A new poll of Republican voters in the early primary state of South Carolina suggests the question of Barack Obama’s eligibility is no fringe issue, as 65 percent of those polled question whether the current occupant of the Oval Office was even born in the U.S.

The automated telephone survey of 750 usual South Carolina Republican primary voters was conducted by the Democratic polling company, Public Policy Polling, from Aug. 25-28.

According to PPP’s published results, when asked, “Do you think Barack Obama was born in the United States?” 44 percent answered “no” and an additional 21 percent answered “unsure” – a total of 65 percent questioning his birthplace – leaving only 35 percent who answered definitively “yes.”

The poll also found Rick Perry opening up a substantial lead in the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, with 36 percent choosing the Texas governor in a contest that doesn’t include former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. MittRomney came in second, 20 points behind at 16 percent, with Bachmann a close third at 13 percent.

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