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Poll: S.C. Gov. Race Gets Tighter

October 2, 1998

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ A poll released Thursday shows a tight race between Republican Gov. David Beasley and Democratic challenger Jim Hodges _ a dramatic change in just a month.

The more than 600 registered voters questioned by Mason-Dixon Political Media Research in late September split 44 percent to 39 percent in favor of Beasley, with 17 percent undecided. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Beasley, seeking a second term, had a 51 percent to 36 percent margin in August, with 13 percent undecided.

``It confirms what everyone has been saying, that Beasley’s campaign has been sinking. It hasn’t drowned, but it has been sinking,″ said Bill Moore, a College of Charleston political science professor who had seen a copy of the poll.

``This race is a close race,″ Beasley acknowledged earlier in the day. He blamed ``the web of lies″ that he said was spun by the video gambling industry that has contributed heavily to Hodges’ campaign.

It has been a potentially pivotal week, with both men again on Thursday trying to get voters’ attention away from recent questions about their campaigns.

Hodges stumped for education and a lottery, trying to shed questions about whether his party intentionally resurrected unproven rumors that Beasley had an extramarital affair with former press secretary Ginny Wolfe.

Beasley, who along with Ms. Wolfe has denied any infidelity, attacked Democrats and again demanded an apology.

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