WASHINGTON (CNN) – South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is standing by his man, insisting Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, whom he endorsed, is doing well in the Palmetto State.
Still, Graham conceded to reporters Tuesday that “what you see nationally with Huckabee is happening in South Carolina.”
Graham was responding to a new USA Today/Gallup poll that places former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in second place nationally among Republicans.
South Carolina is a key Republican primary state, and has historically been a firewall for Christian conservatives like Huckabee.
The increased Palmetto State support Graham senses hasn’t shown up in polls yet - an AP-Pew survey of South Carolina voters out Tuesday put Huckabee in fifth place there.
But that survey was taken over a lengthy period earlier this month, and may not fully reflect the recent surge in support for the former governor. In addition, in the crowded GOP field, fifth place is just 9 percentage points behind the poll’s leaders, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, who were each chosen by 19 percent of people surveyed.
–CNN Radio’s Lisa Desjardins