Washington (CNN) - How much of an impact will Jon Huntsman's ending of his bid for the presidency make in the race for the GOP presidential nomination?
The results of a national survey indicate the answer may be 'not much.'
Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN/Southern Republican Presidential Debate hosted by John King and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the South Carolina primary, go to CNNPolitics.com and on the CNN apps for iPhone, iPad, Android or other phones.
- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
According to a CNN/ORC International poll released Friday, 34% of Republicans and independent voters who lean towards the GOP said they were backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for their party's nomination, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 18%, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania each at 15%, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 9% and Huntsman at 4%.
The poll also asked candidates for their second choice. And the answers to that second-choice question can be used to re-compute the horse race without the former Utah governor. But that new horse race result shows little change. Romney edged up slightly by two points, to 36%, while support for Gingrich, Paul, Santorum and Perry remained exactly the same. Huntsman voters who don't name Romney as their second choice tended not to have a second choice at all, leaving them in the "none" or "unsure" categories in the re-computed horse race.
As the poll indicated, Huntsman's move may ever so slightly help Romney gain support among a sliver of the moderate and establishment wing of the GOP, but other than that there appears there would be no impact.
"Even after a good third-place showing in New Hampshire, nearly half of all Americans did not know who Huntsman was or did not have an opinion about him." says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That goes a long way toward explaining why Huntsman had relatively few supporters in a post-New Hampshire nationwide poll."
Huntsman, the former Utah governor and former ambassador to China, skipped the Iowa caucuses and spent nearly all of his time campaigning in New Hampshire the past few months. He finished in third place, with 17% of the vote in the first-in-the-nation primary, behind Romney at 39% and Paul at 23%.
Last Tuesday night, Huntsman said his bronze medal in New Hampshire was "ticket to ride" to move him onto South Carolina, which holds the third contest in the primary and caucus calendar, but Huntsman changed his mind Sunday and now his ride towards the nomination is over.
The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International, with 1,021 adult Americans, including 449 Republicans and independents who lean Republican, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN