Sen. Lindsey Graham is running laps around GOP competitors in the South Carolina primary race, but does not have enough support to avoid a two-person runoff race, according to a new survey.
The Winthrop Poll of 901 likely Republican primary voters found that 45 percent said they supported Mr. Graham’s re-election effort, putting him close to the 50 percent threshold he would need to win the June 10 primary and avoid a runoff two weeks later.
Mr. Graham’s closest competitor is state Sen. Lee Bright at 8.5 percent, followed by Nancy Mace, the first female graduate of The Citadel, at 3.7 percent and U.S. Army veteran Bill Connor at 3.5 percent.
Scott Huffman, the poll director, said that Mr. Graham is not in “real trouble” because there is a big pool of undecided voters and it is probably safe to assume that some of them could swing into his camp before the primary and push him past the 50 percent threshold.
Some tea partyers and conservatives have long held that Mr. Graham is a RINO, or “Republican in Name Only,” and called for him to be replaced.
Mr. Graham garners about a third of the support from those in South Carolina Republicans who say they approve of the tea party.
Mr. Graham has a 59 percent favorability rating.
The poll showed that 73 percent of likely Republican voters are OK with interracial marriage and 22 percent said adults smoking marijuana is acceptable.
More than six in ten have a negative view of President Obama, and close to four in ten voters have a positive view of House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican.
Nearly seven in ten voters give Sen. Tim Scott, South Carolina Republican, a glowing review.