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Shock poll finds Colbert statistically tied with Perry in South Carolina

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 12:22 EDT
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Stephen Colbert takes on Rick Perry's new ad. Image: Screengrab via Comedy Central.
 
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Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert is officially a third-tier GOP candidate. If he wants to be, that is.

A survey (PDF) conducted by the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling, published Tuesday, asked South Carolinians if they would vote for Stephen Colbert. Surprisingly, 5 percent said yes — bringing Colbert to sixth overall, just ahead of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman at 4 percent, and narrowly trailing Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 7 percent.

In fact, with just 2 percent between Colbert and Perry, who was leading the Republican field in overall fundraising until the most recent round of financial disclosures, that puts the faux-conservative comedian within most polls’ margin of error.

That means he’s statistically tied with the Governor of Texas.

It wasn’t immediately clear what the margin of error was on the poll, but an examination of more than a dozen other surveys conducted by Public Policy Polling showed they roughly average between 2 and 5 percent.

It’s not clear whether that’s a comment on Perry’s poor performance or the level of success Colbert has had in convincing some Republicans that he’s actually one of them, but the numbers were enough to get Time magazine talking about the poll.

“Perhaps [Huntsman] can take consolation from the fact that he’s not the only one left red-faced by Colbert’s antics,” contributor Joe Jackson wrote. “The South Carolina GOP reportedly took seriously the funnyman’s offer of ‘a sizable donation’ to add to the ballot a question deriding the current front-runner. He wanted to ask voters if they believe ‘corporations are people’ or whether ‘only people are people.’ The question clearly mocks Mitt Romney, who controversially claimed ‘corporations are people’ in Iowa last year.”

Though South Carolina Republicans rejected his offer, that was then. Now that Stephen has given himself his very own “Colbert bump,” perhaps they’ll consider giving him a second look.

Colbert sought both the Republican and Democratic nominations to the presidency in 2008 in his home state of South Carolina, but abandoned his bid for the GOP nod after learning that the filing fee is $35,000. He instead filed to run as a Democrat, but was denied by party officials.

Aside from that, it’s got to feel nice for Colbert to find himself in a statistical dead-heat with the man whose campaign stole away his Super PAC’s former treasurer.

The news is sure to irk Perry, who’s campaign has struggled for months after his disastrous debate gaffes and widely mocked campaign commercials. He, too, became one of Colbert’s favorite targets ahead of the Iowa straw poll, where Colbert ran satirical television advertisements urging Iowans to vote for “Rick Parry.”

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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