Mitt Romney currently holds a very small lead over Newt Gingrich in the South Carolina primary. From PPP:
Mitt Romney continues to hold a modest lead in South Carolina’s Republican primary for President. He’s at 29% to 24% for Newt Gingrich, 15% for Ron Paul, 14% for Rick Santorum, 6% for Rick Perry, 5% for Jon Huntsman, and 1% for Buddy Roemer.
Things haven’t changed too much at the top in the last week. Romney is down 1 point from his pre-New Hampshire standing, while Gingrich has gained a point. There’s more movement in the middle. Paul has gained 6 points to move into 3rd place, while Santorum has dropped by 5 points. Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman have each picked up a single point and remain in 5th and 6th place respectively.
Rasmussen also found a similar result in their South Carolina poll. They have Romney leading with 28 percent and Gingrich in second with 21 percent. Paul and Santorum are tied for third with 16 percent.
Looking at the primary schedule, South Carolina is probably the most inherently unfavorable state for Romney until Super Tuesday. If Romney is able to win a small plurality there, most people will probably consider the race effectively over.
This is probably the last chance a Gingrich or Santorum has to get the anti-Romney vote to coalesce around one of them before Romney becomes the inevitable nominee in most people’s minds.