Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is still popular among likely Republican voters in South Carolina. A new NBC-News/Marist poll released Wednesday shows the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO with 30 percent support among that group, ahead of Mitt Romney’s 26 percent support. Texas Governor Rick Perry continues to fade with only 9 percent.
It is the first poll conducted by Marist in South Carolina this year. Poll director Lee Miringoff says Cain’s debate performance seems to be driving his popularity. “Of those who’ve seen all or most of the debates, Cain has a 15 percentage point lead over Romney,” Miringoff told South Carolina Radio Network.
The poll surveyed 2,506 people, 639 said they were likely to vote Republican.
However, the poll shows there is still a lot of instability in the GOP race, as 15 percent of those polled said they were “undecided.” Another 25 percent said they could change their mind before January’s primary.
Cain outpaces Romney among those who say they support the Tea Party (picking up 45 percent to Romney’s 28 percent). Among those who say they “strongly” support the Tea Party, Cain leads 52 percent to 12 percent. Romney has more support among moderate Republicans. Among those GOPers who say they don’t support the Tea Party, 44 percent say they back the former Massachusetts Governor.
Pollsters found Romney still does best among all likely South Carolina voters in a head-to-head race with President Obama. The poll reports Romney holds a 46 percent to 40 percent lead over the president, while Cain only leads 44 percent to 42 percent. Perry’s edge was within the poll’s margin of error.
The poll found Romney holds a 13 percentage point lead over Obama among self-identified independents in South Carolina, while Cain holds an 11 point lead. “Clearly, Romney does better among independents against President Obama than Cain or Perry do,” Miringoff said.
Marist conducted the poll last week.