Primary challengers to South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham have yet to gain any traction in their bids to oust the Republican Senator.
A Winthrop Poll of likely Republican primary voters found Graham getting 45 percent of the vote in a primary match up; no primary challenger got more than nine percent. State Senator Lee Bright was the most successful of the challengers, getting 8.5 percent. Businesswoman Nancy Mace gets 3.7 percent, lawyer Bill Connor polls at 3.5 percent, and businessman Richard Cash is at 2.9 percent. 34.9 percent of voters remain undecided.
Graham’s challengers also likely lack name identification statewide, Huffmon posits, though the poll did not survey each name individually to provide any data for that.
A potential source for votes for Graham’s primary challengers come from voters who say they approve of the tea party. Among the 57.4 percent of respondents who said they do, Graham is still the dominant choice, but he receives a much smaller share of the vote, just 33.9 percent. 39.4 percent of this group are undecided. Bright seems to be the candidate poised to benefit most from people who approve of the tea party: among this group, 13.7 say he would be their top choice in a primary.
Graham needs to get 50 percent of the vote in the primary to avoid a runoff, which poll director Scott Huffmon noted seems doable, assuming he picks up at least some of the undecided voters. But, Huffmon noted, that also means the race is not an entirely safe bet for Graham.
The poll surveyed 901 likely Republican primary voters using live voice calls from Feb. 16 to 23. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.