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them endorsed McCain. Among all significant issues, 63 percent of voters mentioned the economy, and 56 percent of this category supported McCain. Obama was more convincing while discussing the war in Iraq as an issue, but only 11 percent of voters thought it mattered most, and Obama split their support with McCain (64 percent to 36 percent). The disapproval rating for sitting president George W. Bush was high at 64 percent, but even the disapproving voters supported McCain 39 percent of the time. Among the 36 percent approving of President Bush’s job performance, 92 percent supported McCain. Although there is no convincing evidence of positive or negative Bush “coattails,” it does appear that the Republican core is consistently over one-third of voters in South Carolina and that moderates, while disapproving, are still loyal to the Republican candidate to a large degree, in this case almost 40 percent. Lightning did not strike for the Democrats in the 2008 presidential campaign in South Carolina. The early enthusiasm for Democratic success faded to the expected Republican success. Maybe Palmetto State Democrats will hold out hope for 2012 on two grounds. They will have an incumbent president with a potentially successful first term to advertise . And the 2008 Republican margin in South Carolina was not as bright a red as usual. Should the 58 percent for Bush in 2000 followed by the 54 percent for McCain in 2008 fall another four percent, the 2012 November presidential contest may actually be competitive. Analysis: South Carolina in the United States Senate Lindsey Graham won reelection by a typical Republican margin in South Carolina, 57.5 percent to 42.3 percent over his Democratic rival, Bob Conley.16 Some expected the race to be close. However, the Democrat was entirely unknown, not a party regular, and did not campaign actively. Graham had a 3.5 percent increase over his result in 2002 when he was elected to succeed Strom Thurmond. He received over 70 percent of the vote in Lexington County (73 percent) and hometown counties Oconee (73 percent), and Pickens (72 percent). In thirteen other counties his margin was over 60 percent, and it was over 50 percent in fifteen additional counties. The Democrat won fifteen counties, primarily in rural, less-populated areas. Conley carried small, largely African American Allendale County 73 percent to only 27 percent for Graham, for example. Graham had generated some criticism among conservatives for being too “moderate” because he worked with Senate Democrats on expanding health care, limiting Chinese imports, and not filibustering judicial 112 ★ Cole Blease Graham appointments. He also differed with the Bush administration on medical issues, payment of fees by litigants, and treatment of unlawful combatants . Graham also challenged the status quo as a steady advocate of national Republican Party reform. He consistently supported Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign, to the chagrin of many Republicans. Yet, if the South Carolina tradition of endlessly reelecting U.S. senators continues, Graham should be around for a long time. Analysis: South Carolina in the United States House of Representatives South Carolina’s congressional delegation has four Republicans and two Democrats, all of whom were reelected in 2008. In the First District, incumbent Republican Henry Brown defeated a strong Democratic challenger, Linda Ketner, by a surprisingly close margin (51.9 percent to 47.9 percent). Ketner is the daughter of a founder of the Food Lion grocery chain and was able to finance most of her campaign . Brown had acquired a reputation as something of a “bumbler” who let a fire get off his property onto federal forest lands and who then threatened retaliation against the forest service if they fined him. He eventually paid a small fine. With an ultraconservative voting record since elected to Congress in 2000, he won in 2006 with 60 percent of the vote. This election was a wake- up call for an otherwise comfortable incumbent. In the Second District, Republican incumbent Joe Wilson had a 7.56 percent margin over Democratic competitor Rob Miller. Miller is an Iraq war veteran and former U.S. Marine Corps officer who ran an active, well-financed campaign. The old story is that a challenger to an incumbent from Lexington County needs to win all the other parts of the district by at least twenty-five thousand votes before Lexington is counted. This time, Wilson carried Lexington by thirty-three thousand votes to a 54.7 percent to 46 percent victory, perhaps closer than he would have...


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MARC Record
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