Lindsey Graham: Leading, But Exceedingly Vulnerable
LIBERAL INCUMBENT’S APPROVAL RATING IDENTICAL TO BARACK OBAMA’S IN PALMETTO STATE
Two-term “Republican” incumbent Lindsey Graham enjoys a big lead over three rivals in the race for the U.S. Senate in South Carolina – but the liberal Washington insider is “underwater” among voters in the Palmetto State, and likely to see significant erosion in his support as his opposition exploits his many vulnerabilities.
According to a new poll released by The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier and a trio of South Carolina television stations, only thirty-nine percent of likely voters approve of Graham’s performance in office – compared to 44 percent who disapprove. Those are terrible numbers for any politician – but they’re downright abysmal considering Graham just spent $5 million on a barrage of positive media during his virtually uncontested campaign for the GOP nomination.
Graham won that race with 56 percent of the vote, but turnout was abysmal – and none of Graham’s opponents were able to raise enough money to drive a narrative against him.
Democrats were quick to note Graham’s vulnerability.
“Graham’s 39 percent approval is the same in South Carolina as President Obama’s according to the poll,” said Lachlan McIntosh, a Democratic operative who is advising the campaign of S.C. Sen. Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg). “A key thing to remember is that Barack Obama got about 45 percent of the vote in South Carolina twice. If Hutto only matches that, he can win according this poll.”
Hutto entered the U.S. Senate race when former statewide official Thomas Ravenel – star of the reality TV show Southern Charm – started making noise about jumping into the race.
Ravenel is currently polling at ten percent – but the Lowcountry businessman has yet to start spending money on the race.
“Like John Paul Jones said, ‘I have not yet begun to fight,’” Ravenel said. “I’m at ten percent and haven’t spent a dime getting my message out. By contrast Lindsey Graham has spent $5 million getting his message out in the last few months and his approval rating is only 39 percent. Meanwhile 44 percent disapprove of his performance – a number that’s only going to climb as people start realizing that he’s serving Washington’s interests, not their interests.”
Ravenel added he was willing to spend “whatever it takes” to highlight the contrast between his free market policies and Graham’s left-leaning record.
Ravenel’s entry into the race has prompted discord among the Graham campaign – with some of the Senator’s advisors urging an aggressive response and others advising Graham to ignore Ravenel.