Quinnipiac poll shows Graham, Harrison tied in South Carolina Senate race
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) and his Democratic challenger, Jaime Harrison, are running neck and neck in South Carolina, according to a new Quinnipiac University survey released on Wednesday.
The poll shows both Graham and Harrison garnering 48 percent support among likely South Carolina voters.
The survey is the latest to show Graham in an increasingly precarious position in his reelection bid despite the strong Republican leanings of his state. Since winning his seat in 2002, Graham has been easily reelected by double-digit margins.
But Harrison has emerged as a formidable challenger to the four-term senator and has raised millions for his campaign, putting Graham on the defensive in a state that President Trump carried four years ago by more than 14 points.
Overall, Harrison’s public image gets more positive reviews than Graham’s, according to the poll. Forty-seven percent of respondents say they have a favorable view of Harrison, while 34 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him.
Graham’s favorability, meanwhile, is slightly underwater, with 44 percent reporting a favorable view of him and 49 percent saying they see him unfavorably.
In the presidential race in South Carolina, Trump leads Democratic nominee Joe Biden 51-45 percent, a relatively narrow 6-point margin that suggests a tighter race than in 2016.
Republicans have long argued that Trump’s support among his conservative base will help lift GOP candidates down-ballot. But the poll shows Graham’s support narrowly trailing that of the president, while Harrison slightly outperforms Biden.
To be sure, the race between Graham and Harrison is close, and The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, currently rates it as “lean Republican.” Graham also holds a cash advantage over Harrison, reporting $15 million in cash reserves at the end of July to Harrison’s $10.2 million.
But a win in the South Carolina Senate race in November would be a windfall for Democrats, who are seeking to recapture a majority in the upper chamber. They need to pick up three or four seats this year — depending on which party wins control of the White House — to take control of the Senate, and their path to the majority has so far hinged on more purple states such as North Carolina, Arizona, Maine and Colorado.
The Quinnipiac University poll surveyed 969 likely voters in South Carolina from Sept. 10 to 14. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.