Jan 22

Gingrich Wins South Carolina Primary!

(100% of precincts reporting)
Newt Gingrich —– 243,153 – 40.4%
Mitt Romney ——–167,279 – 27.8%
Rick Santorum —– 102,055 – 17%
Ron Paul ———- 77,993 – 13%
Rick Perry ——– 2,494 – 0.4%
Other ————- 8,192 – 1.4%


Jan 21

Romney Stumbles in Debates and Polls, Gingrich Takes Control


Poll Results
Newt Gingrich 35%
Mitt Romney 29%
Ron Paul 15%
Rick Santorum 15%

*PPP surveyed 836 likely Republican primary voters on January 18th and 19th. The margin
of error for the survey is +/-3.4%. This poll was not paid for or authorized by any
campaign or political organization. PPP surveys are conducted through automated
telephone interviews. PPP is a Democratic polling company, but polling expert Nate
Silver of the New York Times found that its surveys in 2010 actually exhibited a slight
bias toward Republican candidates.

Source: PPP


Clemson University Poll

Poll Results
Newt Gingrich 32%
Mitt Romney 26%
Undecided 20%
Ron Paul 11%
Rick Santorum 9%

*Clemson University 2012 Palmetto Poll, a sample of 429 South Carolina GOP voters who indicated they plan to vote Saturday. The telephone poll was initiated Jan. 13 and recalibrated Jan. 18-19 to measure changing dynamics.

Source: Clemson


Jan 20

Gingrich & Paul Finish in Virtual Tie in Straw Poll


Who will win the 2012 South Carolina Primary?

Newt Gingrich (28%, 1,320 Votes)
Ron Paul (27%, 1,299 Votes)
Mitt Romney (26%, 1,218 Votes)
Rick Santorum (19%, 909 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,746

*1 vote per ip address

Jan 20

1-19-12 CNN GOP Debate


1-19-12 CNN GOP Debate

Jan 19

Rick Perry To Drop Out of GOP Presidential Race

perryTexas Gov. Rick Perry has told supporters he is dropping his Republican presidential bid Thursday, two sources told CNN. Perry’s campaign has scheduled an 11 a.m. ET news conference Thursday in North Charleston, South Carolina.

Perry entered the Republican race in August and immediately jumped to the top of most polls, but a series of poor performances in debates sent his numbers crashing in subsequent surveys.

After a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses, Perry announced he was returning to Texas to “reassess” his campaign but decided a few days later to continue and concentrate his efforts on South Carolina, which holds its primary Saturday.

Perry virtually skipped last week’s New Hampshire primary, where he finished last with 1% of the vote. Most polls in South Carolina show Perry trailing the field, with his poll numbers in single digits.

Source: WSAV

Jan 18

GOP Presidential Debate in Myrtle Beach

GOP Presidential debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, 01-16-2012.


Jan 18

Palin Says She’d Vote for Gingrich in SC Primary

Sarah Palin says that if she lived in South Carolina, she would vote for Newt Gingrich in the state’s presidential primary.

The former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate told Fox News on Tuesday that she wants to see the Republican primary continue.

Palin says the GOP candidates are improving as the contest continues and adds that, in her words, “iron sharpens iron and steel sharpens steel.”

Palin considered entering the presidential race last year but ultimately decided not to. She still holds sway among tea party activists.

Palin was the GOP’s vice presidential candidate in 2008.

Republican candidate Newt Gingrich on Tuesday leveled a forceful new attack on Mitt Romney, calling the GOP front-runner’s former private equity firm “exploitive.”

Gingrich had attacked Bain Capital before, but his comments before a gathering of business leaders in Columbia contained some of his harshest rhetoric yet and came just four days before the South Carolina primary, a critical benchmark for the Gingrich campaign.

After lagging behind in the Iowa causes and the New Hampshire primary, Gingrich is hoping a strong showing in the nation’s first Southern primary will re-energize his White House bid.

And he’s holding little back as he goes for broke against Romney.

The former House speaker said that, in at least some instances, the Bain model has meant “leverage the game, borrow the money, leave the debt behind and walk off with all the profits.”

