New SC poll puts Romney up 11 over Gingrich

posted at 9:31 am on January 16, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

If the new Insider Advantage poll of 720 likely South Carolina voters taken yesterday holds up, Mitt Romney appears to have picked up momentum even before the news broke of Jon Huntsman’s withdrawal from the race.  Romney now has a double-digit lead over Newt Gingrich, 31.9% to 20.8%, with Ron Paul and Rick Santorum within a point of each other for third place, at 14.2% and 13.2% respectively.    That’s the widest gap found yet in January polling for the Palmetto state, and moves the RCP average to give Romney nearly an eight-point lead in the race, as well as his first over-30% finish for the state.

Interestingly, Paul and Santorum tie for first among 18-29 year olds in the state (27.2%) each, with Huntsman third at 20.7% and Romney fourth at 16.9%.  Gingrich gets no votes among this demographic.  Otherwise, Romney sweeps the other age demos, wins both men and women, and both Republicans (by 10 points over Gingrich) and independents (by 8.5 points over Paul).  Paul wins 58.6% of the Democrats in the poll, which comprise about 5% of the sample.

For those hoping for a Rick Perry renaissance, there is little evidence to be found for one.  He actually trails Huntsman (6.2%) in this for last place at 4.6%.  Perry only scored significantly among black voters, winning 36% of the 22 included in the poll.  Otherwise, his most significant share of any demographic in this poll is his 7.1% among seniors, which puts him a very distant fourth behind Romney’s 42.1% control of this group.

Even so, Perry is still promising to campaign in Florida:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry brushed off the choice of over 150 Evangelical leaders and conservative activists to endorse Rick Santorum on Saturday after meeting in the governor’s backyard and proclaimed that he intends to continue his campaign on to Florida, even if he places last in South Carolina.

“You’re not going to get everybody to love you,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.

Though the group said they agreed with Perry on the issues, they didn’t think he was electable. Perry countered on Sunday, citing Ronald Reagan’s win in South Carolina in 1980 as evidence that he remains competitive in the race, despite having finished fifth and sixth in Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively.

Perry added that no matter what happens in South Carolina, he intends to compete in Florida in February.

Perry may still have the money to compete after South Carolina, but it would be hard to see the point in doing so.  His continued presence splits the conservative vote further, although at these levels of support, not by a whole lot. Rick Santorum would love to get those voters in order to vault past Ron Paul and start challenging Newt Gingrich, but that won’t happen if Perry digs in his heels.  However, this is almost certainly an example of final-week bravado.  A last-place finish here will provoke the same impulse as Perry’s fifth-place finish in Iowa did — and this time, Perry will have to follow through on it.


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Romney is the only one ready to take it all the way. Be glad we have a guy like that who can beat Obama. If he weren’t in the race we would will be really screwed.

echosyst on January 16, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Thankful for Romney

Dr Evil on January 16, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Buh-bye!
MTLassen on January 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM

You new HA signups just don’t last very long for some odd reason.

whatcat on January 16, 2012 at 12:11 PM

I am not a Ron Paul supporter, but if we are going to go with Romney over the “electability” argument, shouldn’t we be taking a step back and looking at Paul as well with these kinds of numbers among Dems? If dissatisfaction with Obama among Dems is high, and Paul can appeal to them in large numbers,then sticking with the “only Romney is electable” argument seems a little, well, wrong.
Just Sayin on January 16, 2012 at 9:39 AM

It’s amazing to me that Ron Paul is attracting democrats and independents by promising the government to stay out of their lives and of the affairs of other countries and that is it! He is not promising or hinting government goodies like perry, mitt, or Santorum(all whom voted and push for democrat liberal agendas). Ron Paul’s message is solid. GET THE FERDERAL GOV OUT OF OUR LIVES!!!

Capitalist75 on January 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Romney would have been toast a long time ago if there weren’t so many conservative candidates splitting the vote.

IndeCon on January 16, 2012 at 10:14 AM

NH

Romney = 39%
Gingrich, Santorum and Perry combined = 19%

Try again.

haner on January 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Well I’m a new commenter but a longtime reader…

workingclass artist on January 16, 2012 at 11:23 AM

If this is true, you are undoubtedly aware of a fine tradition, practiced here at HA. Generally a commenter who quotes another is trying to engage in conversation on a particular topic. Not always the case but…… You placed a shot across my bow with this.

Nope!

Washington DC is corrupted by Wall St.

workingclass artist on January 16, 2012 at 10:51 AM

I responded promptly with this…..

workingclass artist on January 16, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Sorry to be the one to inform you. You have that backwards.

