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Sen. Lindsey Graham vulnerable in 2014 primary: poll

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A new poll shows that South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s hopes of securing a third term in the Senate next year could be in jeopardy.

The Clemson University Palmetto Poll found that 53 percent of the 500 Republicans surveyed hold a favorable view of Mr. Graham, while 36 percent see him in an unfavorable light.

That puts him on flimsier footing heading into the 2014 election than fellow GOP Sen. Tim Scott, who is less well known, but who has a 69 percent favorable rating and 6 percent unfavorable rating. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, meanwhile, has a 70 percent favorable rating and 18 percent unfavorable rating.

“Most incumbents have a ‘re-elect regardless’ number in the 30s, so the governor’s numbers are quite strong,” said David Woodward, Clemson political science professor. “That cannot be said about Graham, his numbers show that more than two-thirds of the base GOP voters are unhappy with him, with almost 20 percent of them saying they would not vote for him in 2014.”

The poll found respondents disliked Mr. Graham because he lacks conservative principles, his close ties to Sen. John McCain of Arizona and his tendency to compromise with Democrats.

They also did not like his support for a military strike against Syria in response to the chemical weapons used allegedly by President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Mr. Graham faces several challengers in the GOP primary, including Nancy Mace, the first female graduate of the citadel.

The Clemson poll was conducted Sept. 18-23 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.

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