New Poll Purports To Show Lindsey Graham Vulnerable To Democratic Challenger
A new poll shows Senator Lindsey Graham vulnerable to a Democratic challenge next year, but there are several caveat.
A new poll purports to show that Lindsey Graham could well be vulnerable to an upstart Democratic challenger in 2020, but it ought to be taken with a grain of salt:
A Change Research-Post and Courier poll released Friday shows that longtime Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has just a 2-point lead on his Democratic challenger.
In the left-leaning poll, 47 percent of likely general election voters said that they would vote for Graham, 45 percent said that they would vote for Democratic challenger Jamie Harrison and 9 percent said that they were undecided.
Graham did not poll exceptionally high in favorability, with 38 percent of respondents viewing him very or somewhat favorably, and 53 percent of respondents viewing him very or somewhat unfavorably.
The poll had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
More from the poll itself:
Senator Lindsey Graham has a low favorability rating among likely South Carolina general election voters, with 38% of respondents viewing him very or somewhat favorably, and 53% of respondents viewing him very or somewhat unfavorably. 7% of respondents were neutral and 2% of respondents had never heard of him. In particular, Senator Graham fares poorly among Independents, with 60% of Independents viewing him very or somewhat unfavorably and only 28% viewing him very or somewhat favorably. 9% were neutral and 3% had never heard of him.
President Trump has higher favorability numbers than Senator Graham. 51% of likely South Carolina general election voters view President Trump very or somewhat favorably, while 46% of respondents view him very or somewhat unfavorably. 2% of respondents were neutral and 0% of respondents had never heard of him. Among Independents, 51% view him very or somewhat unfavorably and 41% view him very or somewhat favorably. 7% were neutral and 1% had never heard of him.
Senator Graham also does poorly in a generic match-up. 38% of likely general election voters say they will definitely or probably vote for Senator Graham, 53% of respondents say they will definitely or probably vote for someone else, and 10% are not sure.
In comparison, 54% of respondents say they will definitely or probably vote for President Trump, 43% of respondents say they will definitely or probably vote for the Democratic candidate, and 3% say they will vote for a third party candidate.
Finally, Senator Graham leads the Democratic candidate for US Senate, Jaime Harrison, by just 2 points. 47% of likely general voters saying they will vote for Graham, 45% saying they will vote for Harrison, and 9% of voters are still undecided.
If this poll is anywhere close to accurate, it’certainly puts the South Carolina Senate race between Graham and seemingly default Democratic nominee Jamie Harrison, who I wrote about earlier this week, in a different light.
As I noted in the initial post, Graham’s electoral history and South Carolina’s political history make it unlikely that a Democrat could win statewide in a Presidential election year. This, after all, is the same Lindsey Graham who was first elected to the Senate in 2002 in an election in which he beat his Democratic challenger by ten points and nearly 120,000 votes. Six years later in 2008, he won his first re-election fight by nearly 15 points and 200,000 votes. Most recently, in 2014, he won by nearly 16 points and 200,000 votes. Moreover, this is the same state that President Trump won by 300,000 votes and 14 points in 2016 and it is likely he will win again in 2020 by a similar margin. Additionally, it has been 27 years since a Democrat won a statewide election for Senate, and 21 years since a Democratic candidate won a statewide race for Governor. Taking all this into account the idea that a Democrat is suddenly viable against Graham in a year when the President is likely to win the state by double digits is hard to believe.
In addition to this electoral history, there’s the fact that other recent polling that shows Graham with a fairly strong lead over Harrison. The most recent poll before this one, for example, gave Graham a 23-point lead over Harrison. Granted, that poll was taken in mid-October but it seems odd that the state of the race would change that significantly in such a relatively short period of time. It’s possible I suppose, but taking into account the kind of state South Carolina is politically, it just seems to be darn unlikely.
So let’s keep an eye on this race, but if you’re not a fan of Graham, and in the wake of his transformation into a Trumpist sycophant there certainly seem to be plenty of those, I would not make too much of this single poll unless it is corroborated by others further down the line.