“Now, I’ll let you decide if that’s really good capitalism. I think it’s exploitive. I think it’s not defensible,” he said.

Gingrich continued that what Romney engaged in “is not venture capital.”

“Venture capital is when you go in and put in your capital and you stick it out,” he said.

Gingrich has faced rebuke in some quarters as attacking the GOP bedrock of free enterprise in his criticism of Romney and Bain. But he argued Tuesday that raising questions about Romney’s track record at Bain should not be confused with an attack on capitalism.

“I’m proud of real capitalists. I’m proud of guys who say to their workers I’m in it with you. If I lose money and you lose a job we lost together because we both tried,” he said.

Earlier in the day Gingrich said at a town hall meeting in West Columbia that a Muslim-American seeking office in the U.S. would have to publicly renounce Islamic law to receive his backing.

When asked if he could support a Muslim for office, the former House speaker replied that it “would depend entirely on whether the person would commit in public to give up sharia,” or Islamic law.

Gingrich said he is totally opposed to Islamic law and supports a federal law that would pre-empt it.

“A truly modern person who worshipped Allah would not be a threat,” he said.

Source: SF Gate

Jan 16

Jon Huntsman Conceding 2012 Presidential Race Ahead Of South Carolina Primary

Jon Huntsman is dropping out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, according to campaign officials.

An aide to Huntsman confirmed the news to The Huffington Post and said the former governor of Utah would endorse Mitt Romney on Monday. The aide added that Huntsman “didn’t want to stand in the way of the candidate most prepared to beat Obama and turn around the economy.”

Huntsman will deliver a speech on his decision on Monday at 11 a.m. ET in Myrtle Beach, S.C., according to the aide. Romney will not stand alongside the Utah Republican as he delivers his remarks.

Huntsman placed third in New Hampshire’s primary election last week after investing significant time and resources in the Granite State. Following the contest, he said, “Third place is a ticket to ride, ladies and gentlemen.”

Huntsman would have faced an uphill battle to deliver a strong performance in South Carolina’s primary election, which will take place next Saturday. Recent polls have shown Huntsman trailing rival contenders competing for the GOP nomination by a wide margin in the conservative state.
Once discussed as the candidate that the Obama reelection team found most challenging to face, Huntsman stumbled under the Klieg lights of the presidential campaign. One close adviser acknowledged, during the final days of the New Hampshire primary, that he found the transition from the world of international diplomacy to electoral politics “difficult to execute.” Complicating matters was fundraising, which failed to pick up after Huntsman’s initial entrance into the race.

There were green shoots along the way. Huntsman won the backing of several prominent editorial boards, including The State, South Carolina’s largest newspaper, which endorsed him less than 24 hours before his campaign announced he was leaving the race. During the final days of the New Hampshire primary, aides sincerely believed he was hitting his stride, with a sharp Sunday morning debate performance and a well-received final speech in Exeter, New Hampshire.

A second place finish would have made it much easier to keep the campaign going through South Carolina and into Florida. But Huntsman couldn’t break through. His final percentage of the vote (17) was more than top aides expected as recently as two days before New Hampshire held its primary. But it still came off as a disappointment.

“Jon Huntsman is proud of the race he ran and his message of restoring trust in Washington,” emailed one aide. “He did not want to stand in the way of the candidate best prepared to beat Barack Obama.”

Source: Huffington Post

Jan 14

Santorum Gains Support from Social Conservatives


Leaders of prominent conservative Christian groups threw their overwhelming support Saturday behind former Sen. Rick Santorum in the Republican presidential contest, an attempt to rally around a single challenger to front-runner Mitt Romney.

Not all of the conservatives who gathered for a two-day meeting in Texas endorsed Mr. Santorum, a sign that the votes of social conservatives are likely to remain split among three or more Republican candidates in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary. If it remains, that division is likely to present a significant benefit to Mr. Romney, who is winning support from centrist Republicans as well as from some conservatives.

The support from the Christian conservatives gives a boost to Mr. Santorum and is a setback for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who also are trying to appeal to social conservatives.

