NRL News

Another set of twists and turns leaves South Carolina primary outcome much in doubt

by | Jan 21, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-Life former Massachussets Gov. Mitt Romney

My apologies for not posting Thursday: I was in the final, final throes of preparing the latest issue of National Right to Life News. (If you are not a subscriber, you really are missing out on an invaluable information source. Call us at 202 626 8828 and join the NRL News family.)

As most of you know, in that last 48 hours an awful lot has happened that is of a piece with everything else that’s transpired as Republicans choose a presidential nominee—that is, churning, changing, and competition. The most conspicuous development was the decision of Texas Gov. Rick Perry to get out of the competition and throw his support to former Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Pro-Life former Speaker Newt Gingrich

A few days ago former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had what appeared to be a comfortable lead among GOP voters in South Carolina. Having barely won the Iowa caucuses (although a further tabulation showed this week that he may have actually barely lost to former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum) and cruised to victory in New Hampshire, Romney seemed on the brink of taking a commanding lead.

However, one day before the primary, he is, at the very best, tied, more likely behind Gingrich, although by how much is a real question. The surge appears to be a direct reflection of Gingrich’s fiery and commanding presence this week at two GOP presidential debates.

So what do some of the latest polls reveal?

Literally an hour after I got back from the printer’s CBS News was presenting the race as all but over–in favor of Gingrich!—which seems like a huge stretch. The evidence was a Clemson University poll conducted Wednesday and Thursday.

In the now four-man race Gingrich was ahead with 32% to 26% for Romney. Rep. Ron Paul placed third at 11% and Santorum rounding out the field with 9%. There are other poll results.

For example, American Research Group (ARG) released a poll today showing Gingrich and Romney essentially tied, 33% Gingrich, 32% Romney.

Rasmussen Report found Gingrich up by 2 points (33% to 31%); Inside Advantage had Gingrich up by 3 points (32% to 29%). Only one other poll had Gingrich comfortable ahead (35% to 29%): PPP.

The other big news is that Romney’s big lead nationally among Republicans as measured by Gallup has dropped from a large advantage—23 points– to 10 (30% to 20%). When the year began they were tied.

Whatever happens, it’s on to Florida. Ironically, while the state’s official primary date is January 31 (a week from tomorrow), absentee voting got under way late last month and registered Republican voters will be able to vote beginning January 21.

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Categories: Politics