Palmetto Sunrise: Mitt Romney leads presidential contenders in poll. Yes, that Romney.

2012 Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves to supporters in Charlotte, N.C. (file photo)

South Carolina’s presidential primary is a long way away. But still. Mitt Romney?

Romney was panned by many when his name began to be floated as among the those thinking about a 2016 presidential run — his third try at the job. He will likely be reminded of this quote from the New York Times last year on whether he would run again:

“Oh, no, no, no. No, no, no, no, no. No, no, no.”

But if the poll released Wednesday is any indication, Romney supporters have reason to cheer. Disclaimer: It’s probably too early for polls but it’s never too early for polls.

Schuyler Kropf of the Post and Courier reported that Romney leads an early White House preference poll of South Carolina voters, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

The telephone survey of 831 likely GOP primary voters was conducted last week by Gravis Marketing of Florida.

Romney got 20 percent, followed by Bush at 16 percent and Walker at 9 percent.

Two potential candidates, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, were not included in the survey.

Another Times report this week is less sanguine about the former Massachusets governor, saying that conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s icy view of Romney could affect his decision to run.

“The disfavor that Mr. Murdoch has showered upon Mr. Romney could have a genuine impact on the early stages of the Republican primary, as Mr. Romney, the party’s nominee in 2012, weighs whether or not to push ahead with a campaign, a decision he is expected to make in the next few weeks.”

South Carolina’s presidential primary is set for mid-February.

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