Poll: Graham leads Harrison in South Carolina Senate race

By James Arkin
·2 min read
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)

Sen. Lindsey Graham holds a narrow edge over Democrat Jaime Harrison in South Carolina as the three-term GOP senator is locked in the most competitive and expensive reelection fight of his career, according to a new poll released Thursday.

Graham leads Harrison among likely voters, 46 percent to 40 percent, according to the poll from the New York Times/Siena College.

The poll showed Bill Bledsoe, the Constitution Party candidate, receiving 4 percent of the vote. Bledsoe is on the ballot, but has ended his campaign and endorsed Graham.

President Donald Trump has a slightly wider lead over Biden in the state, leading, 49 percent to 41 percent. Trump won the state by 14 percentage points in 2016.

The poll comes as both candidates shatter fundraising records in the state. Harrison raised $57 million in the third quarter of this year, the most raised by a Senate candidate in history. Graham announced raising $28 million, which was the most every raised by a senator but still left him at a steep financial disadvantage in the closing weeks of the election.

Both Graham and Harrison's images were above water among the state's voters, and both are well-known among the electorate. For Graham, 49 percent of voters viewed him favorably, compared with 45 percent who held an unfavorable view. For Harrison, 47 percent viewed him favorably, compared with 42 percent who viewed him unfavorably.

The poll also showed that Republicans' push to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court could be a boost for Graham, who is leading the process as chair of the Judiciary Committee. More than half of voters, 52 percent, supported her nomination to the Supreme Court compared to just 30 percent who opposed it. And 54 percent of voters said the Senate should vote on her confirmation before the election, while just 33 percent said the Senate should only vote on her nomination if Trump wins reelection.

The poll surveyed 605 likely voters from Oct. 9-15, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.