As if Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman needed more bad news after his third-place finish in New Hampshire, he now trails comedian Stephen Colbert in South Carolina, the next state to vote on Jan. 21, the Atlantic Wire reports.
The count, by Public Policy Polling (PPP), puts the Comedy Central anchor and non-candidate at 5%, while the former ambassador to China currently musters just 4%. “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,” the pollsters wrote in a massive understatement of a press release.
Admittedly, many of Colbert’s supporters may be Democratic voters planning to participate in the Palmetto State’s open primary. (Or just pranksters who didn’t take the poll seriously.) And Colbert is a South Carolina native. Plus he received plenty of publicity after trying to buy the naming rights to the primary, wanting to call the contest “The Colbert Nation Super PAC Presidential Primary.” Still, for a professional politician like Huntsman — who’s been campaigning for president for months — it has to be embarrassing.
Perhaps he can take consolation from the fact that he’s not the only one left red-faced by Colbert’s antics. 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.
According to the PPP numbers, South Carolinians weren’t in much agreement with his assertion. “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,” added the press release.