It’s been a disastrous couple of weeks for S.C. Rep. Nikki Haley – a brutal stretch of campaigning that has seen her endorsing tax increases, backtracking on parental choice and badly mishandling the controlled release of a smattering of her legislative emails. On top of that, Haley has been relentlessly hammered by the mainstream media for failing to pay her taxes on time – despite having previously touted her skill as an accountant as one of her qualifications for becoming governor.
Even Haley’s release of an otherwise solid government reform plan this week was marred by another apparent hypocrisy – advocating on behalf of mandatory income disclosure for all elected officials after she failed to disclose income she received from a company with business before the state.
Nonetheless, barring any further foul-ups we see Haley maintaining – and perhaps even expanding on her double-digit lead over Democratic nominee Vincent Sheheen when the next round of gubernatorial polling is released.
How is that possible?
Well, Haley’s multiple train wrecks took place during the dead of summer – when the public’s focus on political campaigning is at its nadir. Accordingly, while Haley’s political enemies are beside themselves with glee over her numerous missteps, it’s doubtful that the average voter was paying much attention.
Also, with every new release of bad economic news at the national level, the Republican party at all levels gets stronger on the generic ballot, meaning that with each passing day a Democratic candidate faces a steeper uphill climb.
Finally, while Sheheen has effectively removed the “transparency” club from Haley’s bag for the duration of the upcoming campaign, he really hasn’t capitalized beyond that. He’s missed out on a series of golden showers … err, opportunities that have fallen in his lap.
Accordingly, we believe that Haley will maintain at least a 10-point lead in any polling that comes out over the next few weeks – and perhaps even expand on her current 14- point lead.
Obviously, that would be down from the 20-point lead she enjoyed at one point in the race, but it’s still a comfortable margin …