The only reason South Carolina is even tied at this point can be summed up with this simple question: “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of ____?” Check out the state’s two Republican senators and impeached president Donald Trump:
|Lindsey Graham (R)
|Tim SCott (R)
|Donald Trump (R)
And now let’s dig into just Republicans:
Graham, no matter how much he tries to carry Trump’s water, can’t overcome Republican loathing—for his friendship with the late former Arizona Sen. John McCain, and, maybe, for saying things like this during the 2016 Republican primary?
Or maybe when he said, of Trump, in February 2016, “I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office.”
But that was when McCain was still alive. The day after McCain’s funeral, Graham had found himself a new daddy to latch on to, the very same president he had called “a kook.” And if this report is to be believed, it’s even bothering Trump himself: “Trump has said, ‘Since [John] McCain died, Lindsey follows me around and shows up to play golf and I don’t even invite him,’ according to the source briefed on the conversation.”
Whatever the reason, the end result is that 42-42 Senate matchup tie because 11% of Republicans answer “someone else” and 6% say unsure. That 17% is starkly different than Democrat Harrison’s “someone else” and “unsure” numbers, which total just 4%. The end result is that Harris is all-but-maxed out, while Graham has a lot of room to grow. He doesn’t need all those stragglers to come home, just a handful will do the trick.
Here’s another data point that proves that exact same point:
Harrison voters go Biden, and Graham voters go Trump. No surprises there.
But it’s the “Other” column that confirms Harrison’s difficult task—74% of those who say they’ll vote “other” in the Harrison versus Graham matchup are Trump supporters. Just 7% are Biden supporters. It is the Republican incumbent with all the upside. This could very well end up being a 52-44 result, when the votes are finally counted.
Does that mean Harrison’s task is hopeless? Of course not, it shows that he’s somewhat in the game. We have an uncertain economic climate, as well as tens of thousands more deaths to go before Election Day. Trump himself could go on a rampage and single-handedly nuke Graham. He was already been losing his mind over Graham’s lack of interest in engaging in a sham “investigation” of President Barack Obama—something Graham finally agreed to do (hopefully any Democrats subpoenaed will do exactly what Trump officials did—ignore the subpoenas, the precedent having been set).
But one could see Trump losing his marbles if those sham hearings don’t provide the conspiracy materials, and Graham receiving the brunt of the blame. (Like he always blames others, like China, for his own failures.) And if Trump goes nuclear on Graham, his supporters will as well, including those inside South Carolina. It could create unpredictable dynamics.
But that’s speculation beyond the poll’s current results.
The 52-42 presidential numbers confirm that South Carolina, while looking less red than in 2016 (when Trump won the state 55-41), is still not competitive at the presidential level. It is a Republican state that should deliver Republican victories this November. That is, unless a mass-death event, economic cataclysm, and an unstable, unpredictable president decide to upend things.