U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison are tied in the upcoming Senate race, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.
About 48% of likely voters said they would support Graham come November, while the same amount said the same about Harrison.
The also also reported that 93% of those surveyed said they likely would not change their mind about which candidate they were going to vote for come November. Only 6% said they may change their minds.
The poll, which surveyed 969 likely South Carolina voters, was conducted by interviewers via the phone from Sept. 10 to Sept. 14. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.
About 34% of those polled called themselves Republicans, 26% claimed to be Democrats and 33% said they were independents.
According to 2016 presidential election exit polls from CNN, during the 2016 election, 27% of voters in South Carolina were Democrats, 46% were Republicans and 26% identified as an independent.
The poll was the latest showing of a historically tight Senate race for Graham. Since late May, nearly every poll done on the race has shown Graham and Harrison at a statistical tie or Harrison within striking range of the Republican senator.
The Harrison campaign celebrated the latest favorable poll.
“Sen. Graham is in for the race of his life, and he is getting more nervous every day about his re-election chances,” campaign manager Zack Carroll said. “Lindsey Graham has changed after 25 years in Washington into someone who puts his political fortunes ahead of problem solving. Voters are turning towards Jaime Harrison, who will work hard to deliver real results and represent South Carolina values in the U.S. Senate.”
Meanwhile, the Graham campaign criticized the poll’s methodology.
“We learned long ago not to put much confidence in media polls or outside groups who don’t understand South Carolina politics,” campaign spokesman T.W. Arrighi said in a statement. “It’s not our goal to generate buzz or clicks but to win a campaign. And our internal polling shows we are on track to accomplish that goal.”
The competition has also been tight when it comes to fundraising. Both candidates have set and broken records when it comes to fundraising for a statewide race.
While Graham held the fundraising advantage near the beginning of the competition, Harrison has topped him in recent quarters. In August alone, the Harrison campaign fundraised more money than the Graham campaign did in three months.
“A victor by almost 16 points back in 2014, Senator Graham stares down the first real test of his Senate tenure. Outspent and accused by some of being a Trump apologist, he is in a precarious tie,” Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy said in a statement.
Voters polled by Quinnipiac had mixed feelings about Graham. About 44% said they saw him favorably, while 49% did not. Meanwhile, 47% of respondants approved of Harrison, while about 34% said they had an unfavorable opinion of him.
More voters also said they saw Harrison as “honest.” While 24% of those polled said they saw Harrison as not honest, 49% said the same of Graham.
Voters also were asked what they saw as the most important issue of the race; 23% responded “law and order,” 22% said the economy, 12% said the COVID-19 pandemic, 12% said racial inequity and 11% said which party has the power to make picks to replace Supreme Court justices.
South Carolinians surveyed also gave their opinions on President Donald Trump, a staunch and public ally of Graham.
Half of the respondents said they approved of Trump’s work as president, while 47% said they disapproved. Those polled were more evenly split on how they saw Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic: 49% approved and 48% disapproved.
Trump maintained his lead over Biden in South Carolina, 51% to 45%, according to the poll.