U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham's popularity among likely Republican primary voters is 60 percent, and 53 percent say they would vote for him, according to a January poll paid for by Graham's campaign.
The poll, conducted by North Star Opinion Research, surveyed 600 likely Republican primary voters between Jan. 20-26.
Graham's poll was released to The Buzz after a poll state Sen. Bright's campaign released Thursday showed Graham's competitors holding him to under 50 percent in a five-way contest.
Graham's campaign did not comment for this story.
Live interviewers conducted the survey in the evenings, targeting cell phones for 30 percent of the interviews. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent, said Whit Ayres, the firm's president.
According to the poll, 60 percent of respondents said Graham has been doing a good job, compared to 37 who disapprove.
State Rep. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, Easley businessman Richard Cash, Orangeburg attorney Bill Connor, and Charleston PR executive Nancy Mace also are challenging Graham in June's GOP primary.
On a five-candidate ticket, the poll says Graham would win more than 50 percent of the vote, avoiding a two-week runoff when a competitor might be able to beat him.
While 23 percent of respondents said they were undecided, 11 percent said they would vote for Bright, 8 percent for Mace, 3 percent for Cash and Connor each.
In two-way match-ups, Graham leads Bright 57 to 27 percent, leads Mace 59 to 26 percent, leads Cash 58 to 26 percent, and leads Connor 59 to 25 percent, according to the poll.
The poll also broke down responses to Graham's job performance into subgroups:• 68 percent of "strong Republicans" approve, 30 percent disapprove • 60 percent of evangelical Christians approve, 37 percent disapprove
• 61 percent of daily FOX News watchers approve, 36 percent disapprove
Regionally, Graham's approval is over 60 percent in the Lowcountry and Midlands, and is 57 percent in the Upstate, where 40 percent of respondents said they disapproved of his performance, the poll says.
Ayres, the polling firm's president, has conducted polls for more than 30 years. His clients include U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale; U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
Past clients include South Carolina governors Carroll Campbell and David Beasley, former U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond and U.S. Rep. Floyd Spence.