Poll:Perry Leads Romney in S.C. as Bachmann Fades

Nearly 75% of state GOP say Obama's a 'socialist'


Texas Gov. Rick Perry's bandwagon is rolling strong through South Carolina, a key early primary state, where he's leading former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney 30 percent to 27 percent in the GOP presidential primary that's also seeing Rep. Michele Bachmann fade and former pizza magnate Herman Cain surge.

[See who's in and who's out of the 2012 GOP field.]

The latest Winthrop Poll, provided to Whispers, also finds that among all South Carolina voters, half disapprove of President Obama's job. [Check out political cartoons about Obama.]

And among Republicans and those leaning Republican, Winthrop found very little support for Obama, with almost three-quarters calling him a socialist, a third claiming he's Muslim, and 36 percent believing he was not born in the United States.

Here are the highlights:

• When asked about Barack Obama's job performance as president, 40% of all respondents approved, while 50.7% disapproved. Independents—whom many cite as a key factor in the 2012 election—disapproved by 56.5%.

• Among Republicans/Republican leaners definitely planning to vote in the GOP Primary, Rick Perry—who entered the race for the GOP nod during an appearance in SC—lead Mitt Romney by 30.5%  to 27.3%—within the margin of error.

• When Republicans/Republican leaners who are definitely planning to vote in the primary were asked who they thought the eventual 2012 Republican nominee would be—regardless of the one they currently supported—Rick Perry was named most frequently, by 35.4%, while 29.4% chose Mitt Romney.

• Michele Bachmann is polling back to where she was in Winthrop's April 2011 Poll, when the two frontrunners—Huckabee and Romney—were chosen by 35.7% of Republicans/Republican leaners definitely planning to vote in the GOP primary. In the new Winthrop Poll, the two frontrunners (Perry and Romney) collectively hold 57.8% of the support from that group. In absolute terms this means Bachmann is back to where she started in April. In relative terms, she has slipped.

• Herman Cain's numbers, among Republicans/Republican leaners definitely planning to vote in the SC primary, have gone from 2.1% in the Winthrop April 2001 Poll to 7.7% in this current poll.

• Among Republicans/Republican leaners, 67.8% said they did not consider themselves members of the Tea Party movement, but 74.4% of the same group said they generally agree with the Tea Party's principles.

• Among Republicans/Republican leaners who are definitely planning on voting in the GOP primary in SC, 59.9% said that it was more important to select a Republican presidential nominee who matched their beliefs, while 33.5% in this category disagreed, saying it was more important to select a candidate who could beat President Obama in 2012.

• Among Republicans/Republican leaners, 74.7% feel the term 'socialist' describes President Obama very well or well.

• Among Republicans/Republican leaners, almost 30% believe President Obama is a Muslim.

• Among Republicans/Republican leaners, 36% continue to believe the president was either probably, or definitely, born in another country. Even though a long-form birth certificate for the president was produced between the Winthrop April 2011 Poll and now—showing he was born in Hawaii—just 5.2% fewer respondents now believe Obama was born outside the country than those back in April (36% now vs. 41.2 % in April).

• Among Republicans/Republican leaners, 62.4% identify the economy/financial crisis and jobs/ unemployment as the biggest problems facing the U.S.

• As events were recently held in the U.S. to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, nearly three-in-four (73.3%) Republicans/Republican leaners said they believed our country's efforts to combat terrorism have made it much more safe, or somewhat more safe. But when the same group was asked if the Obama Administration has been more or less effective than the George W. Bush Administration at combating terrorism, 42.3% said they felt it has been either somewhat less effective or much less effective than the Bush Administration.