Poll: Gingrich S.C. Surge Not Slowing
A new poll released Tuesday puts the former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's lead growing wider.
Newt Gingrich's late fall surge to the forefront of the GOP race for the White House shows no sign of slowing down with just 60 days before the South Carolina primary.
The former House Speaker is the first choice of 31 percent of Republican voters polled over the weekend by independent pollster Kellyanne Conway.
Atlanta businessman Herman Cain, whose own rise was short-circuited when several women came forward with sexual harrassment allegations, came in second in the poll released Tuesday with 17 percent.
National GOP frontrunner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the preeminent favorite to win the nomination, came in third with 16 percent. No other candidate received more than Texas Gov. Rick Perry's 6 percent.
Gingrich, who was in fifth place in single digits just a month ago, has soared to the top of the pile in South Carolina, topping 20 percent support for the first time and becoming to first to lead Romney.
There's even better news for Gingrich. Whe the 505 likely GOP primary voters were asked for their second-choice, Gingrich came in first with 22 percent. Cain was next with 18 percent and Romney third with 16 percent.
Gingrich's rise to the top was accentuated by his strong performance in the CBS News/ National Journal debate on foreign policy held two weeks ago at Wofford College.
When the Huffington Post and Patch asked influential conservatives in South Carolina last week about Gingrich, they said they agreed with his ideals and were willing to support him. But they worried he was unelectable because of his baggage, which includes two divorces.
While Romney's support has been steady throughout the primary season, a number of GOP candidates have taken a run at him in the polls. Some have suggested the race comes down to Romney and "anybody but Romney."
This could be especially true in South Carolina, where Tea Party members plan to support a candidate more conservative than Romney, who finished fourth in 2008 despite gaining the support of S.C. favorites such as Sen. Jim DeMint.