September 16, 2020 - Maine, South Carolina, And Kentucky Senate Races: Collins Trails, Graham Ties, And McConnell Leads, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Majority Plan To Vote In Person On Nov. 3 In Each State Quinnipiac University Polling Logo
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MAINE: Gideon 54%, Collins 42%

SOUTH CAROLINA: Graham 48%, Harrison 48%

KENTUCKY: McConnell 53%, McGrath 41%

In three high-profile United States Senate races in Maine, South Carolina, and Kentucky where longtime Republican incumbents are seeking re-election, only one of those incumbents has a clear lead, one is now an underdog, and one is locked in a dead heat, according to a Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pea-ack) University poll of likely voters in each of the states released today.

These are the first surveys of likely voters in the 2020 election cycle in Maine, South Carolina, and Kentucky by the Quinnipiac University Poll and cannot be compared to earlier surveys of registered voters.

"Senate control hangs in the balance as the GOP confronts a likely nail biter in South Carolina and a possible knockout in Maine, offset by a presumably solid lead in Kentucky," said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.

MAINE: SENATE RACE

Democrat Sara Gideon leads the race among likely voters for the U.S. Senate in Maine 54 - 42 percent over Republican Senator Susan Collins, who is seeking her fifth term.

Eighty-nine percent of likely voters who selected a candidate in the Senate matchup say their minds are made up, and 10 percent say they might change their minds before the election.

"The tide has turned on Senator Susan Collins, who was so popular in Maine that she won nearly 70 percent of the vote the last time she ran. Likely voters are sending the message that there's no 'middle of the road' when it comes to President Trump, who is deeply unpopular in the state," said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Mary Snow.

Likely voters give Senator Collins a negative 43 - 51 percent favorability rating, while they give Sara Gideon a positive 49 - 37 percent favorability rating.

Likely voters say 49 - 33 percent that Gideon is honest, and say 48 - 42 percent that Collins is honest.

When asked if the candidates care about average people, voters say 60 - 27 percent that Gideon cares and they say 51 - 44 percent that Collins cares.

Likely voters in Maine say the economy (21 percent) is the most important issue in deciding who to vote for in the U.S. Senate race. The economy is followed by health care (15 percent), law and order (14 percent), the coronavirus pandemic (13 percent), and the Supreme Court (13 percent).

Voters say 53 - 40 percent that they would want to see the Democratic Party win control of the United States Senate.

SOUTH CAROLINA: SENATE RACE

Senator Lindsey Graham, who is seeking his fourth term in the U.S. Senate, is tied with his Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison. Forty-eight percent of likely voters support Graham, while 48 percent support Harrison.

Ninety-three percent of likely voters who selected a candidate in the Senate matchup say their minds are made up, and 6 percent say they may change their minds.

Likely voters have a mixed opinion of Senator Graham, with 44 percent saying they have a favorable opinion of him, while 49 percent say they have an unfavorable opinion of him. For Jaime Harrison, 47 percent have a favorable opinion, while 34 percent have an unfavorable opinion.

Likely voters say 48 - 24 percent that Harrison is honest, and they say 49 - 40 percent that Graham is not honest.

When asked if the candidates care about average people, voters say 55 - 25 percent that Harrison cares, while they are split when it comes to Graham. Forty-five percent say he cares about average people, and 48 percent say he does not.

"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," added Malloy.

Likely voters in South Carolina name law and order (23 percent) as the most important issue in deciding who to vote for in the U.S. Senate race, followed by the economy (22 percent), the coronavirus pandemic (12 percent), racial inequality (12 percent), and the Supreme Court (11 percent).

Voters say 52 - 44 percent that they want to see the Republican Party win control of the United States Senate.

KENTUCKY: SENATE RACE

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is seeking a seventh term, leads the race for U.S. Senate in Kentucky 53 - 41 percent over Democratic challenger Amy McGrath.

Ninety-one percent of likely voters who selected a candidate in the Senate matchup say their minds are made up, and 9 percent say they might change their minds before the election.

"After 36 years in the Senate, Majority Leader McConnell appears to have a comfortable path to six more years in Washington in one of the most expensive Senate races to date," added Malloy.

Likely voters have a mixed opinion of Senator McConnell, with 44 percent saying they have a favorable opinion of him, while 46 percent say they have an unfavorable opinion of him. Amy McGrath receives a negative 34 - 47 percent favorability rating.

Likely voters say 42 - 34 percent that McGrath is honest, and they say 48 - 38 percent that McConnell is not honest.

When asked if the candidates care about average people, likely voters say 47 - 34 percent that McGrath does care about average people, but say 49 - 42 percent that McConnell does not.

Likely voters in Kentucky rank the economy (26 percent) as the most important issue in deciding who to vote for in the U.S. Senate race, followed by law and order (20 percent) and health care (13 percent).

Voters say 54 - 38 percent that they want to see the Republican Party win control of the United States Senate.

VOTING IN 2020

A majority of voters in each state expect to cast ballots in person on November 3rd.

In-person voting is most popular in South Carolina, where 72 percent of likely voters say they think they will vote in person on Election Day, and only 24 percent say they think they will vote by mail or absentee ballot.

