While backers cheered Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, at a fundraiser at the Republican Capitol Hill Club Tuesday, home state support for his race for the 2016 presidential nomination looked shaky.
A poll from Winthrop University found
that six out of 10 South Carolina residents interviewed, or 65.3 percent, including two-thirds of registered voters, believe Graham should not seek the GOP nomination for president.
Further, the poll states that Graham's approval ratings are low, at 45.5 percent for all those polled, 46.5 percent among registered voters and 60.3 percent among GOP and "leaners," the poll states.
Only 26 percent of registered voters would like to see Graham run for the White House, and even 56.5 percent of Republicans would prefer that he stay out of the race, Politico reports.
Graham's approval ratings are just slightly above those of President Barack Obama, which the poll found is around 40 percent, or below the national average of 50 percent.
Graham said, "What compels me to run is that I’ve never been more worried about our nation and the threats we face at home and abroad, and we’re running out of time to deal with these threats," Politico reported.
Graham also caused a recent flap with his wisecrack about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, saying of her reaction to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to a joint session of Congress, "Did you see Nancy Pelosi on the floor? Complete disgust. If you can get through all the surgeries, there's disgust," CNN reported.
Graham later apologized, saying, "I made a very poor attempt at humor to talk about [Pelosi's] reaction, and for that I apologize," CNN reported.
At the fundraiser, co-chaired by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, Graham drew 200 supporters, and donors paid $1,000 to attend, and $2,700 to be listed as a co-chair, in contributions to Graham's exploratory committee, Strength Through Security, Greenville Online reported.
"A lot of people in that room want me to go to the next level. We'll see if there is a path," Graham told Greenville Online after the fundraiser.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, told Greenville Online that Graham "is really, really solid on national security issues, and to the extent that will be an issue next year, he can more than hold his own."
New York venture capitalist Ken Abramowitz, one of 40 who paid to be co-chairs of the event, told The Washington Post
that Graham is "a dark horse, but he’s a real solid speaker."
Greenville Online says the three-term senator will travel to Iowa and New Hampshire this weekend to test his support in those early primary states.
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