Texas Governor Rick Perry has vaulted to the top of the heap of GOP presidential candidates, according to the latest Winthrop Poll. But he is by no means a shoo-in to win the 2012 South Carolina GOP Primary, says Winthrop Poll Director Dr. Scott Huffmon. Among Republicans and GOP-leaners planning to vote in the primary, 30.5 percent favor Perry while 27.3 percent favor former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Huffmon says while Perry has experienced a meteoric rise, Romney has shown that he has staying power.
The poll of 1552 registered South Carolina voters was taken September 11-18. The margin of error for data of those definitely planning to vote in the 2012 primary is 4.57 percent.
During his rapid rise, Perry has been able to pull support away from several GOP candidates who have been on the campaign trail longer than him, however Huffmon points out that the least affected candidate has been Romney, whose numbers have remained relatively steady.
He says the candidate that has been most negatively affected by Perry’s candidacy is Minnesota Congressman Michele Bachmann, whose support among Tea Party members has eroded significantly.
Bachmann dropped to seventh place in the poll at 3.5 percent. Herman Cain is third at 7.7 percent, followed by unannounced candidate Sarah Palin at 5.8 percent, Newt Gingrich with 5.3 percent, and Ron Paul at 4.2 percent. Another 11 percent polled indicated that they were not sure.
Huffmon said if the primary vote were taken today, it would be fair to say that the two-horse race between Perry and Romney would be too close to call.