COLUMBIA -- The South Carolina GOP's party line this presidential cycle, "We pick presidents," might be out of style come January if Republican voters don't soon find a favorite.
Clemson University's 2012 Palmetto Poll, released Wednesday, shows that 68 percent of likely voters don't know which of the Republican contenders they want to see face President Barack Obama in 2012.
But they still have plenty of opportunities to decide. The primary is Jan. 21.
The top eight hopefuls -- Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum -- are expected to face off Saturday at an 8 p.m. debate at Wofford College in Spartanburg.
The 90-minute debate, which will focus primarily on national security, is sponsored by CBS News and the National Journal. The first hour will be aired on the network nationwide.
At 1:15 p.m. today, Bachmann, a congresswoman from Minnesota, will be in Mount Pleasant to deliver her positions on foreign policy. She will give the speech aboard the aircraft carrier Yorktown at Patriots Point.
Bachmann and Perry, the Texas governor, are expected to take part in a Veterans Day parade in Columbia on Friday.
Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, will be in Summerville at 11:30 a.m. Saturday to take part in U.S. Rep. Tim Scott's latest presidential town hall meeting. The one-hour forum will be at Miler Country Club. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. Seating is first-come, first-served.
Scott, a 1st District Republican, encouraged voters to submit their questions in advance on his Facebook page.
"The race for president in South Carolina is far from over," Scott said in a statement. "Many Republican voters are just beginning to tune in."
The state party's primary is the first in the South. In every contest since 1980, South Carolina Republicans have correctly selected the party's nominee.
"What South Carolinians think and who they back is historically important," Clemson University political scientist Dave Woodard said.
Woodard noted that the poll showing no clear frontrunner is not unusual. The Palmetto Poll conducted at the same time leading up to the 2008 election showed similar results -- 75 percent of people had not made up their mind, he said.
This time, nearly 70 percent of the 600 people surveyed for the Clemson poll said they were likely to change their minds between now and the primary.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, was favored by 22 percent, followed by Cain, the former Godfather's Pizza executive, with 20 percent.
Gingrich, former U.S. House speaker, took 10 percent and Perry landed 9 percent. Bachmann and Paul, a congressman from Texas, each won 3 percent. Santorum and Huntsman, former Utah governor, each took 1 percent.