Impeachment could hurt Dem hopes

Impeachment could hurt Dem hopes

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President Donald Trump may not be popular with Democrats in Washington and elsewhere around the country, but South Carolinians approve of the Republican president even as he faces efforts to impeach him.

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Two polls out this week show the president has broad support in his re-election, looking to keep South Carolina in the “red” state column where it has been since a Democratic presidential nominee last won here in 1976.

A poll by Change Research, which polled for Florida 2018 gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and currently serves as pollster to the The Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston, shows 53% approve of Trump’s job performance, with 43% of those strongly approving. Forty-seven percent disapprove, 43% of them strongly.

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The latest Winthrop Poll shows Trump with a 72% approval rating among Republican or Republican-leaning voters, the electoral majority in South Carolina.

The polls do contain some good news for Democrats in the state.

The Change Research findings show Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham has a 35% favorable rating, but his unfavorables have reached 53%. Collective PAC, an organization working to elect black candidates, contends that is big for Orangeburg native and Democratic senatorial candidate Jaime Harrison.

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Harrison’s primary problem is name recognition, with the same poll showing that 52% of people do not know him. His favorable rating is 16%. His unfavorable total is 12%.

Collective PAC says the unfavorables for Graham put Harrison “in striking distance” in a race that is being watched nationally because of Graham’s ties to Trump, his position as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and the traditionally dominant force that the GOP is in South Carolina.

Meanwhile, the Winthrop Poll shed new light on South Carolina and its key role in the Democratic presidential nominating process. The state’s primary is the first in the South in 2020 and is considered a major early test for the contenders.

Joe Biden should be particularly happy with the results, as he is leading the field here with 37% of those surveyed saying they were leaning toward voting for the former vice president. Among African Americans, he had even higher numbers, at 46.

Other candidates planning to run in the S.C. primary with support were U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 17%, followed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, 8%, and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, 7%. The remaining 15 candidates fell under 5%.

Not captured as yet in polling is the impact of Democrats’ impeachment pursuit. The presidential contenders are near unanimous in support of the efforts by the U.S. House, though a majority of Americans per a number of polls are not. The belief that Democrats in the House should put impeachment aside and focus on mainstream issues – letting the 2020 election decide Trump’s fate – could dampen the party’s hopes here of even getting within striking distance of the state moving away from Trump as well as electing a Democratic senator.


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