The Texas meeting was organized by religious conservatives who have grown frustrated as Mr. Romney moves toward securing the party’s nomination after back-to-back wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. Many religious conservatives think that Mr. Romney is too moderate on social issues.

Over the course of the two days, leaders of about 150 socially conservative groups, as well as activists and financiers, heard pitches from the candidates’ surrogates and then winnowed their favorites to Messrs. Gingrich and Santorum.

After three ballots, Mr. Santorum emerged with the votes of about 75 percent of the conservatives, with Mr. Gingrich gathering the remaining 25 percent, according to Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council and unofficial spokesman for the meeting.

“Many people were surprised that the group came to a pretty strong agreement on a candidate,” Mr. Perkins said. “It will have some influence on the process. How much of an impact? We’ll see.”

Others said the inability of the group to settle on a single candidate means that the socially conservative wing of the party will split among several candidates in next week’s South Carolina primary. Sixty percent of voters in South Carolina’s 2008 GOP primary called themselves evangelical Christians, exit polls showed.

“I’m just saying that if you really, really want to elect a conservative, and not only win the election but the battle for the party, then everyone should get behind one candidate,” said Keith Appell, a Washington consultant for several conservative groups.

Even if the Christian leaders meeting in Texas had agreed to endorse a single candidate, it is not clear whether voters would follow.

“I don’t think what happened in that meeting will have any impact at all right here in South Carolina,” said Al Phillips, a pastor at First Baptist Church North Spartanburg. “I think people here make up their own minds.”

Mr. Phillips said, “The one thing that almost all of the members of my church agree on is that they are uncomfortable with Romney” due to his Mormon faith and what some say are his evolutions in policy on some social issues.

But he said that voters are split among Messrs. Santorum, Gingrich and Perry. “Santorum has really come on, but I don’t see him becoming the consensus choice, so I think what we are going to get is a Romney win here,” Mr. Phillips said. “I don’t like that, but you really don’t have a candidate who can draw all those people.”

Mr. Romney could all but wrap up the Republican presidential nomination if he wins the South Carolina primary. Mr. Romney currently leads in the polls of South Carolina, but Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum aren’t far behind. The race moves next to Florida, a large state with expensive media markets, meaning that well-funded candidates such as Mr. Romney have an advantage.

If social conservatives dilute their vote in South Carolina, Mr. Romney could cruise to victory in the state and elsewhere by winning a majority of the support from people who base their votes on economic issues.

Rep. Tim Scott (R., S.C.), an evangelical Christian and tea party supporter, said Saturday that many of South Carolina’s evangelical voters are putting concerns about the economy first this year and that Mitt Romney will do well among them.

“There is no question that the reason Romney is doing so well in an evangelical state is because the issues have changed substantially,” said Mr. Scott, who has not endorsed a candidate.

South Carolina voters “don’t want to see 10 percent unemployment… so you have to admit that the jobs market is far more important than other issues for many people,” he said at a candidate forum in Charleston.

For much of the last week, Mr. Romney and his rivals have crisscrossed South Carolina appealing for votes. Mr. Romney has spent a lot of time in Charleston and other areas along the coast that are home to many of the party’s more moderate voters. Messrs. Santorum and Gingrich have spent more time inland, where there are more socially and religiously conservative Republicans.

In appearances Friday in Duncan, S.C., Messrs. Gingrich and Santorum made contrasting pitches to a crowd at a local high school.

Mr. Gingrich told the audience that if conservatives remained divided, Mr. Romney would win the primary. “If we end up splitting the conservative vote, we’re going to stumble into nominating somebody who 99% of the people in this room are going to be very uncomfortable with,” he said.

santorum_CarolinaSpeaking after Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Santorum said conservatives shouldn’t compromise their political beliefs in order to back a candidate they think will win. Rather, he said, they should vote for the candidate who best shares their views.

“Over the past few weeks, you have been told your job is to pick someone who can win, to compromise those values you believe in,” Mr. Santorum said. “Who’s saying that to you? People who don’t share your values.”

