COMMENTARY | It stands to reason that trailing a faux conservative comedian like Stephen Colbert in a presidential preference poll would not be a good thing. But that is where Jon Huntsman and Buddy Roemer both find themselves in the latest South Carolina Primary Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey of Republican presidential hopefuls.
According to PPP, they decided to include Colbert's name in their polling because of his recent attempt to insinuate himself into the South Carolina primary process. He offered to help foot the bill for the South Carolina Republican primary, which was having difficulty finding funding, if they put his name on the ballot (as in placing his name in the South Carolina primary ballot title) and offered a referendum on the question of whether corporations are people or people are people. Although he was turned down by the state's Republican Party reps, they did treat his offer as legitimate.
Stephen Colbert, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning host of the satirical "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central Network, formed a SuperPAC earlier this year in order to demonstrate how simple the process was and to underscore how easily millions of dollars could be used to influence politics.
In the poll, Colbert posted 5 percent support from the respondents. Although he finished a distant sixth in the polling (just 2 percent behind Texas governor Rick Perry but 22 percent behind frontrunner Mitt Romney), he did manage to finish ahead of former Utah governor Huntsman (4 percent) and former Louisiana governor Roemer (1 percent).
But Huntsman has been doing well in New Hampshire and is expected to place second or third in that state's Primary on Jan. 10. Still, placing behind a comedian cannot be the best of signs for his chances in South Carolina.
"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," Tom Jensen of PPP wrote of the poll's results.
Of course, there is the chance that many of the poll's respondents were supporting Colbert's character and not the actual Stephen Colbert.
Or they may have been responding to a familiar name that was other than the cast of contenders that have failed to inspire a majority of the Republican electorate.
Or perhaps respondents were just showing support for an adoptive son (Colbert grew up in Charleston).
Regardless, it is one thing to be called a false conservative by your colleagues (such as former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum has been labeled by Rep. Ron Paul) but it is another to poll behind someone who truly is a faux conservative.
The South Carolina Primary will be held Saturday, Jan. 21.
- Politics & Government/Elections
- Politics & Government
- Stephen Colbert
- Jon Huntsman
- Buddy Roemer