How did Lindsey Graham end up in such a close race?

The polls suggest that at least 45 percent of voters in South Carolina back Harrison, and that’s not an usually high number for a Democrat running in the Palmetto State. Forty-five percent of South Carolinians voted for Barack Obama in 2008, and 44 percent did in 2012.1 In 2018, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in South Carolina received 46 percent of the vote, and the Democratic attorney general candidate 45 percent. Joe Biden seems likely to get at least 45 percent of the state’s vote too.

The reason: The makeup of South Carolina’s electorate is relatively good for Democrats (up to a point). The electorate is about 28 percent Black — a higher percentage than every other state save Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland and Mississippi. (About 28 percent of Alabama’s voters are Black too.) And South Carolina has a higher percentage of white voters with college degrees (27 percent) than all of those states but Maryland (29 percent).2 Put those two groups together and you have the conditions for a sizable Democratic vote.

Also, President Trump is slightly less popular in South Carolina than he was in 2016. His net job approval rating3 in South Carolina was +7 at the start of his term (50 percent approval, 43 disapproval) compared to +2 now (50 percent approval, 48 percent disapproval), according to Civiqs data.

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