Thank you, Time, for rescuing our narrative from a Sarlaac pit of Newt and Cain stories.
In New Hampshire, the former Massachusetts governor collects a commanding 40% of the vote from registered Republicans and independents who cast a ballot in the 2008 GOP primary, lapping Cain’s 13% and Texas congressman Ron Paul’s 12%. Romney has the support of 30% of registered Republicans in the Sunshine State, a comfortable lead over Cain’s 18% and the 9% captured by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Among the more socially conservative Republican voters of Iowa and South Carolina, Romney’s edge is slimmer. Despite scarcely venturing to the nation’s first caucus state, Romney leads with 24% of registered Republicans in Iowa, a three-point edge over Cain’s 21% and within the margin of error. He’s in a 25% to 23% statistical tie with the former Godfather’s Pizza boss among GOP voters and independents who skew Republican in South Carolina. In both states, Paul sits in third place with 12% of the vote.
Any Romney lead in South Carolina is a mitzvah -- if the first credible Mormon candidate for president can win there, he can squeeze out the anti-Romneys anywhere. But 25 percent? That's the sort of number that could be overcome if, unlike 2008, the flop conservative candidate (last time, Fred Thompson) drops out of the race and lets the right consolidate its votes.
Well, that's it. I'm glad we've sorted this out. Hold on:
Thanks a whole lot, Fox. This is a national poll, so it's less meaningful than the four state polls, but look at this internal number: 21 percent of Republicans say they're uncomfortable voting for a Mormon. What do you suppose the proportion is in South Carolina?