S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s poll numbers remain weak, but the results of a new Winthrop University poll show her position stabilizing.
The first-term “Republican” – who registered a dismal 34.6 percent approval rating back in December 2011 – has seen that number climb by nearly 10 points over the last sixteen months. Haley’s job approval is now 43.5 percent – up one point from February – while 36.6 percent say they disapprove of her performance (down from 38.4 two months ago).
Meanwhile 69 percent of Republicans in the Palmetto State approve of Haley’s performance, compared to only 15.4 percent who disapprove. In December 2011, Haley’s approval rating among GOP voters was an abysmal 52.5 percent.
Haley’s approval rating in her home state is now identical to that of U.S. President Barack Obama (although 46.5 percent of South Carolinians disapprove of Obama’s performance – a much higher level of disdain).
What do these results mean for Haley? Well, she’s gone several months without a major miscue … which these numbers reflect. However, she remains an exceedingly “iffy” bet for reelection – particularly if a third party candidate enters the 2014 race on the “Republican” side.
Haley’s two biggest problems? Her past missteps and the increasingly gloomy prognosis for the national economy.
Expect the governor’s well-funded political opponents to open their saddlebags in an effort to remind voters of her high-profile scandals – most notably the “Savannah River Sellout” and the #SCHacked debacle.
Also with South Carolina’s labor participation rate at a record low – expect any further slippage on the employment front to fall squarely on the shoulders of this self-proclaimed “Jobs Governor.”
For those of you keeping score at home, the Winthrop poll surveyed 1,069 South Carolina adults from April 6-14. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.