What's Scaring the Republicans of South Carolina?—David Frum
In my column for CNN, I discuss the concerns of South Carolina's older voters:
The state's unemployment rate is 9.9%, eighth worst in the country(if you count the District of Columbia as a state). Iowa and New Hampshire, by contrast, ranked sixth and fourth best respectively.
Despite the grim economic numbers, Newt Gingrich's first TV attack ad focused on Mitt Romney's record on abortion, not economics.
Perhaps for this reason: Those South Carolinians most affected by the state's economic distress do not vote in the Republican primary. The S.C. Republican primary is dominated by older voters, many of them retired, who have escaped the worst shock of the economic crisis.
In 2008, 24% of Republican primary voters in South Carolina were 65 or older.
That number should rise significantly in 2012. Over the past three years, the median age of self-identified Republicans has spiked nationwide. In 2010, Republicans won 63% of the vote of white seniors.
And of all the country's demographic groups, it is white seniors who have suffered least from the economic crisis. Generous social programs shelter the elderly from the slump.