Colbert bumps Huntsman in South Carolina
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman finished a disappointing third on Tuesday in the presidential primary in New Hampshire, despite focusing his campaign on the state and attending some 150 events there. But things are, arguably, worse for him in South Carolina, where a new poll ahead of the state’s Jan. 21 primary put him behind comedian and late-night talk show host, Stephen Colbert.
The survey, by the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling, had Colbert in sixth place, with just 5 percent support, in South Carolina’s primary, behind Mitt Romney (27 percent), Newt Gingrich (23 percent), Rick Santorum (18 percent), Ron Paul (8 percent) and Rick Perry (7 percent). But he was ahead of Huntsman’s 4 percent and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer (1 percent).
It is not completely surprising that Huntsman would trail Colbert, who is from South Carolina and had even offered to sponsor the state’s primary. The Emmy- and Peabody-winning comedian also has name recognition because of his popular Comedy Central Show, the Colbert Report.
“Even if Huntsman finishes second in New Hampshire tonight it doesn’t speak well for his prospects down the line that he’s running behind Stephen Colbert,” Public Policy Polling said in a blog posted on Tuesday before the primary.
Colbert’s key, the company said, would have been to attract Democratic voters to the South Carolina primary, which is open. Thirty-four percent of Democrats who planned to vote in the GOP contest supported Colbert, compared with 15 percent for Romney.
Huntsman recently appeared on Colbert’s show and joked about whether it would boost his fortunes, a phenomenon Colbert calls the “Colbert bump.” He joked about getting such a bump in South Carolina when he was asked about the poll on Fox News.
Colbert had also pushed to get a referendum on South Carolina’s ballot that “Corporations are people,” a reference to a comment by Romney and the slogan of Colbert’s fund-raising Super PAC. The PPP poll found that 33 percent of likely voters agreed that corporations are people. Sixty-seven percent of South Carolina voters agreed that “only people are people.”
Picture credit: Stephen Colbert greets a crowd outside the Federal Election Commission after his meeting to discuss his proposal to establish an Independent expenditure-only political committee and Draft Advisory Opinion 2011-12 in Washington June 30, 2011. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas