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Four months after a Winthrop University poll showed S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley with an abysmal 34.6 percent approval rating, the Palmetto State’s scandal-scarred chief executive continues to earn poor marks from voters.

According to the results of the latest Winthrop poll – released Tuesday – Haley has a 37.3 percent approval rating among all South Carolinians. Meanwhile 36.5 percent disapprove of her job performance. Among registered voters, Haley’s approval rating edges up to 37.8 percent, while the percentage of those who disapprove climbs by two full points to 38.5 percent.

“They call that top heavy in the polling business,” one veteran South Carolina pollster said in responding to the new numbers.

“Top heavy is when your negatives are higher than your positives – and what happens to stuff that’s top heavy? It falls,” the pollster added. “It isn’t so bad that she couldn’t pivot and turn things around, but to this point I haven’t seen an ability on her part to do that.”

The lack of yeast in Haley’s numbers is particularly noteworthy given South Carolinians’ markedly improving views on their state’s economy – something that usually translates into support for the leaders presiding over those conditions.

Almost 48 percent of respondents said the condition of South Carolina’s economy was “very good” or “fairly good” compared to 38 percent just two months ago. Meanwhile nearly 59 percent of respondents said the state’s economy was “getting better” compared to 49 percent in February.

A rising tide doesn’t life all boats, apparently.

More problematic for Haley? Her ongoing dearth of popular support means it is more likely that legislative leaders will pursue impeachment against her in the event that a rumored House Ethics Committee investigation confirms that there is some truth to the serious charges that have been made against her.

This edition of the Winthrop poll surveyed 981 South Carolina adults between April 15-22. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.13 percent.

Haley ripped the last Winthrop poll, accusing it of bias and inaccuracy. As is its custom, her office refused to respond to our request for comment regarding this survey.

One veteran GOP politico told FITS that while the Winthrop poll may marginally understate Haley’s true level of support, her real problem is the lack of motion between the school’s December survey and this week’s offering.

“She’s not moving the deal,” the politico told us, noting that Haley’s modest approval uptick falls within the poll’s margin of error.

APRIL 2012 WINTHROP POLL

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