Clemson Poll: Two-Thirds of Primary Voters Undecided
With only 33 days before the Jan. 21 primary, Newt Gingrich continues to hold big lead.
The latest Clemson University 2012 Palmetto Poll is not surprising in that it shows Newt Gingrich with a commanding leader over former Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Ron Paul and others.
What is surprising is that, with only 33 days before the Jan. 21 primary, so few South Carolina residents know who they will support — making the poll nearly obsolete.
The telephone poll of 600 South Carolina voters, conducted from Dec. 6-19 and released Monday, showed while all of the respondents said they will vote in the primary, less than a-third (32 percent) said they have decided on a candidate to support.
“It appears most voters are keeping their options open and do not want to say their current choice will be their final one in the primary,” said Clemson political scientist Bruce Ransom in a release.
“The approaching primary is still not at the forefront of attention from the electorate. Candidate commercials are competing with holiday advertising and bowl game excitement here.”
For those who did name a preference, the growing Gingrich lead continued. The former House Speaker, who placed third with 10 percent in November polling, has surged to take 38 percent of the voters.
Romney came in second with 21 percent and Paul in third with 10 percent. The other candidates — Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Gov. Jon Huntsman and former Sen. Rick Santorum — all garnered support between 3 and 5 percent.
“With the demise of Cain’s candidacy, which was high in our November poll, Gingrich has risen in popularity,” said Clemson University political scientist Dave Woodard in a release.
While they couldn't provide their final answers, they could declare the economy, federal spending and unemployment as their top concerns. Other issues the voters were concerned about included corruption and partisan bickering.
The Clemson University Palmetto Poll, sponsored by the Strom Thurmond Institute, the College of Business and Behavioral Science and the Department of Public Affairs, had a plus or minus 4.5 percent margin of error.