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Romney has big lead in S.C. poll

  |   Jan. 6, 2012 at 1:51 PM
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COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan. 6 (UPI) -- With the South Carolina primary less than three weeks away, more than a third of voters there now support Mitt Romney, a poll released Friday indicated.

The Time/CNN/ORC poll was carried out Wednesday and Thursday after the former Massachusetts governor emerged from the Iowa caucuses in a virtual tie with former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. Romney was the choice of 37 percent of those surveyed, while Santorum had 19 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 18 percent.

Farther down the list, libertarian Congressman Ron Paul of Texas got 12 percent and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 5 percent.

Almost half of the respondents, 49 percent, said they could change their minds before Jan. 21. That could be good news for Santorum, who was the choice of only 5 percent in a South Carolina poll in December.

Gingrich's momentum has been downhill. In December, he was the leader in South Carolina with 43 percent.

Romney is getting some support from the party's right wing, the poll found. More than a third, 35 percent, of those describing themselves as born-again Christians, said they back him along with 32 percent of those who identify with the Tea Party.

The sample of 1,519 adults, including 485 likely voters, was surveyed by telephone. The margin of error is 4.5 percentage points.

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