South Carolina moves away from Rudy to Mitt and Huck

Byron York:

... the big news here is a new Palmetto Poll of the presidential race in South Carolina by Clemson University political scientists. The scholars warn that the numbers are close, and there are a lot of undecideds, but the headline is that Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee have shot upward in the South Carolina standings, while Rudy Giuliani has taken a big dive.

The poll shows Romney in the lead among Republicans with 17 percent – up from his fourth-place, 11 percent finish in the same poll in August. Fred Thompson is in second place at 15 percent, down from his first-place, 19 percent showing in August. Mike Huckabee is in third with 13 percent, well up from his fifth-place six percent in August. John McCain is in fourth place with 11 percent, down from his third-place 15 percent in August. And Rudy Giuliani – who was virtually tied with Thompson for first place with 18 percent in August – is in fifth place with nine percent in the new poll. Giuliani's nine-percentage-point drop is the biggest in the field. Finally, Ron Paul is in sixth place with six percent – up from one percent in August.

There are 28 percent undecided in the poll, which means there is great potential for change. It also suggest that the Giuliani strategy of no advertising in the early states is not working. He may have to spend some money to earn back the votes he lost. Romney has been advertising heavily and that is how he improved his poll position. However, Huckabee has spent nothing, but has had good word of mouth with the church goers. Rudy will not be able to get his word of mouth support for free.

A CNN Florida poll stills shows Rudy with a three touchdown lead (21 points). He is probably going to need it. Rasmussen is also saying Huckabee is now in the lead in Iowa. Huckabee is getting almost half of conservative Christian vote.


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