Poll: Romney Holds Healthy Lead In South Carolina Primary

A new survey of the South Carolina Republican primary from Public Policy Polling (D) shows Mitt Romney with the opening lead in this key Southern primary state.

It’s a good sign for Romney, at least at this early juncture in the race, to be leading in a primary that often favors social conservatives. He must sill go through the ringer of the campaign, of course, and the fact that Gov. Nikki Haley has criticized his Massachusetts health care reform law. But that being said, he is starting out on top in a strong position.

The initial numbers: Romney 27%, Palin 18%, Cain 12%, Gingrich 12%, Bachmann 9%, Ron Paul 7%, Pawlenty 4%, and Huntsman 2%.

Without Palin in the race: Romney 30%, Cain 15%, Gingrich 15%, Bachmann 13%, Paul 10%, Pawlenty 5%, and Huntsman 2%.

PPP’s Tom Jensen writes: “Romney’s formula for success in South Carolina is the same as in Iowa: dominate with the middle, lead with the center right, and avoid getting completely blown out of the water with the far right.”In addition, Romney was tested in hypothetical two-way contests with different contenders, with healthy leads in each. He leads Palin by 50%-38%, leads Pawlenty by 55%-23%, leads Cain by 53%-29%, and leads Bachmann by 54%-29%.

Romney’s personal favorable rating is 56%, with 27%, unfavorable. Palin is at 60%-33%, Pawlenty 33%-24% (with a 42% plurality having no opinion), Cain 41%-20%, and Bachmann 45%-16%. Huntsman is underwater at 10%-20%, with a solid 70% majority actually having no opinion. Meanwhile, Gingrich’s rating is underwater with a more solid 37%-44%.

The survey of Republican primary voters was conducted from June 2-5, and has a ±3.1% margin of error.

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