A new poll shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry running nearly neck-and-neck in South Carolina, a key primary state.
The Winthrop University poll shows Perry leading with 30.5 percent support among those planning to definitely vote in the primary. Romney finishes second 27.3 percent support, or within the margin of error of Perry’s lead. Former Godfather’s CEO Herman Cain came in 3rd place with 7.7 percent support. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann fell to 7th place with 3.5 percent support behind former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.
The Palmetto State primary is seen as important bellwether in determining candidates’ support among conservatives, and the winner is traditionally seen as the choice of the GOP’s conservative base. Every Republican nominee since 1980 has won the primary.
When asked if it was more important for the Party to choose someone who matched their beliefs or someone with the best chance to beat President Obama, nearly 60 percent of those definitely planning to vote in the primary chose the former option, versus 33.5 percent who said they wanted the most electable candidate.
The survey was conducted between September 11th – 18th among 596 Republicans and Republican-leaning voters. The margin of error for the sample is +/- 4.01 percent.