By FITSNews || Support for S.C. Rep. Nikki Haley has jumped by five percentage points within the last week according to internal polling conducted by the campaign of S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, the current front-runner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
Meanwhile, support for McMaster, S.C. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett has remained flat over the last two weeks, which would seem to indicate that undecided GOP primary voters are breaking Haley’s way.
No matter how you slice it, with less than a month to go the race is still wide open.
First, here are the McMaster campaign’s “tracking” numbers from a week ago (May 3-4):
McMaster – 28 percent
Bauer – 19 percent
Barrett – 19 percent
Haley – 10 percent
Undecided/ Refused – 24 percent
And here are the “tracking” numbers from earlier this week (May 10-11):
McMaster – 29 percent
Bauer – 19 percent
Barrett – 18 percent
Haley – 15 percent
Undecided/ Refused -19 percent
Notice that Haley has absorbed virtually all undecided voters from the previous week, while Barrett – who is at the height of his TV spending spree – is actually losing ground.
In fact, FITS has received details of internal polling conducted this week by the Barrett campaign – polling which reportedly shows Haley jumping ahead of Barrett into sole possession of third place. If that trend continues, she could challenge Bauer for a spot in a GOP gubernatorial runoff against McMaster.
Obviously, the first McMaster poll was conducted prior to a major ad buy (estimated at $400,000) on Haley’s behalf that commenced this week by the group Reform SC, which has ties to supporters of Gov. Mark Sanford.
Both polls also come prior to the news that former GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin has decided to endorse Haley’s candidacy.
UPDATE: A source close to Barrett’s campaign disputes the contention that internal polling shows their candidate in fourth place. They say the latest internal Barrett polling (taken May 10-11) has McMaster at 29 percent, Barrett at 20 percent, Bauer at 17 percent and Haley at 15 percent.