Wednesday, June 02, 2010

New poll finds S.C. senator in hot water

There may be millions of Americans who want to see more bipartisanship and cooperation in politics, but a new poll from Public Policy Polling suggests the South Carolina Republicans don't want anything to do with it -- or at least with one of the more prominent practitioners of bipartisanship in Washington: Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Of course, what party regulars want and what voters including independents generally want can be two different things, but a fellow running for re-election has to get past a primary first, and if PPP is right, Graham would face a hard time if he were running this year. But he isn't. He won't be up for renewal until 2014.

That'll give him time to mend some fences -- or else time to turn to the right. I'm one of those who has always appreciated Graham's moderate approach to some key issues, and even when I don't agree with his stances, I find he's got useful things to say about where he stands and why.

Here's the analysis from Tom Jensen of PPP:

South Carolina Republicans are ready to give Lindsey Graham the boot. The good news for him is that they can't do it for another four years.

57% of likely voters for next week's Gubernatorial primary in the state say they would vote for a more conservative alternative to Graham the next time he is up for reelection compared to only 32% who say they would vote to renominate him.

It's clear that Graham has in particular alienated the conservative base of his party in the state. Moderate Republicans say they would vote to keep Graham by a 57-24 margin but conservatives ones are even stronger in their desire to dump him, saying by a 68-23 spread they'd like to replace him.

Graham's overall approval with Republican voters is 40% with 45% of them disapproving of him. To put those numbers in context Arlen Specter and Blanche Lincoln both still had positive approval ratings within their own parties as they failed to win their respective primaries two weeks ago.

53% of GOP voters think Graham is too liberal to 41% who think he's about right and 6% who aren't sure.

The immediate relevance of these numbers is limited but when you look at these and the ones we found for Olympia Snowe late last year the message gets clearer and clearer- Republican Senators cooperate with Democrats at their own peril.

This analysis is also available on our blog:

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