Jan 14

How Much of An Impact Will Religion Play in SC Primary Vote?

The latest poll shows a tight 3-man race between Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul in next week’s GOP Presidential Primary in South Carolina.

Many political pundits say South Carolina is for the battleground state for the evangelical vote. However, Clemson political science professor Dave Woodard says if the past is any indication, religion will not singlehandedly influence the outcome.

Woodard says 7 out of every 10 voters he has polled in the Upstate say they go to church once a week. “7 On Your Side” wanted to find out if religion will make a difference in your vote?

Clemson political science professor Dave Woodard polls South Carolina voters who don’t like to talk about religion and politics those issues. Woodard says, “Especially if you ask them direct questions about Romney being a Mormon, Santorum a Catholic, Gingrich recently converting to Catholicism, they don’t want to talk about that.”

Unlike many voters in the Upstate, very few candidates identify themselves as Protestants. Rick Perry says he was raised in a Methodist Church. Ron Paul says he has accepted Jesus Christ. So, what does that mean to the people?

Woodard says, “Does it guide their vote? Yes. I think it does, but trying to get them to say it, is another thing.”

Even though Woodard says religion plays a big role in what voters do at the ballot box, he says if the past is any indication, it won’t single-handedly influence who wins.

He gives an example, saying, “In 1988, Pat Robertson, a televangelist, beat George H. W. Bush in Iowa, and all the national pundits said he’ll win South Carolina hands down.” But Robertson did not win the South Carolina primary. And neither did Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, in the 2008 South Carolina primary.

So, this time around, Woodard says the voters may keep everyone guessing…again. Woodard says, “It looks like all these Christians wouldn’t vote for a Mormon. They’ll surprise you. It looks like all these Christians would have voted for Pat Robertson. They didn’t, and so each time, you can’t go with the stereotype.”

Woodard says so far, much of the debate between candidates has been about economic issues.

But in the final days before South Carolina’s primary, if the talk turns to social issues, Woodard says religion will weigh more heavily on voters’ minds.

This Sunday is the last Sunday before the January 21 primary, and candidates plan to spend that day trying to capture the evangelical vote. Rick Perry and Rick Santorum plan to attend the “Faith and Freedom Prayer Breakfast” in Myrtle Beach. And Jon Huntsman’s campaign says he will be attending a church service. The location has not yet been announced. “7 On Your Side” reached out. to all the campaigns Friday, and we did not receive any more details on other candidates’ schedules.

Source: WSPA News

Jan 14

Ron Paul Makes Significant Gains in Recent PPP Poll


Ron Paul has nearly doubled his support in less than a week according to a recent Public Policy Polling poll. Newt Gingrich is still just 4% behind front runner Mitt Romney while Rick Santorum slipped to 14%.

Mitt Romney 29%
Newt Gingrich 24%
Ron Paul 15%
Rick Santorum 14%
Rick Perry 6%
Jon Huntsman 5%
Buddy Roemer 1%

Source: PPP

*PPP surveyed 803 likely Republican primary voters from January 11th to 13th. The
margin of error for the survey is +/-3.5%. 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.

Jan 14

Rick Santorum’s South Carolina team revels in momentum

GREENVILLE, S.C. — The trouble began with yard signs.

Rick Santorum’s campaign had ordered 4,000 for South Carolina back in December, which to the realists on his staff had seemed like way too many, because the Republican presidential candidate was drawing 1 percent support in local polls and a crowd of 11 people to the Waffle House by offering to buy their breakfasts. But then Santorum finished deadlocked for first place with Mitt Romney in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, and a surge of donations shut down his Web site. The 4,000 signs were snatched up within hours.

Now it was six sleepless days later, and Kerry Wood, Santorum’s top adviser in South Carolina, jammed his cowboy boot hard on the accelerator of a rental car, pushing it to 85 miles per hour through tobacco country, racing to keep pace with the momentum he’d worked so hard to create. Even after an uninspiring fourth-place finish in the New Hampshire primary, Santorum was continuing to enjoy newfound popularity in conservative South Carolina, where crowds of 300 gathered at his rallies to chant “We Pick Rick!” Those supporters also wanted bumper stickers, signs and instructions from the campaign.

