Unemployment will be big issue in S.C. primary

People stand in front of a sand sculpture depicting Republican presidential candiates (L-R) Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, former candidate Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, in front of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, on January 16, 2012 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Jeremy Hobson: We're just four days away from the presidential primary that could determine who the Republican nominee will be. I'm talking, of course, about South Carolina. Now, so far, we've heard from voters in Iowa and New Hampshire -- both states that are doing pretty well economically compared with the rest of the country. But the jobs picture in South Carolina is one of the ugliest in the nation: one in ten workers there can't find a job.

And as Julie Rose reports, that's likely to be on the minds of voters this weekend.


Julie Rose: You can find a pretty good sample of South Carolina voters in the parking lot of a dollar store these days. Nobody's willing to pass up a bargain with unemployment the way it is around here.

Katie Smith: I have a master's degree and I can't find a teaching position in South Carolina for anything, so...

Republican Katie Smith has been without a steady job for the past three years. So yeah, the economy is the big issue for her this election, but she's stumped about the primary.

Smith: I don't believe that there is a candidate that's gonna do anything for our economy.

Jay Thurman: I just feel like there's no legit candidate that I feel like I can trust.

Hardly a ringing endorsement there from Jay Thurman, who's also Republican. He's hung on to his sales job through the recession, but is worried about the national debt.

The candidates are hitting all the right notes for South Carolina conservatives, promising to cut spending, limit regulation and get people back to work. Polls show Mitt Romney in the lead, but more than a third of voters say they're still undecided, or open to changing their minds before Saturday.

I'm Julie Rose, for Marketplace.

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