Not joking: Stephen Colbert polling ahead of Jon Huntsman in South Carolina

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Stephen Colbert wanted to sponsor the South Carolina Republican primary.  He wanted his name on the ballot and he wanted a referendum about whether corporations are people or only people are people.  He was rebuffed in his efforts but the team at PPP decided if he couldn’t get all that stuff on the actual ballot, we could at least poll it for him.  Here’s what they found:

-5% of primary voters would pick Colbert.  He runs behind Mitt Romney’s 27%, Newt Gingrich’s 23%, Rick Santorum’s 18%, Ron Paul’s 8%, and Rick Perry’s 7%.  But’s he beating out Jon Huntsman’s 4% and Buddy Roemer’s 1%.

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.

-Colbert’s key, had he been allowed on the ballot, would have been to draw out Democratic voters in the state’s open primary.  34% of Democrats planning to vote in the Republican contest support him to 15% for Romney, 13% for Gingrich, and 10% for Santorum.   That actually leads to a serious question though- if Colbert had really been on the ballot would enough Democrats have gone out to vote for him to put him in the top tier of Republican candidates?  My guess is if he’d really put some effort into it he could have won 10-15% of the vote and nabbed himself a 4th place finish there.

-While Colbert’s prospects for actually winning in South Carolina may have been limited, he would have found support on his proposed referendum. Just 33% of likely voters think that ‘corporations are people’ compared to 67% who think that ‘only people are people.’  Supporters of every Republican candidate believe that ‘only people are people,’ even 66% of Mitt Romney’s whose comments inspired this debate in the first place.

All the numbers on how Colbert fares here

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.