POLL SHOWS LITTLE FAMILIARITY …
Democrats in South Carolina have it pretty bad … but not that bad.
Sure, they are in the perpetual minority in both legislative chambers (and currently own zero statewide offices) … but they exert tremendous influence at the S.C. State House by virtue of the fact that most “Republicans” are also in favor of high taxes, crony capitalism and perpetual bureaucratic expansion.
Seriously: When half of the GOP caucus (or more) is in the pocket of big government … it’s easy to see how Democrats almost always get there way. That’s why the average $1 billion in new money that has flown annually into state coffers over the last seven years has been spent … and why the $1.2 billion coming in this next budget year will similarly disappear into the bureaucratic sinkhole.
Anyway … there’s a similar game at work up in Washington, D.C., where a “Republican-controlled” U.S. House just passed a huge $1.15 trillion embrace of the radical agenda of Barack Obama.
One which blew past the spending caps they previously agreed upon … by more than $50 billion.
Anyway … South Carolina’s “Republican” delegation split on the vote, but its lone Democratic lawmaker voted in favor of the boondoggle. That’s par for the course. On pretty much any big-ticket spending vote, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn can count on the support of a pair of left-leaning “Republicans” – Joe Wilson and Tom Rice. And often one or two others.
So … does it matter who replaces Clyburn?
No … not really.
But that’s not stopping the speculation … or the political polling.
In fact according recent data from Public Policy Polling – a Democratic firm based in Raleigh, North Carolina – there’s very little familiarity among Democrats with any of their so-called “standouts.”
S.C. Rep. Bakari Sellers – the odds-on favorite to follow Clyburn into the sixth district seat in the U.S. Congress – scored a 20 percent favorable rating among Democratic primary voters. That’s better than any of his would-be congressional rivals including Columbia, S.C. mayor Steve Benjamin (12 percent), S.C. House minority leader Todd Rutherford (12 percent) and S.C. Senator Marlon Kimpson of Charleston, S.C. (11 percent).
Of course the vast majority of Palmetto Democrats remain unsure about Sellers (67 percent), Benjamin (72 percent), Rutherford (74 percent) and Kimpson (77 percent). In other words … these four aspiring black politicians are basically unknown commodities within their own party.
Same goes for former S.C. Democratic luminaries Jim Hodges and Inez Tenenbaum. Hodges, who was governor from 1999-2003, has a 27 percent favorable rating and a 14 percent unfavorable mark. However 59 percent of Democrats were “not sure” what they thought of him. Meanwhile Tenenbaum, who served two terms as superintendent of education from 1999-2007, had a 34 percent favorable mark compared to 16 percent of Democrats who viewed her unfavorable. Fully half of those polled said they were “not sure” what they thought of her.
Of interest? Former S.C. Democratic party chairman Dick Harpootlian – who oversaw the party during its turn-of-the-millennium revival – told a local alternative paper that anyone looking to take Clyburn’s place better get used to a long wait.
“He looked very healthy the last time I saw him,” Harpootlian told The (Columbia, S.C.) Free Times.