Is my current clearance safe if I am denied a higher clearance?

I’ve been weighing opportunities to move into an IC contractor role but it’s probably not a shock that I’m concerned about the polygraph. I currently hold a secret clearance in another part of the government and don’t want to risk my hirability at that level. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories of people who cannot get into the IC simply because they can’t pass the polygraph despite being completely honest. And yes, who knows if they’re actually being honest, but you get the point. If I were to fail the polygraph or other part of the investigation, what kind of bearing would that have on my current clearance with a different agency or how likely is there to be an impact?

Failing the polygraph has the potential to lead to revocation of your current clearance, especially if the polygraph operator opines that you used polygraph countermeasures. Note that not using countermeasures does not seem to reduce the risk of being so accused.

Often times, if an applicant already has a clearance and they fail a polygraph for a higher clearance, they’ll be issued a suitability denial.

A suitability denial is not a clearance denial and would not have to be reported.

If it ends up being a clearance denial, that does need to be reported and could put the current clearance at risk.