New poll in S.C. indicates tight race for top spot
Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich hold up signs on December 30, 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa.
January 13th, 2012
11:28 AM ET
11 years ago

New poll in S.C. indicates tight race for top spot

(CNN) - With eight days to go until the South Carolina primary, a new poll suggests a close contest in the first southern state to vote in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

According to an American Research Group survey released Friday morning, 29% of likely Palmetto State GOP primary voters say they're backing Mitt Romney, with 25% supporting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Romney's four-point margin over Gingrich is within the poll's sampling error.

The survey indicates Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at 20%, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 9%, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at 7%, and former Utah Gov. and former U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman at 1%, with 7% undecided.

The poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday, after Tuesday's New Hampshire primary. Romney, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, won nearly 40% of the vote in New Hampshire, with Paul, the longtime congressman who's making his third bid for the White House, finishing a strong second.

Paul has surged 11 points and Santorum has dropped 17 points since ARG's last survey in South Carolina, which was conducted after Iowa's January 3 caucuses and before New Hampshire's primary. Perry has jumped 7 points since the earlier survey, with Gingrich inching up two points and Romney losing two points. Romney edged out Santorum by eight votes to win Iowa's caucuses. Paul came in third place.

The survey indicates Gingrich with 28% support among likely primary voters who say they are supporters of the tea party movement, with Romney at 24%, Paul at 20% and Santorum at 11%. Romney has a ten-point lead over Gingrich and the rest of the field among those who say they are not supporters of the tea party.

According to the poll, Gingrich has the backing of 40% of self described evangelical Christians, with Perry at 15%, Romney at 13%, Santorum at 12% and Paul at 10%. Romney is in the lead, at 48%, among those who say they are not evangelical Christians, with Paul at 33%, and everyone else in single digits.

The American Research Group poll was conducted between January 11 and January 12, with 600 likely South Carolina GOP primary voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

Filed under: 2012 • Polls • South Carolina
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Sayitaintso

    As a voter in SC, I would much rather cast my ballot for a true conservative, Stephen Colbert. Where is he in this poll?

    January 13, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Fernando - Miami

    "we can build this thing together, stand in stone forever, Nothing's gonna stop us now, nothing's gonna stop us now!!"

    January 13, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. CanadaONE

    Thanks Mitt?

    for creating jobs in CANADA at the expense of the USA

    BUT we are UPSET because you created EVAN MORE jobs in China and India with BAIN than in North America

    we don't want you on this continent

    GET OUT!!! take your millions and get OUT



    January 13, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. Ralf The Dog.

    I think, "None of the above" will get the nomination. I vote for pizza!

    January 13, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Woman In California

    Fair is Fair

    Never thought I'd see the day where democrats are rooting for, of all people, Newt Gingrich. They must be really, really scared of Romney.

    No, I have never nor will I ever support Romney. As a matter of fact I detest him so anyone OTHER than the vulture capaitalist is alright with me.

    January 13, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Clinton

    I seriously think this is a dumb process to choose who should run for President... The polls swing back and forth state to state as you would expect in any election but unfortunately it's done in a slow state by state process until ... what is it... super tuesday or some dumb crap like that... by the time anybody in the West even gets a shot at casting a vote it's down to 2 people most likely... So we let the Eastern half of our country decide who's going to run for President? I thought this country and these parties were all about Democracy... why not hold a series of primaries separated by a couple weeks. do 1/3 of the country at a time... make it impossible for money to decide the election since that's what most candidates do, inundate a specific state with ads and mostly negative ads to win 1 state and then to the next... have a true election where more than just East coast idiots get to decide who we vote for...

    January 13, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    @ Fair is Fair
    Democrats love Romney gets the nomination
    Debate will be
    Which pro abortion better?
    Which gay rights better?
    Which health care is better?
    End Romney will agree with Obama’s policies

    January 13, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. bilk7

    SC and Florida have the chance to correct the mistake of NH and Iowa and save the GOP from total defeat in November by telling Mitt Romney, we don't want you! Romney at the head of a Republican ballot will hurt all Republicans and possibly make gaining control of the Senate impossible and even losing control of the House. Although with Boehner and Cantor running things over there, ithat may not be a bad thing. However, if the GOP nominates Romney, Obama will win a second term!

    January 13, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. Joe Mama

    Gingrich? Seriously? Have these people heard of Google? People of South Carolina, you still have time. Do some research, please. Your vote is your power in a democracy. Use your power wisely!

    January 13, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. ST

    Let us all witness the whole process. What we hear is no one can win the the nomination , if they can not win S. Carolina. Romney is not the man for GOP. No one has come forward from the Grand Party to endorse him except the totally confused McCain. I am happy to let the game go on and not let the man with money supporters end the game!

    January 13, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. devonshire

    Canada needs to stay in Canada...we don't vote for your politicians and you need to keep your nose out of our business.

    January 13, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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