According to the latest Clemson Palmetto Poll.
Two months short of the state’s Jan. 21, 2012, presidential primary, South Carolina voters are unsure of who is the best GOP candidate to support.
That’s the finding of the just-completed Clemson University 2012 Palmetto Poll of a sample of 600 likely voters. The S.C. presidential primary is expected to draw 600,000 voters early next year.
“What South Carolinians think and who they back is historically important,” said Clemson University political scientist Dave Woodard. “Since 1980, the winner of the GOP South Carolina Primary has won the Republican nomination for president every time.”
Nearly 70 percent (68 percent) of those polled had not yet decided on a candidate and a similar number said they were most likely to change their minds between now and January when they do have a choice.
“This indicates the electorate is still fluid,” said Clemson political scientist Bruce Ransom.
Among respondents who had chosen a candidate, the Palmetto Poll showed Mitt Romney (22 percent) and Herman Cain (20 percent) leading the field. The third-place candidate was Newt Gingrich (10 percent), followed by Rick Perry (9 percent).
The remaining candidates finished with single-digit percentages: Ron Paul (3 percent), Michelle Bachmann (3 percent), Rick Santorum (1 percent) and Jon Huntsman (1 percent).
This is anyone’s race and Romney will face off with whomever survives Iowa, and New Hampshire.