Are South Carolina Republicans turning their backs on President Trump and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham?
A recent Quinnipiac University poll that received a lot of attention from state and local media shows Graham would tie with Democrat challenger Jaime Harrison at 44% in the November general election.
Trump handily defeated Hillary Clinton by 15 points in the 2016 presidential race, yet this poll shows Trump with a mere 5% lead over Democrat Joe Biden.
If the outcomes appear skewed for a state that is decidedly Republican, that’s because less than one-third of the 914 voters surveyed for this poll identified as Republicans, according to the poll methodology.
Here’s the breakdown by party identification of those included in the poll, which was conducted July 30 through Aug. 3 and has a 3.2% margin of error:
- Republican 31%
- Democrat 25%
- Independent 34%
- Other/DK/NA 10%
South Carolina is a heavily Republican state and the poll is weighted to reflect the party’s numbers over Democrats. It’s the independents who are tipping the scales.
Of the Republicans polled, 94% said they are voting for Trump and 89% of Republicans said they are voting for Graham.
Yet independents put Biden over the top with 45% and only 37% said they would support Trump. Harrison fared better with independents, winning over Graham with 47% to 37%.
South Carolina voters do not register by party, so it’s difficult to gauge how much Republican support will guarantee a win statewide.
But if 2016 is any indication, Trump’s reelection chances here are not at risk.
2016 Presidential election results in South Carolina
Trump 54.9% with 1,143,611 votes
Clinton 40.8% with 849,469 votes
Trump carried Horry County with 67% to Clinton’s 30%.
What the recent polls confirms is that Trump is still wildly favored by South Carolina Republicans, and Graham also enjoys strong support within the party.
Unless there’s been a recent seismic shift in the state’s population that tilts exclusively to the left, Republican voters will carry the state to return Trump to the White House and Graham to the U.S. Senate.