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Didn't think barbecue was political?
MAY 4, 2003 - If you want proof that politics seeps into just about
anything, consider barbecue, a staple at Republican and Democratic
Former House Minority Leader Gilda Cobb Hunter, D-Orangeburg, prefers
ketchup-based barbecue sauce. House Speaker Pro Tempore Doug Smith,
R-Spartanburg, would rather eat the tangy mustard sauce popular
in the Midlands. Meanwhile, Sen. John Matthews, D-Orangeburg, favors
the taste of barbecue flavored with spicy vinegar.
A new poll called the S.C. Index found Republicans preferred mustard-based
barbecue sauce by a 2-1 margin over ketchup-based sauce. Democrats
picked ketchup-based sauce by 6 percentage points, according to
the poll that will be offered bimonthly by three political consulting
"I want to change my answer," SC Rep. Harry Ott, D-Calhoun,
joked when he learned of the poll results. Earlier, he said he favored
In general, the poll found 36 percent of South Carolinians preferred
mustard-based barbecue sauce, compared to 25 percent who liked ketchup-based
sauce and 16 percent -who chose a vinegar sauce for the port. Some
10 percent of South Carolinians said they didn't eat pork.
The pollsters said they didn't expect the results to have political
"All of us involved in putting this together like the vinegar
sauce," said Skip Webb of Campaign Systems in Columbia. "We
were a little shocked to discover we were in the bottom group!"
The statewide poll, which had a 4.9 percent margin of error, was
administered April 14-15 by telephone to 400 registered voters.
It revealed several other interesting political tidbits:
Education cuts. A majority of South Carolinians (52 percent)
think proposed budget cuts will hurt public education. Only 16 percent
said cuts would have no impact and 12 percent said they would help
public education. One in five voters said they didn't know how cuts
would affect education.
Confederate flag. South Carolinians remain divided over
the Confederate flag, the SC Index said. Some 42 percent of voters
said they favored the flag flying on the Statehouse grounds; 37
percent were opposed.
Views on the flag remain polarized by party and race. Three in
five Democrats and 82 percent of blacks and 18 percent of Republicans
oppose the flag on the Statehouse grounds. Just over half of Republicans
and 25 percent of Democrats support flying the flag near the Capitol.
Only 4 percent of blacks do.
Direction. With the economy on many people's minds, the
SC Index found almost half of those asked felt the state was headed
in the right direction. One in four said the state had gotten off
track. Some 29 percent said they weren't sure.
Sanford's rating. Gov. Mark Sanford has a 64 percent favorability
rating, the SC Index said. Only 8 percent of respondents said they
had an unfavorable impression of his job performance; 21 percent
were neutral. Interestingly, he got high marks from men and women,
but fewer black voters (33 percent) gave him a high rating, compared
to 74 percent of white voters.
By the way, Sanford spokesman Will Folks asked the governor which
kind of sauce he liked.
"He said, 'whatever he can get his hands on,'" Folks
And that, in and of itself, is politically interesting.