Businessman Herman Cain and Gov. Mitt Romney remain the frontrunners in the S.C. primary, according to a new poll from the AARP.
The poll, released Thursday, surveyed 400 voters and included detailed questions about respondents’ politics, retirement status, religious habits and feelings on issues like social security and Medicare.
Overall, 27.8 percent of respondents said they would vote for Cain, 27 percent said they would vote from Romney and 19.5 percent said they were undecided. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich each earned about 7 percent of the vote.
The survey was conducted Oct. 18-19, prior to sexual harrassment allegations against Cain coming to light, and includes a margin of error of 4.9 percent. The results were similar to those .
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Digging deeper, Cain’s lead was more significant among regular churchgoers and respondents who identified with the Tea Party. Romney, on the other hand, led among voters who said they were either moderate or somewhat conservative.
The survey also divided respondents by media market. In Greenville and Charleston, a plurality of respondents favored Cain. In Columbia, Romney held a 4-point lead.
Results from questions not related to the candidates helped to paint a picture of the South Carolina electorate. According to the poll, 73.8 percent of respondents agreed with Tea Party principles and 68.8 percent said they attended church at least once a week.
The poll, which focused on primarily older voters with an average age of 64, also asked about social security and Medicare. Nearly 69 percent of respondents said they opposed cuts to social security to help reduce the deficit and 70.5 percent said they opposed cuts to Medicare. 88.9 percent of respondents said social security would be important to their monthly income in retirement.
Responses in South Carolina were similar to those in New Hampshire, with a few noticeable differences.
For example, Romney held a 25-point lead over Cain in New Hampshire and only 37 percent of New Hampshire voters said they attended church regularly as opposed to 68 percent of South Carolina voters. On issues of social security and Medicate, South Carolina and New Hampshire respondents recorded very similar responses.
Respondents were also asked more specific questions about policies involving social security and Medicare. Some 84 percent of South Carolina voters said they would support a smart card for Medicare patients to prevent fraud and 80.5 percent said they supported incentivizing doctors and hospitals to reduce hospital readmissions. More than 72 percent also supported transitioning to electronic medical records.