With Lead in SC, Romney Is on Glide Path to Nomination
Today we are getting are first entirely post-Iowa caucus polling from South Carolina and it is great news for Mitt Romney. The TIME/CNN/ORC poll has Romney with a big lead in South Carolina among likely primary voters. According to the poll, Romney leads with 37 percent and is beating everyone else by a double digit margins.
Mitt Romney 37%
Rick Santorum 19%
Newt Gingrich 18%
Ron Paul 12%
Rick Perry 5%
Jon Huntsman 1%
Someone else (vol.) *
None/ No one (vol.) *
No opinion 6%
For Romney to be leading in South Carolina is a big deal. South Carolina, with its large number of conservative Christian voters, is supposed to be problematic for Romney. It is the most favorable possible ground for a Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich to get a big win over Romney to make him no longer look inevitable.
If, as expected Romney, wins big next week in New Hampshire then rides that momentum to a plurality victory in South Carolina, he will effectively secure the nomination. That would give Romney three for three in the early contests and prove he can win even in states where the demographics are unfavorable.
Of course there is plenty of time for the state of the race to change. It is possible that the conservative voters could coalesce around a single anti-Romney, Santorum or Gingrich, which would give that candidate the votes to beat Romney. As things currently stand though, Romney appears to be in really good shape.