A week ago, Mitt Romney had a commanding lead in polls among South Carolina Republicans, but seven days can be eternity at the height of presidential primary fever. And as South Carolinians get closer to their primary scheduled for this Saturday, the former Massachusetts governor's lead is narrowing.
Romney is still the favorite in the latest CNN/Time/ORC International poll, but his lead over challengers Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum is narrowing. The latest survey shows Romney with a 10-point advantage over Gingrich. That's almost half of what his lead was last week.
Romney has had better weeks. He has spent the better part of the last few days explaining his disclosure that he had been paying an approximate tax rate of 15 percent, lower than millions of Americans. And his financial disclosure forms showed that Romney had earned more than $370,000 in speaking fees in 2010 after saying he hadn't earned a lot on the lecture circuit. Additionally, Romney is facing new questions about ABC News reports that he directed millions in cash and stock to the Mormon Church—once more focusing attention on his religion while trying to court Christian evangelicals in South Carolina.