SC GOPers agree with tea party, even if they aren't members - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Poll: SC Republicans agree with tea party, even if they aren't members

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By Logan Smith - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Three out of four South Carolina Republicans agree with the tea party's principles, and nearly half believe President Barack Obama will be reelected in 2012, according to a poll released Tuesday by Winthrop University.

74% of South Carolina Republicans told pollsters they generally agree with the tea party, though 64% said they don't consider themselves members of the conservative group. The poll surveyed 1,363 registered voters in South Carolina last week, though the majority of the questions were only asked of Republicans or independent voters who lean Republican.

A majority of South Carolina Republicans -- 56% -- said it's more important to nominate a presidential candidate who matches their beliefs, while 32.4% believe it's more important to nominate a candidate who can defeat Mr. Obama in 2012.

Among likely GOP presidential candidates, 21.4% of South Carolina Republicans believe former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will be the eventual nominee. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee came in second with 8.3%, though nearly half of South Carolina Republicans aren't sure who will be nominated.

However, 17.8% of South Carolina Republicans are planning to vote for Mr. Huckabee in the 2012 primary, compared to 16.1% who plan to support Mr. Romney. About 17% of South Carolina Republicans still don't know who they plan to vote for.

Republicans' split over ideology versus political success and their uncertainty toward potential GOP candidates may lend insight into the fact that 43% of South Carolina Republicans believe Mr. Obama is likely to be re-elected in 2012, regardless of his opponent, according to the poll.

Additionally, 78.5% of South Carolina Republicans said they disapproved of the way Congress is doing its job, despite the fact that the GOP reclaimed the majority in the House last year.

Among all respondents, 43.4% approved of Mr. Obama's job performance as president, while 47.4% disapproved. Independents disapproved by 55%, according to the poll.

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