Bmore on January 16, 2012 at 10:59 AM

I then commented that perhaps it was a misunderstanding of your original comment with this…

Nope!

Washington DC is corrupted by Wall St.

workingclass artist on January 16, 2012 at 10:51 AM

workingclass artist on January 16, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Sorry to be the one to inform you. You have that backwards.

Bmore on January 16, 2012 at 10:59 AM

I see what happened here, you forgot the sar/ tag, silly me.

Bmore on January 16, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Then the sound of crickets. Since I’m not sure what’s with your lack of response. I will presume the best of you, that you were merely called away. Do me a favor though at least when you do have a chance, clarify for me your original comment, i.e. sar/ tag forgotten or not. You have made an additional comment so I feel it is safe to say your computer machine is still on. Let me know.

Bmore on January 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Rasmussen also had a poll last week where half the country still blames Bush for the economy and half blame Obama. And this after three years of Obama.

How does Romney, a Wall Street insider, turn around this meme? Or Gingrich or Santorum? Obama easily says that they all represent the policies that led to the greatest economic crisis blah blah blah. That will really hurt down ballot candidates.

Only Perry can turn to Obama and say I inherited a Bush economy too. From the beginning, Perry has been Mitt’s only competition because he has the best national message and access to money. I hope with the proportionate delegates he stays in for the long haul. If anything, it will pull Mitt to the right if he is the nominee. Mitt has been running for president since 2007 and he has no message, only money.

monalisa on January 16, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Perception vs Reality which one do people believe?

Dr Evil on January 16, 2012 at 11:45 AM

It’s a reality that it’s become a litmus test for the Republican Party. If that’s what you were inferring.

hawkdriver on January 16, 2012 at 1:05 PM

I must confess to a frisson of guilty pleasure when I imagine Newt Gingrich receiving this news, and realizing that he sold his soul for nothing, that all of his hypocritical negativity and capitalist-baiting rhetoric has done nothing but destroy his own campaign.

captn2fat on January 16, 2012 at 1:06 PM

For those hoping for a Rick Perry renaissance, there is little evidence to be found for one. He actually trails Huntsman (6.2%) in this for last place at 4.6%. Perry only scored significantly among black voters, winning 36% of the 22 included in the poll. Otherwise, his most significant share of any demographic in this poll is his 7.1% among seniors, which puts him a very distant fourth behind Romney’s 42.1% control of this group.

Even so, Perry is still promising to campaign in Florida:


They need him to keep splitting the Conservative vote until Mitt gets enough under his belt to claim victory.

The question is…..

….WHY would he stay in the race?

What would be in it for him?

PappyD61 on January 16, 2012 at 1:15 PM

It’s a reality that it’s become a litmus test for the Republican Party. If that’s what you were inferring.

hawkdriver on January 16, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Oh no you didn’t :)

What I mean is that the perception of Santorum has been cast in the public’s consciousness. At this late date trying to undue that perception using a reality based message is a wasted effort. It came down to Santorum’s ability to finesse his message on homosexuality – he didn’t. I thought his reply to the question – what if one of your sons told you he was ghey was a good answer. He said, he would love him. It just isn’t enough to over come the earlier perception of Santorum, and his position on homosexuality.

I don’t view Santorum as Presidential timber.

Dr Evil on January 16, 2012 at 1:51 PM

It’s amazing to me that Ron Paul is attracting democrats and independents by promising the government to stay out of their lives and of the affairs of other countries and that is it! He is not promising or hinting government goodies like perry, mitt, or Santorum(all whom voted and push for democrat liberal agendas). Ron Paul’s message is solid. GET THE FERDERAL GOV OUT OF OUR LIVES!!!

Capitalist75 on January 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Hes campaigning on defending the great society on tje trail. See recent weekly standard story.

Its code pink antiwar nuts crossing over for him.

jp on January 16, 2012 at 1:54 PM

I think that the impact of a Perry withdrawal is not just a matter of where his supporters go. As you noted, the numbers are fairly small. I think the impact will be a realignment of support among all of the candidates running. It would be sort of like hitting the reset button, which voters taking a fresh look at all of the candidates.

Just my opinion.

Just Sayin on January 16, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Agreed to disagree. I think nobody would care.

I should say, out of the people supporting OTHER candidates, Romney is most often listed as the second choice.

bluegill on January 16, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Exactly.

That’s why this “non-Romney vote” theory was always nonsense. With a less fragmented field, Romney would win with majorities instead of pluralities. That is all.

