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S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley enjoys a 57.5 percent approval rating among general election voters and a 74 percent approval rating among Republican voters, according to polling data released on Tuesday by her Maryland-based political consultant.

Meanwhile only 22 percent of general election voters (and 11 percent of Republican voters) disapprove of Haley, her pollster says.

Those numbers obviously differ dramatically from the results of a Democratic poll released in February. In that survey – conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP) of Raleigh, N.C. – Haley had a 36 percent approval rating among all voters. Meanwhile 24 percent of voters disapproved of her performance and 40 percent hadn’t made up their minds.

Is it possible that Haley has seen a 21.5 percent jump in her approval rating over the course of the last four months?

Sure it’s possible, but given the internally rocky – and externally uneventful – first five months of her administration, we doubt it. Elected with 51.3 percent of the vote last November, our guess is that Haley’s approval rating remains somewhere in that vicinity.

The Haley polling data was released at a critical juncture in her first legislative term – which has been remarkably unproductive in spite of the low bar Haley has set for herself.

The 39-year-old governor has just one major legislative victory to her credit – a government transparency bill – while both the lawsuit reform and government restructuring bills that she is currently pushing are watered down versions of the reforms our state needs.

Making matters even more complicated, lawmakers are about to present Haley with the largest budget in state history – a $22.1 billion spending plan that lawmakers expect her to approve with only minor changes.

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