Donald Trump's South Carolina Problem

| Tue Apr. 26, 2011 11:49 AM EDT

In a Winthrop poll out today, presidential hopeful Donald Trump drops from his frontrunner status to third out of 12 potential GOP hopefuls, trailing Mike Huckabee by nearly 8 percent and Romney by five. Of course, Trump did beat out right-wing stars including Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Ron Paul. But when it comes to primaries, third place won't do much to help you win the party nomination.

Here's how the GOP contenders stacked up in the poll:

Mike Huckabee 19.1 percent
Mitt Romney 16.6 percent
Donald Trump 11.3 percent
Newt Gingrich 8.1 percent
Sarah Palin 7.9 percent
Chris Christie 6.2 percent
Michele Bachmann 3.7 percent
Tim Pawlenty 2.1 percent
Ron Paul 2.1 percent
Herman Cain 2.1 percent
Haley Barbour 2.0 percent
Rick Santorum 1.8 percent
Not Sure 13.6 percent

Joshua Green at The Atlantic spoke with Winthrop polling guru Scott Huffmon, who had this to say about Trump's standing in South Carolina:

He's saying a lot of things that a lot of conservatives want to hear, but he's saying it in a very heavy New York accent. A lot of South Carolina Republicans, I'm guessing, want to hear it in a different accent. Trump says a lot that I think people are enjoying hearing, but people liked the sound of Rudy Giuliani, too, and he was unable to gain traction in South Carolina. But Trump did best Sarah Palin by a little bit. So his name recognition alone is getting him somewhere.

The Winthrop poll comes hot on the heels of the Draft Trump 2012 operation's hiring of Scott Royce, an attorney, as its South Carolina coordinator. According to the press release, "Royce has kept a keen eye on Republican politics since the mid-eighties when he worked as a political field director in New Hampshire for Jack Kemp's presidential run in 1988," among a few other stints in politics. Hmm, hardly seems like the guy to help The Donald win the South Carolina primary.