Poll: SC Republicans prefer Stephen Colbert over Jon Huntsman

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman‘s presidential campaign is in trouble, even if he performs well in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. A poll of likely Republican voters ahead of South Carolina’s Jan. 21 primary shows that Huntsman would lag behind Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert.

In the second-voting state of the primary season after the Iowa caucuses, Huntsman polled at a mere four percent against Colbert’s five percent, when the comedian was included in the candidate line-up.

The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that with Colbert in the race, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney remained the GOP field’s front-runner in the state, at 27 percent, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 23 percent and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum at 18 percent.

Colbert toyed with launching a campaign for president in 2008, intending only to run in South Carolina. But despite his bluster, Colbert balked at the $35,000 filing fee for the state’s Republican primary and was booted from the ballot by the state Democratic Party.

The popular comedian has been an active participant in this season’s Republican primary.  Ahead of Iowa’s much-touted Ames Straw Poll in August — just before Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the race — Colbert endeavored to foil the write-in campaign for the Texas governor by buying ad space promoting “Rick Parry” to Iowans.

Huntsman is banking on a strong showing in New Hampshire, where he hopes to exceed expectations and propel his campaign forward. Even if he succeeds there, he faces an uphill climb due to single-digit poll results and his exclusion from primary ballots in Virginia, Arizona and Illinois.

The PPP poll was based on a Jan. 5–7 survey of 1,112 likely Republican primary voters.

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