The State's Haley story hits and misses

Some late-night reading caught John O'Connor at The State in a little sloppy homework.  In the story which claimed "Haley’s 51 percent majority was the smallest for a gubernatorial win since 1970.", we did a little checking, because it didn't sound right.

Guess what we found out? It wasn't right - and it took less than 10 minutes to find out.

The correct answer is that of the other four Republican Governors elected since 1970, three of them won their first bids by margins less than Haley's four-point margin (51-47%). Here's the history of the other close calls:

  • In 1974, Jim Edwards won 50-47% - three points
  • In 1986, Carroll Campbell won in 1986 51-48% - three points
  • In 1994, David Beasley won 50-48% - two points


Of the three aforementioned GOP governors, Edwards was term-limited and couldn't seek a second term (the last to do so), Campbell won 70% of the vote for re-election in 1990, and Beasley was ousted by voters in his 1998 re-election bid. Given these three widely-varying outcomes, trying to suggest a close race for a first time is an omen for four years' time is a bit of a stretch.

Did Haley's campaign perform poorly, relative to other statewide GOP campaigns this year? Absolutely, but it does help to get one's facts correct before trying to make a point.

But while we think that Haley underperformed, we've also argued that the Sheheen campaign was stumbling early on in a number of ways which allowed Haley to keep ahead of them. It was disappointing that The State's story didn't ask the same questions that we did.

It seems that Haley ran a poor campaign, Sheheen ran a poorer campaign, and The State could've done a better job with their facts and examining the issues that allowed Haley.

If there is any bad omen for Haley's re-election prospects, we say this is it: Haley and Beasley were the only two of the five modern-era GOP governors to lose Charleston County in their first races. The negatives which drove moderate GOP voters in Charleston County to vote against Beasley in his 1994 race spread along the entire coast four years later and had much to do with his losing re-election bid. Clearly, Haley had trouble rallying these same voters this year. If Haley has any challenge in getting re-elected in four years' time, avoiding the "coastal contagion" may well be it.

3 Response to "The State's Haley story hits and misses"

  1. mg 7/11/10 13:57
    She ran the worst campaign of any major GOP Candidate for sure.
  2. west_rhino 7/11/10 20:52
    But Earl, surely The State wouldn't print such an obdurate lie. I have to suspect that in their arrogant view, the numbers are just statistics and only mean what they want to tell us the hanging chads mean.

    Is it any wonder that TEA Partiers and 9/12 groups have the traction they do?
  3. Anonymous 7/11/10 20:55
    West, the only arrogance involved was that which told them there was no need to do homework - just shovel the crap out there and people would gobble it up without doing their homework.

    Earl is right. Sloppy work.

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