Politics

Mitt Romney in Charge in South Carolina

With Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump out, Palmetto State likely to rally behind the front-runner again
By: Kevin Derby | Posted: July 18, 2011 12:05 PM
Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

A new poll from American Research Group released Monday shows that former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts is leading the Republican presidential race in South Carolina, traditionally the first state in the South to hold a presidential primary.

The South Carolina Republican primary -- set up with the help of legendary Republican operative the late Lee Atwater, a native of the Palmetto State -- has proven decisive in recent years, helping to erect a firewall in the region for Atwater’s candidate George H.W. Bush in 1988 and propelling front-runners Bob Dole over Pat Buchanan in 1996 and George W. Bush over John McCain in 2000.

Romney leads the pack with 25 percent, with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has yet to declare if she is running, in second with 16 percent. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota placed third with 13 percent, followed by businessman Herman Cain, based in neighboring Georgia, with 10 percent.

The rest of the field trailed in single digits. Two other candidates who have left the door open to running but have not officially entered -- Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- tied for fifth with 6 percent. Despite being from neighboring Georgia, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich garnered only 3 percent. Three candidates -- U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former Gov. Buddy Roemer of Louisiana -- tied for eighth with 2 percent. The rest of the pack -- former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah, former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota -- took less than 1 percent.

The poll shows dramatic developments since an earlier one in April. In that poll, former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, who has since announced that he will not run in 2012, led with 20 percent followed by Romney with 18 percent. Billionaire and reality television star Donald Trump, who also announced he was not running, took third with 13 percent, followed by Palin with 10 percent.

Besides Palin and Romney, the two polls show momentum for other candidates in South Carolina -- namely Bachmann and Cain. Bachmann had 5 percent in April and now stands at 13 percent, while Cain moved up from 1 percent in April to 10 percent today.

Gingrich is the one candidate who took a step back since April. He moved back from 9 percent in April to his current 3 percent.

The poll of 600 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters was taken from July 12-17 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.
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Comments (14)

nelson hateron
4:44AM NOV 2ND 2011
The South Carolina Republican primary -- set up with the help of legendary Republican operative the late Lee Atwater, a native of the Palmetto State -- has proven decisive in recent years, helping to erect a firewall in the region for Atwater’s candidate George H.W. Bush in 1988 and propelling front-runners Bob Dole over Pat Buchanan in 1996 and George W. Bush over John McCain in 2000.
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lossie japlon
11:25PM NOV 1ST 2011
The Palmetto Freedom Forum is an event that will take place on Labor Day, 2011 in Columbia, SC. The goal of the event is to have an honest discussion with the top GOP Presidential Candidates, giving them an outlet to voice their thoughts on the key issues.

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Bill589
4:45PM JUL 18TH 2011
Do I want to elect somebody who has for years watched us suffer, watched the constitution and our rights suffer, watched a debt that may make our grandchildren suffer, watched an innocent Republican suffer being called a murderer, etc., etc. . . and stayed quiet, and safe while watching?
-
Or - do I want to elect the one person that has for years shown fortitude spearheading an effective fight against the Left’s bad policies that are causing the suffering?
-
Only now, these others guys finally stick their neck out to serve us. Only now, because they need our vote. Can they survive the Left and their media? And then even if they can, what will they do after they don’t need our vote anymore?
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Sarah Palin must be motivated by something more than ambition. I’m not sure about most of the others. Sarah served us before she had to, before she had to start campaigning for president. Evidence she truly has a servants heart. Palin has shown the fortitude the others can only promise.
Nanjing03
7:50PM JUL 18TH 2011
Sorry Bill, but Sarah Palin already got what she wanted, the limelight and media attention, a string of book deals and lucrative speaking tours, millions in the bank and security for herself, her knock around husband, her run-a-round daughter and illegitimate grandchild. Palin was McCain's one shot flare gun that might have at least gotten him elected if she went with the campaign plan to just look pretty and a little intimidating. The problem is that she has a mouth and stupid things came out of it and all of a sudden, Joe Biden didn’t sound as stupid as we all know he is. If she wasn't a Republican, she would have made a great Democrat.
Bill589
5:52PM JUL 20TH 2011
Sorry Nan - The truth will prevail.
----
Just some of the things Sarah Palin did since she ‘quit’ (reloaded):
Jump-started the weakening of Obamacare. (Death Panels)
Gets Obama wee-wee’d up.
Rallied and strengthened the TPMovement.
Gave quick and correct decisions on policies.
Gave us TPM-Republicans in the House and Senate.
Saved the GOP from nominating someone for 2012 who couldn’t even beat McCain last time.
(This last one is ‘in process.’)
And most important in my and some other cases anyway - she helped us have hope.
----
This is leading the fight to restore the United States to the principles and practices that took 13 war battered states, and made them the greatest nation the world has ever seen.
Nanjing03
3:43PM JUL 18TH 2011
It is too early to predict how South Carolina will go right now. It is a good bet that the "Tour de Rinos" is not what South Carolinians are going to line the streets for. Pro-abortion, anti-gun Mitt Romney may be the lead Rino over Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giulliani, and Obama's man, Huntsman, but he is no different than the Rinos who bailed out. The talk around here is a Rick Perry - Michelle Bachmann GOP race, perhaps a team with one ultimately being a running mate of the other.
2:58PM JUL 18TH 2011
I'm a disabled veteran trying to support my family.
Please take a look at our website:
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Lina smith
6:25AM OCT 11TH 2011
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2:56PM JUL 18TH 2011
I'm a disabled veteran trying to support my family.
Please take a look at our website:
http://fpaxson.acndirect.com/default.asp
Lori*
2:47PM JUL 18TH 2011
James, you must be privvy to something I am not. Jim DeMint is not that close in ideology to Ron Paul. And DeMint further needs more than that, to endorse. Its not enough to agree with him on a few things. He wants real world experience, leadership, competence, as well. I'm thinking he will go for the same person he did in 2008 when DeMint endoresed Romney.
James
1:38PM JUL 18TH 2011
I'm really hoping that Senator DeMint comes out for Ron Paul. He's the closest to his beliefs and small government stance, that's for sure.
Nanjing03
3:33PM JUL 18TH 2011
Ron Paul would have been our next president with his fiscal conservative philosophy, his pro- 1st and 2nd Amendment stand, his staunch support for the free market economy, his justified contempt for U.N. interference, etc. But he blew it when he refused to take a definitive stand against dangerous drugs. Too bad. Time to move forward.
Ed Helmstetter
9:42PM JUL 18TH 2011
you`re willing to flip your vote because you don`t understand his position on the war on drugs?
take a step back, look at the big picture and get to work on getting this man elected for your own sake
NadePaulKuciGravMcKi
1:01PM JUL 18TH 2011
Willard Romney
selected not elected
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