There’s good reason to think this is just a one-off outlier compiled by Quinnipiac, with the next data from South Carolina destined to show Trump leading more comfortably there. In the last poll published before this one, from CBS/YouGov, he led Biden by 10. In the last poll before that, which was also published by Quinnipiac, he led by six. And while it’s not great that he went from six points up to one point up in surveys conducted by the same pollster just two weeks apart, Quinnipiac notes that that shift isn’t statistically significant. It could be — and probably is — that Trump’s still en route to winning the state somewhat easily.
But there are also reasons to doubt. Whether he’s up one point or six points, his current lead represents a dramatic shift towards the Democrat this year. In 2016 Trump won South Carolina by 14. If he’s ahead by six now, that would jibe with a general shift of seven or eight points towards Biden across the map, which we’re also seeing in swing states like Ohio and Iowa. Meanwhile, the fact that Lindsey Graham is tied with Democrat Jaime Harrison at 48 apiece here suggests that it’s *not* an outlier. The two were also tied in the last two Quinnipiac polls of SC and Graham led by a single point in the CBS/YouGov poll of the state. There’s every reason to believe that race is tight. If today’s Trump vs. Biden result is the product of a screwy sample, why isn’t that sample also producing a screwy result in the Graham vs. Harrison match-up?
When asked which party they want to control the Senate, South Carolinians say the GOP, 49/44. That’s the strongest evidence in the poll that Graham will end up holding this seat. But he’s not well liked relative to Harrison, and independents favor the Democrat by 15 points (54/39). That’s what’s keeping Harrison neck-and-neck.