Romney Looks to Hold
Off Challengers in South Carolina Primary
January 21, 2012
The battle for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination shifts to
the U.S. state of South Carolina on Saturday. Former Massachusetts
Governor Mitt Romney is hoping for a third straight victory in the South
Carolina primary after earlier wins in the Iowa caucuses and the New
Hampshire primary. But Romney’s Republican rivals are hoping to at least
slow him down.
South Carolina public opinion
Mitt Romney leads in the latest public opinion surveys from South
Carolina, and experts say a victory in Saturday’s primary on the heels
of wins in Iowa and New Hampshire would be a giant step toward securing
the Republican nomination.
Romney continues to focus most of his attention on President Barack
Obama’s record in office.
“It has been a tough time," he said. " And this president - he has run
out of ideas and now he is running out of excuses. In 2012, he is going
to run out of time. We are getting rid of him!”
Rivals look for turnaround
Romney’s Republican rivals are well aware that the South Carolina
contest might be their best chance to stop or at least slow down his
march toward the nomination.
Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich is hoping for
a rebound in South Carolina, after weak finishes in Iowa and New
Gingrich is trying to rally conservative voters to his campaign.
“I think it is very hard for a moderate to defeat Obama because I think
you need [ideological] space in order to overcome the billion dollar
negative campaign,” he said.
Gingrich continues to battle for conservative support with former
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Santorum is hoping for a comeback on Saturday, after a poor finish in
last week’s New Hampshire primary.
“This is a race where the people are going to speak," said Santorum.
"And there is going to be a big surprise in South Carolina on Saturday.”
Perry is hoping to recharge his White House hopes in South Carolina by
appealing to conservative Christian voters, who often wield influence in
Gingrich and Paul
Texas Representative Ron Paul is also competing in South Carolina.
Romney continues to benefit from the fact that his four remaining rivals
are splitting the votes of Republicans looking to nominate a more
“I think the reason why Romney is so close to wrapping this up is that
the conservative base doesn’t have a candidate," said Allan Lichtman, a
presidential scholar at American University here in Washington. "They
have had six candidates, and they have all fallen on their faces.”
Frank Newport of the Gallup organization says Romney’s early victories
have established him as the favorite to win the Republican nomination.
“He is getting 37 percent of the vote nationally - 23 points ahead of
his nearest competitor nationally," said Newport. "History shows that
the Republican candidate who is ahead after New Hampshire in the modern
era of primaries has always gone on to win the nomination. So history
says he will be the nominee, Romney.”
But some experts are predicting a late surge in South Carolina by
Gingrich, following a strong debate performance earlier in the week.
A Romney victory in South Carolina would be significant. Since 1980,
every Republican candidate who has won the South Carolina primary has
gone on to win the party’s presidential nomination.