In Kentucky, 56 percent of likely voters say they think they will vote in person on Election Day, while 26 percent say they think they will vote by mail or absentee ballot. Kentucky will also have early voting locations, and 13 percent of likely voters say they think they will cast their ballot at those sites.

In Maine, 54 percent of voters plan to cast their ballot in person on Election Day, and 42 percent say they think they will vote by mail or absentee ballot.

TRUMP JOB APPROVAL

When asked how President Trump is handling his job as president, likely voters had varying opinions across the three states.
  • In Kentucky: 55 percent approve, 41 percent disapprove.
  • In South Carolina: 50 percent approve, 47 percent disapprove.
  • In Maine: 38 percent approve, 60 percent disapprove.
TRUMP CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE

When asked how President Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus, likely voters gave similar responses to his overall job approval.
  • In Kentucky: 54 percent approve, 43 percent disapprove.
  • In South Carolina: 49 percent approve, 48 percent disapprove.
  • In Maine: 37 percent approve, 61 percent disapprove.
KENTUCKY: 2020 PRESIDENTIAL RACE

In Kentucky, President Trump leads former Vice President Joe Biden in the race for the White House 58 - 38 percent.

Trump also leads Biden in four out of five head-to-head matchups on the issues, while one is essentially tied:
  • On handling the economy: Trump 63 percent, Biden 34 percent;
  • On handling the military: Trump 59 percent, Biden 36 percent;
  • On keeping you and your family safe: Trump 58 percent, Biden 36 percent;
  • On handling the response to the coronavirus: Trump 56 percent, Biden 40 percent;
  • On handling racial inequality: Trump 48 percent, Biden 45 percent.
SOUTH CAROLINA: 2020 PRESIDENTIAL RACE

In South Carolina, President Trump has a slight lead over former Vice President Joe Biden in the race for the White House, 51 - 45 percent.

Trump leads Biden in three out of five head-to-head matchups on the issues, while two are essentially tied:
  • On handling the economy: Trump 55 percent, Biden 40 percent;
  • On handling the military: Trump 54 percent, Biden 42 percent;
  • On keeping you and your family safe: Trump 52 percent, Biden 43 percent;
  • On handling the response to the coronavirus: Trump 50 percent, Biden 46 percent;
  • On handling racial inequality: Biden 48 percent, Trump 46 percent.
MAINE: 2020 PRESIDENTIAL RACE

In Maine, former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Trump in the race for the White House 59 - 38 percent.

Biden leads Trump in all five head-to-head matchups on the issues:
  • On handling racial inequality: Biden 62 percent, Trump 33 percent;
  • On handling the response to the coronavirus: Biden 60 percent, Trump 37 percent;
  • On keeping you and your family safe: Biden 56 percent, Trump 38 percent;
  • On handling the military: Biden 56 percent, Trump 40 percent;
  • On handling the economy: Biden 52 percent, Trump 45 percent.
From September 10th - 14th:
  • 1,164 likely voters in Kentucky were surveyed, with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points;
  • 1,183 likely voters in Maine were surveyed, with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points;
  • 969 likely voters in South Carolina were surveyed, with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 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.

Visit poll.qu.edu or www.facebook.com/quinnipiacpoll

Email poll@qu.edu, or follow us on Twitter @QuinnipiacPoll.


2. If the election for president were being held today, and the candidates were Joe Biden the Democrat and Donald Trump the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Joe Biden the Democrat or Donald Trump the Republican?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Biden                38%    59%    45%
Trump                58     38     51
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -
DK/NA                 3      3      4
 
 
2a. (If candidate chosen q2) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY VOTERS......
                     CANDIDATE CHOSEN Q2
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Mind made up         93%    96%    96%
Might change          6      4      3
DK/NA                 1      1      -
 
 
3_KYonly. Thinking about the 2020 election, do you think you will vote in person on Election Day, vote early by mail or absentee ballot, or vote at an early voting location?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
In person            56%     -      -
Mail/Absentee ballot 26      -      -
Early voting loc     13      -      -
WON'T VOTE(VOL)       -      -      -
DK/NA                 5      -      -
 
 
3_ME_SConly. Thinking about the 2020 election, do you think you will vote in person on Election Day, or do you think that you will vote early by mail or absentee ballot?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
In person             -     54%    72%
Mail/Absentee ballot  -     42     24
WON'T VOTE(VOL)       -      -      -
DK/NA                 -      4      4
 
 
4. Is your opinion of Joe Biden favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                    LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Favorable            33%    51%    43%
Unfavorable          60     40     50
Hvn't hrd enough      5      6      3
REFUSED               2      2      4
 
 
5. Is your opinion of Donald Trump favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Favorable            54%    36%    51%
Unfavorable          42     61     45
Hvn't hrd enough      2      1      1
REFUSED               2      2      3
 
 
7_KYonly. If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Amy McGrath the Democrat and Mitch McConnell the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Amy McGrath the Democrat or Mitch McConnell the Republican?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
McGrath              41%     -      -
McConnell            53      -      -
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -
DK/NA                 4      -      -
 
