WASHINGTON – President Trump and Senator Lindsey Graham have identified clear but not overwhelming advantages in South Carolina, a strong Republican state that is showing signs of competitiveness this year, according to a new study by the New York Times / Siena College.
Mr Trump leads Joseph R. Biden Jr. by 49 percentage points to 41, while Mr Graham, who faces the most serious challenge of his career, wins 46 per cent of the vote compared to 40 per cent for his Democratic rival. Jaime Harrison.
No Democratic presidential candidate wore South Carolina by Jimmy Carter in 1976, a series that looks set not to end this year. But the combination of black voters and white transplants there is poised to make the state a battlefield rather than a subsequent thought ahead.
It was this coalition of voters that pushed Mr. Trump to a single-digit advantage four years after he moved South Carolina by 14 points, and that made the race between Mr. Graham and Mr. Harrison perhaps the most surprisingly close Senate game. in 2020.
Yet South Carolina remains more conservative than its fast-changing neighbors, Georgia and North Carolina, and quite prohibitive for Democrats. The state has not elected a governor or senator from the Democratic Party since 1998.
While white voters with higher education in other Sun Belt states prefer Mr. Biden or even break between the two presidential candidates, they prefer Mr. Trump by 50 percent to 38 percent in South Carolina. Even more striking for Democrats is the difference between white voters without higher education: 77 percent prefer Mr. Trump, while only 18 percent support Mr. Biden.
There is much more uncertainty in the Senate race. After being one of the fiercest critics of Mr. Trump in the 2016 campaign, Mr. Graham has become one of his most loyal lieutenants.
In line with the 2020 Elections
This change, along with the skepticism that Mr. Graham has faced from far-right Republicans over his propensity to make deals, has made him vulnerable to challenge.
And Mr. Harrison, a former lobbyist who chaired the Democratic Party of South Carolina, has become a fundraising dynamo: He has just broken the Senate fundraising record in a quarter, as in the three months since July net reached $ 57 million by September.
Jason Strickland, a 44-year-old Republican from Summerville, South Carolina, lamented Mr Graham’s willingness to compromise, citing immigration as an example. Mr Strickland criticized what he called Mr Graham’s call for an “amnesty”, citing the senator’s longstanding effort to mediate bilateral immigration reform, which would include the path to citizenship of millions of immigrants in the country. illegally.
Mr Strickland said he would vote enthusiastically for Mr Graham because the “biggest” factor in his thinking was his dislike of Mr Harrison.
“I have a huge problem with the whole Black Lives Matter movement,” he said.
Adding another wrinkle to the Senate race is the presence of the candidate from the Constitutional Party, Bill Bledsoe. While Mr Bledsoe withdrew from the race and supported Mr Graham, his name was still on the ballot. And Mr Harrison’s campaign is spending money on advertising to snatch Mr Bledsoe’s conservative powers and take away Mr Graham’s votes.
Mr Bledose collected 4% of the poll, while 8% of voters said they did not decide in the Senate race. Remarkably, 6 percent of Republicans in South Carolina said they did not decide in the Senate race, while only 2 percent said the same about the presidential race.
Mr Graham, seeking a fourth term, is captivating 89 per cent of Republicans, a number he will have to increase to avoid Mr Harrison’s challenge, given the likelihood of black voters moving to the Democrats.
The good news for Mr. Graham, as it relates to his own base, is that he is already on the central stage in Congress, wielding the hammer every day this week in the Senate Justice Committee during Judge Amy’s confirmation hearings. Connie Barrett.
Fifty-two percent of South Carolingians said they supported Ms. Connie Barrett’s confirmation, while only 30 percent said they opposed it. Support for her was even higher among educated white voters, with 59% supporting her appointment.
Remarkably, Mr. Graham performed better in the survey over the past two nights than summoning voters after the Supreme Court hearings began. In initial talks that began last week, the Senate race seemed closely divided. But this week, Mr. Graham actually did better among respondents than Mr. Trump.
Raising funds from Mr. Harrison also encouraged more Republican donors to give to Mr. Graham, who raised $ 28 million over the past three months.
Yet Mr Graham, who has barely faced a competitive race since he was first elected to Parliament in 1994, is in the battle of his political life.
Many South Carolina voters have gotten him dirty. Forty-nine percent of voters said they did not think Mr. Graham was honest and reliable, while 41 percent said they thought so, according to the poll.
And while 40 percent of South Carolingians said they had a very favorable view of Mr. Trump, enthusiasm for Mr. Graham was less. Only 26 percent of voters said they looked at him very favorably.
For Republicans, the division was even more pronounced: 79 percent of GP voters said they viewed Trump very favorably, while only 54 percent of Republicans in the state said the same about Mr. Graham.
The senator’s bet, however, is that serving as one of Mrs. Connie Barrett’s most outspoken advocates and bonding with Mr. Trump will be enough to survive Mr. Harrison’s threat.
Asked if they could change their minds about their presidential vote, 98 percent of Republicans in South Carolina said they definitely voted for their preferred candidate.
The contest may depend on the scale of black voting, and in particular whether it reflects the enthusiasm he had for former President Barack Obama, or rather resembles the 2016 race. In 2008, black voters made up 25 percent of the electorate. of South Carolina. Four years ago, it was only 19 percent.
The poll is based on African-American voters, who make up 23 percent of South Carolina’s electorate.
Matt Stevens contributed to the reporting.
Here are the cross-tabulations for the survey.