Less than a week before Tuesday’s state primary, the first Clemson University Palmetto Poll of 2014 shows positive news for incumbents.
The survey of 400 frequent Republican voters and 400 Democratic voters indicates that the discontent among ultra-conservatives for incumbent U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham has not dented his reelection campaign.
Graham is the favorite in this poll, with 49 percent of GOP voters and Graham’s six GOP challengers are either at single digits or at zero. At the same time, 35 percent of GOP voters were undecided.
“The collective discontent with Lindsey Graham, and there is some out there, has not coalesced around any one candidate and no one challenger has gotten enough traction, ” said Clemson University Political Science professor Dave Woodard at the release of the study.
State Sen. Lee Bright got nine percent support, followed by Powdersville businessman Richard Cash at three percent, Charleston communications specialist Nancy Mace had two percent, while Columbia pastor Det Bowers and Orangeburg attorney Bill Connor each had one percent, and Benjamin Dunn polled at zero.
In Woodard’s analysis, Graham’s positive shift in the polls shows he has strengthened his base over the past few months.
On the question of re-electing Graham, regardless of opponent, the most recent poll jumped 15 points to 46 percent.
“He’s very close to having the 50 percent he needs,” Woodard said.
On the Democratic side, 74 percent of voters are undecided on who should challenge Graham. Eight percent backed State Sen. Brad Hutto, Columbia Jay Stamper got three percent.
Sen. Tim Scott, lesser known but safe
Woodard says the poll shows that 21 percent of GOP voters still do not know much about U.S. Sen. Tim Scott. He was appointed by Governor Haley to fill the term of Jim DeMint and Woodard says the primary gives Scott a chance to strengthen his name recognition.
“He is certainly doing very well”, says Woodard. “His negatives in other polls we’ve run … are in single digits and seems to be very popular, but he hasn’t been there very long. Now I think if he does well in this primary and then goes on and does well in the fall now that’s a big story for a Deep South state to have an African American Republican senator.
Sixty-two percent of Democratic voters are undecided on who should challenge Scott in November. In the poll, 11 percent picked Joyce Dickerson, Sidney Moore received seven percent, and Harry Pavilack received three percent.
Frequent Republican voters were polled May 22 to May 29. Frequent Democratic voters were polled May 26 to June 2. The results have a plus or minus margin of error of six percent.