Huckabee Charms South Carolina

'Believable' candidate surges to first among GOP hopefuls
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2007 8:08 AM CST
Former President Bill Clinton, speaks at a campaign stop at the University of South Carolina Upstate in support of his wife Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in Spartanburg,...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – GOP contender Mike Huckabee has grabbed the top spot among Republican candidates in South Carolina because voters find him the most "believable," according to a poll released yesterday. "Huckabee has come on because he has a more personable or pastoral appeal to a lot of voters," a political science professor noted. Huckabee, whose support appears to be growing across the nation, was backed by 24% of those polled.

Fred Thompson came in second, and Rudy Giuliani was third, with his support in the state dropping in half since July. Experts believe Huckabee's appeal to religious conservatives accounts for his surge to the front in the early-voting state. Hillary Clinton is South Carolina's favorite Dem, but Barack Obama has closed the gap in recent months.