Breaking down the Quinnipiac poll that shows Graham and Harrison neck and neck in US Senate race

South Carolina News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A recent poll by Quinnipiac University puts Senator Lindsey Graham (R) and challenger Jaime Harrison (D) neck and neck in the race to represent South Carolina in the US Senate.  

The poll — conducted via telephone from September 23 through September 27 — questioned 1,123 South Carolinians that described themselves as likely voters. Interviewers used randomized digit dialing and contacted participants on landlines and cell phones.  

With the election just over a month away, the poll revealed what may be unsettling results for incumbent Lindsey Graham: he and Harrison are deadlocked in a tie, with 48% of voters planning to support each candidate.  

Perhaps even more concerning for Graham is the consistency with which Harrison is keeping pace. The most recent poll yielded the exact same total results as one conducted on September 16. In both cases, each candidate had 48% support, with 3% of those polled saying they were unsure.  


43% of respondents had a favorable view of Graham. 86% of Republicans held a favorable view, as did 33% of Independents. 51% of respondents had an unfavorable view of Graham, and 4% said they had not heard enough to make an assessment.  

Harrison came in just above Graham, with 48% of respondents holding a favorable view. 97% of Democrats viewed him favorably, as did 50% of Independents. 35% of respondents viewed Harrison unfavorably, with 3% saying they had not heard enough about him.  

54% of Independents leaned more towards Harrison, while 39% leaned towards Graham.  

When it comes to honesty, 40% of total respondents believed that Graham is an honest person, compared to 51% deeming Harrison honest.  

75% of Republicans viewed Graham as honest, while 94% of Democrats viewed Harrison as honest.  

50% of total respondents did not believe Graham is honest, compared to 25% that did not believe Harrison is honest.  

When asked if the candidates seem to care about average people, 44% believed that Graham does, while 59% believed that Harrison does.  

Further, 80% of Republicans, 5% of Democrats, and 39% of Independents believed that Graham cares about average people. In contrast, 98% of Democrats, 30% of Republicans, and 58% of Independents believed that Graham cares about average people.  


A clear distinction emerged regarding which issues each candidates’ supporters find most important.

Of those who believe law and order is the most important issue, 92% plan to vote for Graham. Additionally, 78% of those who prioritize the economy plan to vote for Graham.  

90% of those who believe that racial inequality is the most important issue plan to vote for Harrison, as do 90% of those who believe that COVID-19 is the most important issue, and 84% of those who put healthcare at the top of their list.  

The issue of the Supreme Court is an outlier, with similar value placed by supporters of each candidate: 54% of Graham’s supporters view it as the most important issue, as do 46% of Harrison’s supporters.  


95% of respondents say that they have made up their mind on who has their vote.   

88% of Republican respondents said that they would vote in person, while 56% of Democratic respondents plan to do the same.  

Only 9% of Republican respondents plan to vote absentee by mail, while 40% of Democratic respondents plan to do so.  

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