South Carolina poll shows Harrison in striking distance of Graham, tight presidential race

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — A new poll from Morning Consult put Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jaime Harrison within one percentage point of incumbent Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

According to the poll, 43% of voters said they would vote for the former South Carolina Democratic Party chairman, while 44% said they would go for the Seneca Republican.

Though pollsters called the race “statistically tied,” many South Carolina voters have not committed to either candidate, according to the poll.

Of the 741 likely South Carolinian voters surveyed online from July 24 to Aug. 2, 4% said they would vote for someone else, and 8% said they don’t know or have no opinion. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Harrison’s camp celebrated the poll in a news release Tuesday.

“Lindsey Graham should be feeling the heat this summer, and he can no longer take the people of South Carolina for granted,” campaign spokesperson Guy King said in a statement. “This polling makes it clear: Lindsey is facing strong headwinds right now, and the momentum is firmly on the side of Jaime Harrison’s grassroots movement to fix urgent problems and bring hope back to all 46 counties of South Carolina.”

But the Graham campaign questioned the online poll’s methodology.

“Because this poll is conducted entirely online and excludes the opinions of numerous voters, the results are far different than what our internal polling shows,” campaign spokesman T.W. Arrighi said. “But one thing is consistent in all polling: the more voters find out about how radically liberal Jaime Harrison is, the less they support him.”

Senate race polling conducted since May has shown Graham with a slight lead over Harrison, giving the incumbent a one to seven point lead.

In February, polls had a much wider spread, with Graham easily leading by more than 10 points consistently.

The poll also examined former Vice President Joe Biden’s chances during the November election. According to the Morning Consult, 44% of polled voters said they would likely vote for Biden in November, while 49% said they preferred President Donald Trump.

Both Biden and Trump have enjoyed wide support from their respective parties in South Carolina.

In February, Biden won every county across the state during the Democratic Presidential Primary, an election in which the state saw a historic turnout, surpassing the numbers in 2008 when Barack Obama was running for president.

The win turned the tide for Biden, who limped through the New Hampshire and Iowa primaries. It also came on the heels of a major endorsement from U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, a Democratic kingmaker in the Palmetto State.

Trump won South Carolina handily during the 2016 election. Trump secured 55% of the vote, while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pulled in about 41%.


©2020 The State (Columbia, S.C.)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) attends a press conference announcing Senate Republicans' opposition to D.C. statehood on Capitol Hill on July 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C. - Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images North America/TNS