U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s public support is collapsing in South Carolina – driven by a wholesale revolt among the GOP electorate and a steady erosion of his support amongst independents.
Already consistently loathed by a solid third of GOP voters, Graham’s recent leftward bent – including his co-authoring of a controversial “Cap & Tax” proposal supported by President Barack Obama and liberal Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) – has him locked in a “terminal free fall,” according one prominent Republican consultant.
“A chunk of the GOP has always detested him, but in the last month a dam has broken,” said the consultant, who was granted anonymity to discuss the impact of two recent polls that were conducted in South Carolina (one allegedly by Graham’s own advisors). “More Republicans now oppose Sen. Graham than support him. Independents are also deserting him in huge numbers.”
Even more troubling for Graham is there doesn’t seem to be a way out of the box. In fact, both polls reportedly showed that the more the national liberal establishment and local environmentalists rally to Graham’s defense, the worse things get for him.
That has sparked a heated debate within Graham’s camp as to how to best manage the situation.
“He needs positive messages desperately,” said a source familiar with the discussions. “But the only available messengers seem to be doing more harm than good.”
As reported on FITS ( here, here and here), some of the nation’s most liberal funding groups have come to Graham’s defense on the issue – while South Carolina Republicans (even moderate Coastal ones) are once again furious at another betrayal of their core beliefs.
Specific numbers were not provided to FITS, but Graham’s team was supposed to have received its poll results on Wednesday.
Sources also tell FITS that after viewing those polling numbers, Graham’s team compelled former SCGOP Chairman Katon Dawson to throw Lindsey a bone earlier this week in an effort to stop the bleeding among Republican voters.