There is no indication that the South Carolina primary will be cooling down anytime soon. Candidates hit the Sunday Talk Shows as Real Clear Politics released it latest average of polls this morning. An average of polls taken between January 8th and 13th suggests that Mitt Romney leads with 29%, Newt Gingrich is second with 16.4%, followed by Rick Santorum at 14.4%. Ron Paul has 13.2%, while Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman are in the single digits. This gives Mitt Romney still a 12.6% spread over Newt Gingrich.
evangelical leaders from around the country endorsed Santorum on Saturday, after holding a vote on a Texas ranch to agree on a single candidate before the January 21 South Carolina primary.
This will likely be reflected in future polls, especially in South Carolina, because of its strong evangelical movement. There is also a consensus among the conservative candidates that their votes are being split.
In a Reuters/Ipsos Poll released yesterday, Romney is the choice of 37% of voters, followed by Ron Paul and Rick Santorum both at 16%, while Newt Gingrich has fallen into fourth place with 12%. A Gallup Poll, which looked at the candidates nationwide has Romney at 35%, Santorum at 14%, and Paul and Gingrich at 13%.
The candidates hit the Sunday talk shows and Newt Gingrich continued his attacks on Romney stating that the only way a Massachusetts moderate can get through South Carolina, is if the vote is split by the other candidates. The other candidates also kept their attacks focused on Romney, Rick Perry calling him a venture capitalist, who acts like a vulture to waiting to swoop up and devour weakened companies.
“The fact is, if this is a fatal flaw, we need to be talking about it now, not talking about it in September and October,” Perry said.
With two debates left, one on Monday night at Myrtle Beach hosted by FOX News at 9 pm ET and the other in Charlton on Thursday hosted by CNN at 8pm ET, there are still many undecided voters in South Carolina. Many things can change.
The only thing clear at this moment is that the rank and file Republicans are not comfortable with Governor Romney, but can’t settle on a social conservative.