Charleston, SC (AP) - In some ways, political campaigning has gone to the dogs in South Carolina.
With dogs in almost half of American homes, a number of South Carolina politicians feature their pet dogs in television ads, on websites and on Facebook pages.
The best-known seems to be Boots, the bulldog who appears with Republican Henry McMaster in his TV ads for lieutenant governor.
College of Charleston political scientist Gibbs Knotts says dogs are part of American culture more than ever before and a dog in an ad can humanize a candidate.
But, he says, while they may help introducing a candidate, they are not good in winning votes. Ads that contrast candidates work better. Knotts says that while people talk about not liking negative ads, they tend to work.