Winthrop University’s December poll, taken Nov. 27-Dec. 4, surveyed 1,073 registered South Carolina voters.
Gingrich’s rise from 5.3 percent in September, compared with Romney’s steady 21.5 percent, reflects the volatility of a GOP race that has Republican voters grasping for an alternative to Romney, who has been perceived as inconsistent. Republican primary voters also grapple with whether to support a candidate who could be viable in the general election or one who passes conservatives’ test on key values.
South Carolina’s first-in-the-South GOP primary, set for Jan. 21, has made the state a destination for Republicans vying for the party nomination.
The poll yielded 6.6 percent for Herman Cain, who has since dropped out; 5.4 percent support for Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann; 4.1 percent for Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul; 3.1 percent for former Sen. Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania; and 1.4 percent for former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.