The poll's findings come the same day that a pair of polls found that Iowa Republicans think Gingrich, who has recently surged to the head of the GOP presidential field, is the strongest candidate to face President Obama.
Both polls are especially good news for Gingrich given that the findings are in the coveted early-voting states of South Carolina and Iowa and ahead of signs that Romney's campaign will invest more time and resources in Iowa.
The Winthrop poll also found that only slightly more South Carolinians disapprove of the job President Obama is doing than those who approve. The poll found that 47. 8 percent of South Carolina voters disapprove of Obama's job performance, while 44.8 percent approve.
The poll was conducted between Nov. 27 and Dec. 4 among 1,073 registered South Carolina voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.99 percent for all respondents and plus or minus 5.45 percent for Republicans only.