For his part, Mr. Romney has also appealed to religious conservatives. On Monday, he plans to attend a “presidential kick-off” event sponsored by the South Carolina Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Jan 14

Gingrich and Paul Gain In Rasmussen Poll

Mitt Romney still holds first place in the South Carolina Primary field, while his opponents jockey for second with the voting eight days away.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters in South Carolina finds Romney ahead with 28% support, but now former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is in second place with 21% of the vote. Support for former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum who was in second a week ago has fallen back to 16%, putting him dead even with Texas Congressman Ron Paul who also earns 16%.

newt gingrichTexas Governor Rick Perry, whose continued candidacy likely depends on the Jan. 21 South Carolina vote, now captures six percent (6%) support, while former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman runs last with five percent (5%). One percent (1%) like some other candidate in the race, and eight percent (8%) remain undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Romney’s support remains virtually unchanged from the 27% he earned a week ago, but the field challenging the front-runner has seen some movement. Santorum is down eight points, Gingrich is up three, and Paul is up five.

Romney’s rivals continue to question his political conservatism and his business practices in a state with a strong conservative bent. Among likely primary voters who describe themselves as Very Conservative, Gingrich and Santorum each earn 23% of the vote, while Romney runs third with 18%. However, among Somewhat Conservative voters in South Carolina, Romney leads by 16.

In Florida, the state following South Carolina on the campaign schedule, Romney has a huge 22-point lead. In that state, he holds a slight lead over Gingrich and Santorum among Very Conservative voters.

Much can change in the closing days before the South Carolina primary, with just 52% who say they are certain of their vote at this time. Forty-one percent (41%) still could change their minds, and eight percent (8%) have no initial preference so far. Those primary voters who’ve already made up their minds include 63% of Paul’s supporters, 61% of both Romney and Gingrich voters and 57% of Huntsman’s backers. Just 44% of Santorum’s voters and 33% of Perry’s have made their final decision.

In Iowa, a late surge by Santorum nearly swept him to victory. In New Hampshire, Paul and Huntsman made gains in the final days of the campaign. Scott Rasmussen notes, “One half of Huntsman voters in New Hampshire and one-third of Paul’s said that they would like to see more candidates enter the race. This suggests whoever is perceived as the most effective tactical alternative to Romney could see a last-minute surge in South Carolina as well.

This South Carolina survey of 750 Likely Republican Primary Voters was conducted on January 12, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Regardless of the candidate they support, 68% of likely GOP primary voters in the Palmetto State expect Romney to be the eventual nominee, with no one else even close. A plurality (43%) thinks Romney would be the strongest GOP candidate to oppose President Obama, followed by Gingrich who is seen as the strongest challenger by 23%. This is comparable to the views of Republican voters nationwide. Paul is seen as the weakest challenger to Obama by South Carolina primary voters and GOP voters nationally.

Romney is viewed favorably by 68% of likely South Carolina Republican primary voters, followed by Santorum at 63%, Gingrich at 56%, Perry at 48%, Paul at 43% and Huntsman at 35%.

Among Tea Party voters, Gingrich runs first on the ballot with 26% support, followed by Santorum at 20%, Paul at 18% and Romney in fourth with 16%. But Romney outpolls Gingrich two-to-one – 35% to 17% – among those who say they are not part of the grass roots movement.

Romney also leads among all religious groups except Evangelical Christians. Among these voters, Gingrich picks up 25% support, Santorum 23% and Romney 20%.

Eighty percent (80%) of all likely GOP primary voters in South Carolina will vote for the Republican candidate in November even if their favorite doesn’t win the nomination. But six percent (6%) plan to vote for Obama and seven percent (7%) for a third party candidate if their favorite falls short. As is found nationally and in other states, a sizable number (26%) of Paul supporters in South Carolina say they will vote third party if that’s the case.

Only nine percent (9%) of primary voters in the state at least somewhat approve of the job Obama is doing as president, and 84% think it’s at least somewhat likely that the Republican nominee will win in November. The latter includes 51% who say it is Very Likely.

Poll Results
Mitt Romney 28%
Newt Gingrich 21%
Rick Santorum 16%
Ron Paul 16%
Undecided 8%
Rick Perry 6%
Jon Huntsman 5%

Rasmussen Reports

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