Thursday, January 19, 2012

Poll Watch: Rasmussen South Carolina 2012 Republican Primary Survey

Rasmussen South Carolina 2012 GOP Primary Poll
  • Newt Gingrich 33% (21%) {21%} [18%] (15%)
  • Mitt Romney 31% (35%) {28%} [27%] (23%)
  • Ron Paul 15% (16%) {16%} [11%] (5%)
  • Rick Santorum 11% (16%) {16%} [24%] (1%)
  • Rick Perry 2% (5%) {6%} [5%] (9%)
  • Undecided 6% (8%) {8%} [11%]
Are you certain you will vote for that candidate or is it possible that something come up that causes you to change your mind?
  • Certain 62% (59%) {52%}
  • Could change mind 31% (33%) {41%}
  • No preference yet 6% (8%) {8%}
Note: Sixty-two percent (62%) now are certain of how they will vote on Saturday, including nearly 70% of those supporting Gingrich, Romney, Santorum and Paul. Just 37% of Perry voters have made up their minds at this point.

Survey of 750 likely Republican primary voters was conducted January 18, 2012.  The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.  Results from the poll conducted January 16, 2012 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted January 12, 2012 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted January 5, 2012 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted November 1, 2011 are in parentheses. 

Inside the numbers:
Gingrich holds a two-to-one lead over Romney among both Very Conservative and Tea Party Republicans in the state. The former Massachusetts governor holds a far more modest lead among Somewhat Conservative voters and those who are not members of the grassroots movement.

Evangelical Christians prefer Gingrich by 37% to 21% margin, with Paul and Santorum at 16% and 15% respectively. Romney leads among all other religious groups.

Despite continuing criticism of Romney’s record as a businessman, 62% of all South Carolina primary voters now feel his business record is primarily a reason to vote for him, while just 22% view it as chiefly a reason to vote against him. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.

By a narrow 36% to 31%, primary voters think Romney would do a better job than Gingrich managing the economy. Seventeen percent (17%) feel Paul would do a better job.

Romney continues to be the most popular of the GOP candidates in South Carolina but just barely. Sixty-six percent (66%) of likely primary voters view him favorably, but now 64% say the same of Gingrich. Santorum is viewed favorably by 58%, Perry by 49% and Paul by 40%.

Just 62% of all likely primary voters in South Carolina think Romney will win the GOP presidential nomination, down from 69% two days ago. Twenty-two percent (22%) believe Gingrich will be the nominee.

Forty-two percent (42%) say Romney would be the strongest challenger to President Obama, but that’s down from 49% earlier in the week. Thirty-four percent (34%) now think Gingrich would be the strongest challenger. A plurality (48%) still believes Paul would be the weakest challenger the GOP could choose.

Eighty-one percent (81%) say their vote on Saturday primarily will be for their favorite candidate, but 14% say it will be primarily a vote against one of the other candidates.

Even if their favorite doesn’t win the nomination, however, 81% plan to vote for the Republican candidate in the fall. Seven percent (7%) will vote for Obama if their favorite isn’t the nominee, and eight percent (8%) will vote third party. As has been the case all along, Paul’s supporters are by far the most likely to vote third party if he doesn’t get the GOP nomination.

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