Rasmussen: Romney leads Gingrich, Santorum in SC

Rick Moran
This snapshot poll was taken Thursday so it includes any bounce Romney might have gotten from his New Hampshire win.

Turns out, it wasn't much of a bounce at all:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters in South Carolina finds Romney ahead with 28% support, but now former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is in second place with 21% of the vote. Support for former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum who was in second a week ago has fallen back to 16%, putting him dead even with Texas Congressman Ron Paul who also earns 16%.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, whose continued candidacy likely depends on the Jan. 21 South Carolina vote, now captures six percent (6%) support, while former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman runs last with five percent (5%). One percent (1%) like some other candidate in the race, and eight percent (8%) remain undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Romney's support remains virtually unchanged from the 27% he earned a week ago, but the field challenging the front-runner has seen some movement. Santorum is down eight points, Gingrich is up three, and Paul is up five.

Romney's rivals continue to question his political conservatism and his business practices in a state with a strong conservative bent. Among likely primary voters who describe themselves as Very Conservative, Gingrich and Santorum each earn 23% of the vote, while Romney runs third with 18%. However, among Somewhat Conservative voters in South Carolina, Romney leads by 16.

Santorum's bounce was a little more pronounced, but he still can't seem to catch fire with SC conservatives. And Gingrich appears to have stopped the bleeding in his campaign and may be positioning himself to once again emerge as the main conservative rival to Romney. He didn't help himself with his anti-capitalist attacks on Romney, but now seems to have abandoned that attack and is going after Romney in more traditional ways, highlighting his flip flopping and lack of conservative credentials.

I would be very surprised if this race doesn't narrow even further before primary day, January 21.


This snapshot poll was taken Thursday so it includes any bounce Romney might have gotten from his New Hampshire win.

Turns out, it wasn't much of a bounce at all:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters in South Carolina finds Romney ahead with 28% support, but now former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is in second place with 21% of the vote. Support for former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum who was in second a week ago has fallen back to 16%, putting him dead even with Texas Congressman Ron Paul who also earns 16%.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, whose continued candidacy likely depends on the Jan. 21 South Carolina vote, now captures six percent (6%) support, while former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman runs last with five percent (5%). One percent (1%) like some other candidate in the race, and eight percent (8%) remain undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Romney's support remains virtually unchanged from the 27% he earned a week ago, but the field challenging the front-runner has seen some movement. Santorum is down eight points, Gingrich is up three, and Paul is up five.

Romney's rivals continue to question his political conservatism and his business practices in a state with a strong conservative bent. Among likely primary voters who describe themselves as Very Conservative, Gingrich and Santorum each earn 23% of the vote, while Romney runs third with 18%. However, among Somewhat Conservative voters in South Carolina, Romney leads by 16.

Santorum's bounce was a little more pronounced, but he still can't seem to catch fire with SC conservatives. And Gingrich appears to have stopped the bleeding in his campaign and may be positioning himself to once again emerge as the main conservative rival to Romney. He didn't help himself with his anti-capitalist attacks on Romney, but now seems to have abandoned that attack and is going after Romney in more traditional ways, highlighting his flip flopping and lack of conservative credentials.

I would be very surprised if this race doesn't narrow even further before primary day, January 21.