ATLANTA — Newt Gingrich has taken a commanding lead in the South Carolina Republican primary, with more than twice the support of Mitt Romney or Herman Cain, according to a poll conducted Monday evening for The Augusta Chronicle.
Gingrich, a former congressman from Georgia, has 38 percent, followed by 15 percent for Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Cain, a Georgia native, had 13 percent.
No other candidate reached double digits in the telephone survey conducted Monday night among 519 registered voters who say they’re likely to vote in the state’s GOP primary. InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research conducted the poll, and it has a 4 percent margin of error.
“Gingrich has consolidated a substantial lead among those who consider themselves Republicans, which are the more long-time GOP voters,” said InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery. “The independents who had supported Cain are moving to Gingrich as well.”
The pattern is repeating itself in other early voting states, as illustrated in other polls Towery’s organization conducted Monday night.
In Iowa, Gingrich leads with 28 percent, followed by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s 13 percent and Romney’s 12 percent.
In New Hampshire, Gingrich has 27 points to Romney’s 31, putting them in a tie once the margin of error is considered.
Conservatives have dallied with nearly every other candidate in the race as an alternative to Romney. Before Gingrich’s rise in the polls, they leaned toward Cain, who led in South Carolina in October and mid-November, according to surveys for The Augusta Chronicle. Romney held 16 percent in both months, essentially the same support he has now.