Its wishful thinking that all these conservatives hate Romney as much as this loud internet minority does.
swamp_yankee on January 16, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Fully agreed.

Romney was my 7th favorite candidate 4 years ago, but this time around I settled for him the day Chris Christie announced he was out because there was nobody in this field who could even come close to win the nomination over him.

joana on January 16, 2012 at 1:57 PM

I believe Speaker Gingrich’s decline in South Carolina was largely self inflicted.

Dirty, negative campaigning has been around for centuries in presidential politics. It puzzles me that an accomplished, highly intelligent, historian like Newt Gingrich was not better prepared for it.

It appears to have literally unhinged him.

MessesWithTexas on January 16, 2012 at 9:40 AM

And all the negative campaigning from Mill against Newt was ok? YOu’ll soon see how the Dem’s are going to treat Miitt, and it won’t be nice and they’ll win.

Shain1611 on January 16, 2012 at 2:00 PM

It’s amazing to me that Ron Paul is attracting democrats and independents by promising the government to stay out of their lives and of the affairs of other countries and that is it! He is not promising or hinting government goodies like perry, mitt, or Santorum(all whom voted and push for democrat liberal agendas). Ron Paul’s message is solid. GET THE FERDERAL GOV OUT OF OUR LIVES!!!

Capitalist75 on January 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM

One word: Marijuana

CW on January 16, 2012 at 2:41 PM

And all the negative campaigning from Mill against Newt was ok? YOu’ll soon see how the Dem’s are going to treat Miitt, and it won’t be nice and they’ll win.

Shain1611 on January 16, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Romney already withstood the Bain attack. So what are you basing this contention?

This is about the economy and if the GOP (I know this is a stretch) does their job Obama’s in a world of hurt.

CW on January 16, 2012 at 2:43 PM

It feels pretty Awesome to be dictated to by 3 other states. I hope upon hope Newt makes Mitt so radioactive for GE. he deserves it.

boogaleesnots on January 16, 2012 at 3:28 PM

For those hoping for a Rick Perry renaissance, there is little evidence to be found for one. He actually trails Huntsman (6.2%) in this for last place at 4.6%. Perry only scored significantly among black voters, winning 36% of the 22 included in the poll. Otherwise, his most significant share of any demographic in this poll is his 7.1% among seniors, which puts him a very distant fourth behind Romney’s 42.1% control of this group.

Even so, Perry is still promising to campaign in Florida:

They need him to keep splitting the Conservative vote until Mitt gets enough under his belt to claim victory.

The question is…..

….WHY would he stay in the race?

What would be in it for him?

PappyD61 on January 16, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Perry is an attention hog if he stays in. If he drops out then he will be a quitter. Either way he has no shot at the brass ring.

I think he ran as part of his book tour.

SparkPlug on January 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM

The Republican Party’s selection process is the most free, open, and democratic in the world – even more than the Democrats, who reserve 20% of their seats for party bosses and officeholders. It is also more conservative now than it has ever been since the Great Depression.

The reason conservative nominees don’t happen very often is that too many conservatives in the Party want to purge everyone who doesn’t agree with them 100%, or on their issue of the day. Reagan, the former Democrat and Union leader who raised state taxes and spending and “invested” taxpayer money in private projects, would be rejected as “RINO” today.

Reagan himself believed in a “big tent” conservatism that attracts people in instead of driving people out.

But it seems many of our conservative friends are saying that if they lose a free and open contest fair and square, they would rather see Obama reelected than “betray their principles” by voting for the nominee we will have selected democratically.

Acting like little children who lose a game and grab up their toys and run home to sob into Mommy’s skirt may seem the mature and wise thing to do in their eyes, but it could damage the country.

Adjoran on January 16, 2012 at 4:16 PM

PappyD61 on January 16, 2012 at 1:15 PM

How many delegates does Romney have after Iowa and New Hampshire?

Because at the end of the day it’s about how many delegates you win.

South Carolina has only 25 Delegates it awards. It’s not winner take all.

Mitt Romney won 7 delegates in Iowa.

Mitt Romney has 25 delegates so far.

The 2012 Republican presidential primaries are the selection processes in which voters of the Republican Party will choose their nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 presidential election. There are 2,286 delegates.[3] A candidate must accumulate 1,144 delegate votes to win.[4]

But sure let’s call the primary race now LOL!

Dr Evil on January 16, 2012 at 4:41 PM

WHAT HAS BEEN SEEN CAN’T BE UNSEEN!

