• Charleston City Paper

Poll shows Cunningham, McMaster close in governor's race

Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham selected civil litigator and former fighter pilot Tally Parham Casey as his running mate in August.

It’s less than nine weeks to election day and former Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham is close enough to be able to beat incumbent GOP Gov. Henry McMaster in November, according to new internal poll results obtained exclusively today by the Charleston City Paper.

“Incumbent Governor McMaster has less than 50% of the vote and leads by just 7 points against Cunningham (42% Cunningham, 49% McMaster, 4% [Libertarian Morgan Bruce] Reeves),” according to a poll by Impact Research for the Cunningham campaign. “Interestingly, this is a similar margin to the one Cunningham initially faced against Katie Arrington in the 2018 congressional polling.”

But the numbers are closer once those who were polled learned more about Cunningham. When likely voters heard what the pollsters called “balanced positive information about each candidate,” Cunningham narrowed the gap to 3 points,” according to a memo that said the Charleston Democrat was “within striking distance” of McMaster. It added Cunningham led among voters who “know both candidates today.”

The poll, taken Aug. 24 to Aug. 30 among 700 likely 2022 general election voters, had a margin of error of 3.7% at the 95% confidence level. Among Impact Research’s other clients: President Joe Biden.