Photo by Charles Dharapa-Pool/Getty Images.
With the disclaimer that Thursday was a pretty wild day in the GOP race and that the current state of the field is fairly different than only days ago when the most recent batch of South Carolina polls were taken, the numbers show a remarkably tight race coming down the home stretch in the Palmetto State, where primary voters head to the polls Saturday.
A new Rasmussen Reports polls shows Newt Gingrich leading Mitt Romney, 33-31, in the state (4-point margin of error); an Insider Advantage poll has Newt up 32-29 (3.6-point margin of error); Public Policy Polling, which leans left, has Gingrich up 34-28 (5-point MoE); Tarrance, which leans right, has Romney up 37-30 (4.1-point MoE); and a Marist poll has Romney up 34-24 (3.8-point MoE).*
In a composite poll of all those surveys, Romney leads 31.8 to 30.6, according to Real Clear Politics – although the Tarrance and Marist polls, which were taken a day earlier than the other three, clearly skew the numbers in Romney’s favor.
Because we know the Ron Paul fans are ready to take to the comment section: He’s averaging 14.4 percent in those five polls, with his high (16 percent) coming in the Marist poll and his low (11) coming in the Tarrance survey.
Santorum sits in fourth in all five surveys, with an average of 12 percent.
Rick Perry, who dropped out of the race Thursday, was averaging 3.6 percent. While obviously a rather small percentage, where his voters turn could mean the difference in a tight race for the S.C. win.
*Correction: An earlier version of this post mischaracterized the Gingrich-Romney gaps in relation to the margin of error.