SC by double-digits, this race is going to be over for all practical purposes very, very quickly.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Hey Norm says:

    Let’s start a pool.
    Pick a date Romney releases his income tax returns.
    That’s the day Romney loses the election.

  2. legion says:

    I just find it schadenfreudetastic that, after going back to Texas to “re-think” his campaign and doubling-down to go back on the trail, Perry hasn’t actually been doing anything different, and is (unsurprisingly) still spiraling down the tubes. Way to prove your pointlessness and inability to perform on-stage, Rick!

  3. PD Shaw says:

    @legion: I’ve now been asked three times about Perry dropping out of the race by people who caught the signal that he was dropping out, but not the later news that he wasn’t. I think he immediately became Abe Vigoda of the primary: “I’m not dead yet, you pinhead!”

  4. @PD Shaw: Poor Abe Vigoda…

    And yes: my wife thought that Perry had dropped out because, like a lot of people, she saw the coverage Tuesday night about going back to Texas to “reassess” but was at work when we tweeted about going to SC. Really, it is another example of his lack of understanding the presidential campaign process.

  5. Perry would be having these problems regardless of whether he wasted money in New Hampshire or not, though.

  6. @Doug Mataconis: No doubt.

  7. @Doug Mataconis: But, of course, that always part of my point: the inability to compete in either IA or NH was going to continue in SC and onward and, therefore, the notion that there was a way to revive the campaign by skipping NH was always a fantasy.

  8. mattb says:

    I can’t help wondering if Perry is mainly still in this to help the establishment GOP (and to some degree Romney) and keep his chances alive for 2012.

    Even though he may be at 5%, that’s still 5% that won’t go to Santorum.

  9. PD Shaw says:

    @Prof Taylor, it sounds like you agree with Doug that skipping New Hampshire was a good idea; it’s just that you think he might as well skip the whole thing at this point.

  10. @PD Shaw: I suppose that is accurate, more or less. My disagreement with Doug is that there was any evidence to suggest that skipping NH was a viable strategy.

    The way the system is currently structured, I would aruge that a candidate needs to be viable in either IA or NH to be able to reasonably continue. I think this is especially true if a candidate can only manage single digits in both of those contests.

    As such, my view has been in these posts that skipping means you are done.

    I think this is a function of media coverage and fundraising ability once one is perceived as a loser.

    I also think that some of those “losers” might have been “winners” (or, at least, viable) if the contests were in a different order.

  11. Tsar Nicholas says:

    I’m not sure that Romney would need to win SC by “double-digits” to have this thing locked up. Wouldn’t any margin of victoryiin that respect suffice for him?

    Obviously Romney is going to win N.H. He won Iowa. If he wins SC he would have prevailed in the first three contests. Has anyone ever prevailed in the first three contests and then not been named the nominee? Hell, has anyone prevailed in Iowa and N.H. and then not become the nominee?

    I’m thinking it’s SC or bust for the not-Romney faction.

  12. @Tsar Nicholas: I think he has sewn it up already. The question to me is how long the media narrative can continue to pretend like a race exists.

    If SC is close-ish, then the media will continue to pretend like there is a real race. If Romney crushes in SC that narrative will be much harder to maintain.

  13. legion says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I agree, but it’s not just the media narrative that’s dragging its collective heels, it’s also the holy rollers of the GOP base – they don’t want to actually make that most dreadful of decisions: Stand by all the anti-Romney/anti-Mormon vitriol they’ve put out during the campaign by withholding their votes (thus all but assuring an Obama victory), or go for the full hypocrite and support the guy…