Rick-Santorum“I wish I could find some way to move twice as fast and do twice as much,” Wood said, “or maybe just clone myself.”

The state’s Jan. 21 Republican primary was less than two weeks away. It would be the defining moment of Santorum’s political career, a chance to galvanize tea party support and assert himself as Romney’s main challenger, and Wood wondered whether his small team of volunteers and county chairmen had the infrastructure necessary to meet the moment. They had spent the past year trying to prove that theirs was a major campaign. Now they had little time to become one.

“A campaign with momentum takes on a life of its own,” Wood said. “There’s a lot that wakes me up now at 3 in the morning.”

He needed more yard signs.

He needed offices where he could store those signs.

He needed keys, computers and phones for those offices.

He needed a staff to answers those phones.

He needed buildings that could accommodate gatherings of 300 or more for two dozen Santorum events scheduled before primary day, and a six-person advance team to plan out those events, and bumper stickers to pass out to the supporters, and surrogate speakers to introduce the candidate, and traveling sound technicians, and media handlers, and a plane, and seven sport-utility vehicles for the candidate’s family, and a security crew that would be willing to dress inconspicuously to try to blend into crowds, because Santorum believed that keeping the campaign “lean” was central to his appeal. In fact, the candidate still wanted to travel to most events by himself, which would mean procuring the familiar pickup truck with Iowa plates.

Wood said he had barely slept or eaten in the past week as he tried to keep pace with 250 calls and e-mails that lit up his cellphone from 6 a.m. until midnight. He had watched so many other campaigns collapse under the weight of their own success: Bachmann. Perry. Cain. Gingrich. Even though Santorum had come in fourth in New Hampshire, his focus had always been on South Carolina, where the team planned to spend $1.5 million on advertising.

Source: Washington Post

Santorum New Hampshire Speech

Jan 14

“Winning Our Future” Releases Romney Bain Capital Video

Mitt Romney bain capital

Click here to watch video: King of Bain

Jan 13

Mitt Romney Holds Rally in Columbia


Jan 13

Opinion: Is the South Carolina primary the last place to stop Romney’s momentum?

With Mitt Romney’s win in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, candidates and activists are looking at the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary as a deciding moment in the 2012 race.

“The Palmetto State, with large numbers of evangelicals and social conservatives, is considered less-stable terrain than New Hampshire for Romney, a Mormon and former governor of Massachusetts. It is likely the last opportunity for former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) or Texas Gov. Rick Perry to revive their flagging campaigns,” writes mitt-romneyThe Post’s Karen Tumulty.

There is concern in the party that if candidates go negative in South Carolina, it will affect Romney’s ability to campaign in the general election. Newt Gingrich is already airing a tough ad aimed at Romney, write Amy Gardner and Nia-Malika Henderson.

“Gingrich is spending nearly $250,000 in South Carolina airing a brutal ad detailing Romney’s record supporting pro-abortion positions. And a pro-Gingrich super PAC has promised to spend nearly $3.5 million between now and the Jan. 21 primary making the case that Romney bankrupted companies and laid off thousands of workers as a management consultant with Bain Capital.”

South Carolina campaigns have a long history of being dirty and damaging, writes Steve Hendrix.

“With just 10 days to go before the Jan. 21 primary and some conservatives openly desperate to halt the momentum of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, voters and political operatives alike are girding for the kind of whisper campaigns, viral innuendo and dubious personal attacks that have made South Carolina a state where the politics are as harsh as the tea is sweet.”

Some conservative activists oppose Romney for what they believe are his more moderate social views, including prior support for abortion rights. Others believe his background in finance and corporate consulting align him too closely with Wall Street.

The activists are having a difficult time agreeing on which rival to support in South Carolina, however, write Tumulty and Peter Wallsten.

“The tension is exacerbated by the deep divisions between two key GOP wings: tea party groups yearning for a pure small-government conservative, and evangelical Christians who want a loyal social conservative.”

Jan 13

Romney, Gingrich and Santorum in Close Race in Recent PPP Poll

Romney, Gingrich, Santorum
Mitt Romney 27%
Newt Gingrich 23%
Rick Santorum 18%
Ron Paul 8%
Rick Perry 7%
Steve Colbert 5%
Jon Huntsman 4%
Buddy Roemer 1%

Source: PPP

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