Seven days can seem like eternity in the arena of presidential politics, but one week before the South Carolina primary, Mitt Romney has opened up a 21-point lead in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll. After winning the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, the former Massachusetts governor could all but shut the door on his Republican challengers if he pulls out a convincing win in South Carolina.
The latest poll showed 37 percent of South Carolina GOP voters preferred Romney, while Texas Congressman Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum tied for second place with 16 percent. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich was in fourth place at 12 percent.
Additionally, the poll asked both Republican and Democratic voters in South Carolina who preferred Romney over President Barack Obama, in a hypothetical match-up, by 46 percent to 40 percent. South Carolina voters have favored Republicans in nine of of the last 10 presidential elections. The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted from January 10-13.