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South Carolina Senate Race: Graham And Harrison Tied, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Divided On Trump Filling SCOTUS Vacancy Before Election

Republican incumbent Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison are locked in a dead heat in the race for U.S. Senate, 48 - 48 percent, according to a Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pea-ack) University poll of likely voters, which was conducted prior to the presidential debate. This is unchanged from a September 16th survey, which also showed both candidates each getting 48 percent support.

Ninety-five percent of likely voters who selected a candidate in the Senate match up say their minds are made up, while 4 percent say they might change their minds.

"There hasn't been a Democrat elected to the Senate from South Carolina since 1998. Outspent and labeled by critics as an apologist for President Trump, Lindsey Graham is facing the fight of his political life," said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.

In general, 49 percent of likely voters want to see the Republican Party win control of the U.S. Senate, while 44 percent want the Democratic Party.


A big majority of likely voters in South Carolina (71 percent) think they will vote in person on Election Day, while 25 percent say they will vote early by mail or absentee ballot.


Harrison receives higher scores than Graham when it comes to honesty, empathy, and likely voters' overall opinions about the candidates.

Likely voters give Harrison a positive favorability rating, 48 - 35 percent, while Graham's favorability rating is negative, 51 - 43 percent.

When it comes to honesty, likely voters say Harrison is honest 51 - 25 percent, with 24 percent saying they don't know. For Graham, likely voters say 50 - 40 percent that he is not honest.

Harrison gets another positive score on whether or not he cares about average people, as likely voters say he does, 59 - 25 percent. Graham gets another negative score on whether or not he cares about average people, with 50 percent saying he does not and 44 percent saying that he does.

Twenty-one percent of voters name the economy as the most important issue in deciding who to vote for in the Senate race, and 20 percent say law and order.


On the way President Trump is handling his job, 49 percent of likely voters approve and 48 percent disapprove. Forty-eight percent of likely voters approve of his handling of the response to the coronavirus and 50 percent disapprove.


In this pre-debate poll, President Trump receives 48 percent support among likely voters, while former Vice President Joe Biden receives 47 percent support. This compares to a September 16th poll when Trump had 51 percent to Biden's 45 percent, a change which is not statistically significant.

Both candidates receive similar favorability ratings as likely voters are roughly divided on both. Forty- nine percent of likely voters give Biden an unfavorable rating, while 46 percent say favorable. Trump gets an evenly split 48 - 48 percent favorability rating.

Likely voters are also divided on who would do a better job handling two issues that have emerged in the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death: Supreme Court nominations and health care.

On who would do a better job handling Supreme Court nominations, 50 percent say Trump and 47 percent say Biden.

On who would do a better job handling health care, 48 percent say Biden and 47 percent say Trump.


On the question of who should fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, 49 percent say it should be the winner of the presidential election, while 47 percent say it should be President Trump before the election.

"POTUS picked the SCOTUS nominee, but almost half of likely voters say before the election it's not Trump's call on who to install," added Malloy.

With the Supreme Court set to hear arguments in November challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, half of likely voters (50 percent) say they would like to see the law remain in place, while 43 percent say they would like to see it ended.

A majority of likely voters (55 percent) agree with the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that established a woman's right to an abortion, while 37 percent disagree.

1,123 likely South Carolina voters were surveyed from September 23 - 27 with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts gold standard surveys using random digit dialing with live interviewers calling landlines and cell phones. The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts nationwide surveys and polls in more than twenty states on national and statewide elections, as well as public policy issues.

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