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The South Carolina numbers game

COLUMBIA, SC -- When it comes to campaign spending in South Carolina, Jon Huntsman has had -- so far -- the worst return on his investment.

Huntsman, who received only 1% in an NBC/Marist poll of South Carolina likely Republican voters, spent the most amount of money per percentage point in that poll.

According to campaign finance report analysis by The State newspaper, Huntsman has spent $277,744 -- meaning that one percentage point came with a hefty price tag. The actual primary, of course, is still 90-plus days from now.

Michele Bachmann spent the second most money in the state, $83,156. Her 5% showing in the poll means she spent about $16,631.20 per percentage point.

Herman Cain and Mitt Romney, who were neck-and-neck in the poll, are getting the best bang for their buck, at least right now.

Cain, who got 30% in the NBC/Marist poll, has spent $54,119 in the first-in-the-South primary state, which works out to $1,803.97 per percentage point.

While his campaign downplays South Carolina’s importance, Romney invested the third biggest amount of money in the state, $73,119. Finishing four points behind Cain, at 26%, his spending per point was $2,812.27 -- about a third more than Cain’s.

Rick Perry spent slightly less than Romney in South Carolina ($72,431), but his 9% in the poll cost him $8,047.88 per point -- almost four times as much as Romney’s spending per point.