Newt and Nancy sitting on the bench
supporting cap and trade.

Newt and Nancy sitting in a tree ……

MaleAdams1125 on January 16, 2012 at 4:50 PM

It’s amazing to me that Ron Paul is attracting democrats and independents by promising the government to stay out of their lives and of the affairs of other countries and that is it! He is not promising or hinting government goodies like perry, mitt, or Santorum

It’s amazing to me how people will ignore reality if they think it helps their guy. Ron Paul has said on more than one occasion that we need to stop spending on wars, and spend that money on programs here at home instead.

xblade on January 16, 2012 at 4:56 PM

The carrier STUPID Party establishment has brought the dreaded Mhit-For-Brains bacterial infection (first indicated in Iowa as COWPIES-For-Brains) to South Carolina, Looks like the STUPID Party has infected Florida with Mhit-For-Brains too!!! Man there are a whole lot of really STUPID American people. Really, how stupid is it to project the assinine notion of electability with a complete and total LOSER (endorsed by the last LOSER who beat this LOSER the first time around!), that will be beaten like a rented mule by Axelrod and the MSM on so very many fronts!?! Nice Goin’, STUPID Party!! You are going to cost the American people, well, America.

Colatteral Damage on January 16, 2012 at 6:37 PM

Perry is an attention hog if he stays in. If he drops out then he will be a quitter. Either way he has no shot at the brass ring.
I think he ran as part of his book tour.

SparkPlug on January 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Not true. No part of Perry’s campaign has been a book tour. He has written 2 books, but doesn’t make money on either. Proceeds from the first one, On My Honor, go to Boy Scouts of America. Proceeds from the second, Fed Up, go to The Center for Tenth Amendment Studies, a conservative think tank.

cheetah2 on January 16, 2012 at 7:13 PM

I don’t think you know what you’re talking about. Romney is winning many conservative voters, just like he did in Iowa and NH. He’s beating his opponents almost across the board.

Romney is the best!!! Obama is toast!

bluegill on January 16, 2012 at 9:40 AM

Switch to decaf. I’d recommend a lobotomy, but you think Mitt is great, so I guess it’s already been done.

tom on January 16, 2012 at 7:21 PM

I don’t see Perry dropping out until the Texas primary is done. He wouldn’t let his own people down like that. Besides, the more delegates he can keep from George W. Bush Rick Santorum the better.

TMOverbeck on January 16, 2012 at 7:29 PM

Bmore on January 16, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Geez Louise, it reminds me of those Obama supporters in ’08 who swooned and got a case of the vapors, just hearing him stutter speak. There’s support for your candidate, and then there’s “where’s my kneepads” adoration. :-)

Flora Duh on January 16, 2012 at 10:38 AM

I think it’s a calculated strategy to feed the impression that some people are excited about Romney. I honestly doubt that anyone feels such genuine enthusiasm for Romney, and they all know it, so they try to pump up the crowd by acting excited.

Which explains why it’s so over-the-top.

tom on January 16, 2012 at 7:49 PM

As a non-Republican Independent, economic conservative, Romney’s been my guy all along. Newt sounds good. His explanation and defense of most conservative principles and policies are almost always right on. Yet then, he turns into Michael Moore and attacks capitalism, taking about the same position Obama will almost certainly take (probably using quotes from Newt’s film) to advance his own personal political agenda…and lib dems’.

If Newt wins, I’m going to be looking for a 3rd party candidate. I remember Newt as speaker. The Contract With American won a lot of votes for conservative candidates, but as leader, Newt was erratic, petulant and apparently, according to many of his fellow conservatives, difficult to work with. He threw a hissy fit one time when traveling with the president and was asked to exit through the rear door rather than going off at the front with the prez. That’s just petty and was big grist for a media that’s already out to get conservative leaders. Plus he’s on his third wife, which might not be a huge issue, but still…. I want Newt to keep talking up conservatism, but I’m afraid what he’ll do with the power of the government if he gets it again.

limmo on January 16, 2012 at 8:02 PM

A. Fig Newton is the same caliber of narcissist that we have now in the WH. When you walk into a room before a crowd and spread your arms, you are saying here I am, your saviour, your benefactor. Watch him strut. Mitt is far from perfect but I think he knows clearly that if he doesn’t perform pretty conservatively he will flame out. BTW in trying to kill Romney Newt and company have probably killed any chance we ever had to beat Odumba. Thanks you gracious likeable ethical political boobs.

AReadyRepub on January 17, 2012 at 12:03 AM

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