Lindsey Graham and Jaime Harrison in deadlock in South Carolina Senate battle

Griffin Connolly
Democratic Senate nominee Jaime Harrison has made his race in deep-red South Carolina against Senator Lindsey Graham competitive. (Getty Images)
Democratic Senate nominee Jaime Harrison has made his race in deep-red South Carolina against Senator Lindsey Graham competitive. (Getty Images)

Senator Lindsey Graham and his Democratic opponent this autumn, Jaime Harrison, are in a statistical deadlock, recent polling in the Palmetto State has found.

A new poll conducted by liberal writer and strategist Cornell Belcher and his consulting outfit Research and Strategies found Mr Harrison, the challenger, with a 2 percentage point lead over Mr Graham as the race enters its final two weeks.

Mr Harrison led Mr Graham 47-45 per cent in that poll, with 5 per cent of respondents undecided.

Internal partisan polling such as Mr Belcher’s does not usually present the most reliable data.

But its results are roughly in line with other recent public surveys that have shown Mr Harrison within striking distance of Mr Graham.

A New York Times/Siena College poll from last week found Mr Graham with a 6-point edge over Mr Harrison among likely voters, within the sample’s margin of error of +/-4.5 percentage points.

Mr Harrison, a former Democratic state party chairman, has far outpaced Mr Graham among black voters, who comprised a quarter of South Carolina’s overall electorate in 2008, but just 19 per cent in 2016.

The election odds website FiveThirtyEight.com gives Mr Graham the better odds for victory, with the incumbent winning 78 out of 100 simulated contests.

Mr Harrison raised a record-breaking $57m in the third quarter this year in his bid to unseat Mr Graham.

The race has gained national attention for its closeness in a state Donald Trump, of whom Mr Graham is a close ally, won by 14 percentage points in 2016.

Mr Graham got hours of free national airtime last week as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee overseeing the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Mr Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

While a Quinnipiac poll from September showed Mr Graham and Mr Harrison tied, the New York Times reported that Mr Graham’s support in its polling last week climbed on the days Mr Graham was leading the Barrett hearings.

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