 
7a_KYonly. (If candidate chosen q7) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY VOTERS......
                     CANDIDATE CHOSEN Q7
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Mind made up         91%     -      -
Might change          9      -      -
DK/NA                 -      -      -
 
 
7_MEonly. If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Sara Gideon the Democrat and Susan Collins the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Sara Gideon the Democrat or Susan Collins the Republican?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Gideon                -     54%     -
Collins               -     42      -
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      1      -
DK/NA                 -      3      -
 
 
7a_MEonly. (If candidate chosen q7) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY VOTERS......
                     CANDIDATE CHOSEN Q7
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Mind made up          -     89%     -
Might change          -     10      -
DK/NA                 -      1      -
 
 
7_SConly. If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Jaime Harrison the Democrat and Lindsey Graham the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) As of today, do you lean more toward Jaime Harrison the Democrat or Lindsey Graham the Republican?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Harrison              -      -     48%
Graham                -      -     48
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -
DK/NA                 -      -      3
 
 
7a_SConly. (If candidate chosen q7) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY VOTERS......
                     CANDIDATE CHOSEN Q7
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Mind made up          -      -     93%
Might change          -      -      6
DK/NA                 -      -      1
 
 
8-9. Is your opinion of - (KY) Amy McGrath, Mitch McConnell / (ME) Sara Gideon, Susan Collins / (SC) Jaime Harrison, Lindsey Graham - favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about [him/her]?
                     LIKELY VOTERS........................................................
                     KY.....................     ME............       SC..................
                     McGrath       McConnell     Gideon Collins       Harrison      Graham
 
Favorable            34%           44%           49%    43%           47%           44%
Unfavorable          47            46            37     51            34            49
Hvn't hrd enough     18             9            14      5            17             5
REFUSED               1             1             1      1             2             2
 
 
10-11. Would you say that - (KY) Amy McGrath, Mitch McConnell / (ME) Sara Gideon, Susan Collins / (SC) Jaime Harrison, Lindsey Graham - is honest, or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS........................................................
                     KY.....................     ME............       SC..................
                     McGrath       McConnell     Gideon Collins       Harrison      Graham
 
Yes                  42%           38%           49%    48%           48%           40%
No                   34            48            33     42            24            49
DK/NA                24            13            18     10            29            10
 
 
12-13. Would you say that - (KY) Amy McGrath, Mitch McConnell / (ME) Sara Gideon, Susan Collins / (SC) Jaime Harrison, Lindsey Graham - cares about average people, or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS........................................................
                     KY.....................     ME............       SC..................
                     McGrath       McConnell     Gideon Collins       Harrison      Graham
 
Yes                  47%           42%           60%    51%           55%           45%
No                   34            49            27     44            25            48
DK/NA                19             9            13      5            19             8
 
 
14. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Approve              55%    38%    50%
Disapprove           41     60     47
DK/NA                 3      2      3
 
 
15. Will your vote in this year's election for United States Senator be more to express support for President Trump, more to express opposition to President Trump, or will President Trump not be an important factor in your vote?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Support              34%    22%    31%
Opposition           22     31     26
Not important factor 40     44     39
DK/NA                 4      3      4
 
 
16. If the election were today, would you want to see the Republican Party or the Democratic Party win control of the United States Senate?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Republican Party     54%    40%    52%
Democratic Party     38     53     44
DK/NA                 8      7      5
 
 
17. Which of these is the most important issue to you in deciding who to vote for in the election for United States Senator: the economy, immigration, health care, climate change, the coronavirus pandemic, racial inequality, law and order, or the Supreme Court?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Economy              26%    21%    22%
Immigration           2      2      2
Health care          13     15     10
Climate change        4      8      2
Coronavirus          11     13     12
Racial inequality    10      8     12
Law and order        20     14     23
Supreme Court         8     13     11
DK/NA                 6      5      7
 
 
18. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Approve              54%    37%    49%
Disapprove           43     61     48
DK/NA                 3      2      2
 
 
19. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you think would do a better job - handling the economy: Donald Trump or Joe Biden?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Trump                63%    45%    55%
Biden                34     52     40
DK/NA                 3      4      4
 
 
20. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you think would do a better job - handling racial inequality: Donald Trump or Joe Biden?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Trump                48%    33%    46%
Biden                45     62     48
DK/NA                 7      5      6
 
 
21. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you think would do a better job - handling the response to the coronavirus: Donald Trump or Joe Biden?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Trump                56%    37%    50%
Biden                40     60     46
DK/NA                 4      3      3
 
 
22. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you think would do a better job - handling the military: Donald Trump or Joe Biden?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Trump                59%    40%    54%
Biden                36     56     42
DK/NA                 4      3      4
 
 
23. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you think would do a better job - keeping you and your family safe: Donald Trump or Joe Biden?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     KY     ME     SC
 
Trump                58%    38%    52%
Biden                36     56     43
DK/NA                 6      6      6
 
 
Additional info by state:
Kentucky: State Crosstabs Sample and Methodology detail
Maine: State Crosstabs Sample and Methodology detail
South Carolina: State Crosstabs Sample and Methodology detail