This is GOP week at The State, where they'll be profiling a candidate each day. Toady was a BIG front page package on Rudy Giuliani along with a little piece stemming from statewide polling data on South Carolina Republicans. The story reads like conventional wisdom and seems to say what the paper likely hoped it would — that the different areas of the state have different kinds of Republicans.
Social conservatives dominate the Upstate. Smaller government is our priority in the Lowcountry. The Midlands is more concerned about defense. And the Pee Dee wants less taxes. They must not have asked if they voters are Republicans because of the pencil-thin blond book-peddling harpies, because I'm sure that response would have polled.
But the data suggests that the clear lines drawn by the news story aren't really there. A strong national defense is the number one priority in the Lowcountry and is statistically tied for the lead in the Upstate. The Pee Dee was the highest on lower taxes, but an equal number polled cited religion and social issues as their number one priority. When you consider that "lower taxes and fiscal issues" and "wanting smaller government" are essentialy the same, you have a new leader in every area except the Midlands. What the poll really says is that more than one issue makes a Republican and Republican.
The one interesting point the poll does offer is that, while "Religion and Social Values" polled at 17.5 percent or higher elsewhere in the state, less than 10 percent of Lowcountry Republicans said that was the reason they were in the GOP.