A poll conducted by Harper Polling released today shows US Senator Lindsey Graham remains vulnerable and within the margin of error of being forced into a head-to-head runoff against a conservative challenger in the 2014 South Carolina Republican primary for re-election. Meanwhile, among those vying to replace Graham, South Carolina State Senator Lee Bright has broken away as the main challenger with more support than all others taking on Graham combined.
Among the 27% of South Carolina Republicans who have already made up their minds to vote for someone besides Lindsey Graham, 56% support Bright. Richard Cash, Bill Connor, and Nancy Mace trail far behind at 15% each.
If Graham fails to get at least 50% of the vote in the June 10, 2014 primary, even if he is first in raw vote totals, Graham will face the second place opponent two weeks later on June 14, which at this point would likely be Lee Bright.
A separate poll by Winthrop University also released Wednesday puts Lindsey Graham’s support among Republicans at 45.2% making it uncertain that Graham could win nomination for re-election without a runoff while the Harper Poll puts Graham’s support at 51%.
The race bears a resemblance to the 2012 US Senate race in Texas where David Dewhurst lead polling throughout the primary but candidate Ted Cruz was able to force him into a runoff and ultimately defeat Dewhurst.
Harper Polling polled 676 likely Republican and independent voters in South Carolina. 70% identified with the Republican Party while 30% did not, but all planned to vote in the Republican primary. The margin of error was +/- 3.8%.