Mitt Romney leads the Republican primary field in South Carolina by a large margin, according to the latest poll released by Public Policy Polling.
Asked which of the candidates they would most like to see as the Republican nominee, 27 percent of primary voters said Romney. Sarah Palin is a distant second with 18 percent of the vote. Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich tie for third with 12 percent each. When PPP last polled the state, Romney was second to Mike Huckabee, who has since announced he will not run.
Romney now leads in PPP polls of all of the early primary states – Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. A Washington Post/ABC poll released Tuesday found that in a head to head match up, only Romney would beat Obama by a slim margin among registered voters.
If Palin opts not to run, Romney takes an even more solid lead in the field, getting 30 percent of the vote, to Cain and Gingrich’s second place of 15 percent a piece. Romney would also beat Palin, Pawlenty, or Cain by large margins in a head-to-head primary race.
The only person who appears to have the power to unseat Romney in the early primary state is Senator Jim DeMint, who has been the subject of some speculation as to whether he would run. If DeMint were to jump into the race, he would take 35 percent of the vote, knocking Romney down to 21 percent.
The poll, which surveyed 1,000 South Carolina Primary voters between June 2 and June 5, was conducted through automated telephone interviews.