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Will the Tea Party Swing the South Carolina Vote?

1:08 PM, Jan 13, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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Rasmussen polling shows Mitt Romney leading in South Carolina, while Newt Gingrich is in second place and closing. It’s also interesting, however, to note the Republican candidates’ respective levels of support among Tea Party and non-Tea Party voters in what will be the first Republican-leaning state to host a 2012 GOP primary. 

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Among those who consider themselves to be affiliated with the Tea Party, here’s the tally of support:

1. Newt Gingrich, 26 percent
2. Rick Santorum, 20 percent
3. Ron Paul, 18 percent
4. Mitt Romney, 16 percent
5. Rick Perry, 11 percent
6. Jon Huntsman, 0 percent 

Among those who don’t consider themselves to be affiliated with the Tea Party, here’s the tally of support:

1. Mitt Romney, 35 percent
2. Newt Gingrich, 17 percent
3. Ron Paul, 16 percent
4. Rick Santorum, 12 percent
5. Jon Huntsman, 8 percent
6. Rick Perry, 4 percent 

It has long been an open question whether any candidate can win the Republican nomination — and, subsequently, the general election — without appealing to both the Tea Party and establishment wings of the GOP.  South Carolina may go a long way toward answering that question — or at least the first part of it.

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