by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 15, 2012

If this is true, then we may as well just skip ahead to the fall campaign:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has opened a wide lead over his rivals in the South Carolina primary election race, trouncing Newt Gingrich and gaining momentum in his march toward the party’s nomination, a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, could all but quash his rivals’ presidential aspirations with a victory in South Carolina on January 21 after winning the first state-by-state nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Voters in South Carolina – who have favored Republicans in nine of the last 10 presidential elections – appear to have shrugged off attacks on Romney by rivals who accuse him of killing jobs as a private equity executive for Bain Capital in the 1990s.

The poll showed 37 percent of South Carolina Republican voters back Romney. Congressman Ron Paul and former Senator Rick Santorum tied for second place with 16 percent support.

Gingrich, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, has fallen far back after holding a strong lead in South Carolina in December. He was in fourth place at 12 percent in the Reuters/Ipsos poll.

“In primary races things can change quickly but it does look like Romney is in position to win South Carolina, and if he wins … that’s sort of the end of the road for most of his challengers,” Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson said.

How did those attacks on Bain Capital work out for Romney’s rivals?

UPDATE: See the comments. Democrats were included in the sample survey for the poll, which very likely skewed the results.

  • Demosthenes

     ”The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online from
    January 10-13 with a sample of 995 South Carolina registered voters. It
    included 398 Republicans and 380 Democrats.”So, an online poll where almost four in ten voters are Democrats.  I call BS on this one.  I think Romney is probably in the lead in SC by virtue of having gotten a bounce from his first two wins.  But he’s nowhere near the 21-point gap shown here…

    • Anonymous

      A good point, and I have updated the post to reference your comment.

      • Demosthenes

        Appreciated.  Then again, having said that, I also have to add that since South Carolina is an open primary, who knows what the voter turnout will look like in a non-competitive year for the Democrats?  In fact, with Huntsman dropping out of the race today, I’m pretty sure his support gravitates to Romney and provides an extra cushion.

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