According to a new CNN/Time/ORC poll, out today on the CNN website, Romney has a commanding lead in South Carolina:

  1. Romney 37%
  2. Santorum 19%
  3. Gingrich 18%
  4. Paul 12%
  5. Perry 5%
  6. Huntsman 1%

Since the previous poll, taken in December, Gingrich has dropped 25 points. Santorum has surged by 15 points. * * * * Here are the reasons the Perry camp gave for going to South Carolina, in an interview with Reuters the day after the Iowa caucuses: 1. Santorum can’t maintain his status as the major challenger to Romney. –But he’s a lot closer to being a major challenger than Perry. And his brand isn’t ruined. 2. Perry had the organization and fundraising ability to compete with Romney in South Carolina. –But he had all that money in Iowa and didn’t convince a single new voter. Plus, the campaign wasted energy on a video that targeted gays that had the most “dislikes” in the history of YouTube, despite a warning from a consultant that airing the video was “nuts.” 3. South Carolina voters are more in line with his politics than Iowa or New Hampshire. –Maybe so, but Iowa was 58% evangelical voters, which sounds like his kind of people. I think the truth is that Perry loves being on the campaign trail, he loves pressing the flesh and hearing people shower him with good wishes, and he’d rather be doing that than sitting around the governor’s office back home.