A broad survey of GOP voters in South Carolina, where Rick Perry is now firmly in the lead, adds credence to anyone who is skeptical that moderates actually exist within the Republican party as the poll shows Mitt Romney trailing Rick Perry even among moderates.
When PPP asked South Carolina GOP voters if they believe in global warming, 25 percent answered they did, and 61 percent said they did not. Those who believe in global warming didn't shun Perry even though he's a major climate change skeptic: he was still viewed favorably by that group by a 51 - 25 split. Romney on the other hand got much more push back from those who don't believe in global warming: a 48 - 38 split, which is more damaging because the skeptics make up a much larger total of the base. In fact, of those 25 percent who believe in global warming, Perry still wins a purality of their votes, 24 percent, with Romney at 22 percent. On the flip side, Perry crushes Romney with the skeptics, earning 42 percent, to Romney's mere 11, outpaced by Bachmann at 14 and businessman Herman Cain at 12.
The same trend occurs when PPP asked whether respondents believe in evolution: 32 percent said yes, and 57 percent no. But Perry, despite referring to evolution as a "theory that's out there" and thus calling it into question, is still viewed favorably by 60 percent of those South Carolina GOP voters who do believe in it, and by 69 percent of those who don't. Romney on the other hand is only viewed favorably by 46 percent of evolution critics, and only bests Perry on favorability by four percent among those who accept it. Consequently, Perry leads the field in both categories, the first choice of 24 percent of those who believe in evolution and 41 percent who don't.
If you believe in global warming, and you believe in evolution, yet you still favor Rick Perry over Mitt Romney, you are not a moderate.
Rick Perry wipes his ass with climate science and thinks evolution is just a "theory that's out there" still awaiting a verdict from the jury. He prays for rain. He prays for a solution to the still-Bushed economy. And if you favor him over Romney, you are not a moderate.
Granted, South Carolina is a completely different animal compared to the Northeast and Midwest, but if Romney can't even hold onto self-described "moderates," then there may nothing standing in the way of the nomination of Rick Perry.
If there are any moderates in the Republican party, it would those who are only mildly-crazy when compared to the batshit-crazy of the Tea Party. The bar is pretty low.