DGA Poll: Sheheen V. Haley A “Dead Heat”

A poll conducted on behalf of the Democratic Governors Association shows incumbent “Republican” Nikki Haley remains vulnerable in a 2014 general election race against Democrat Vincent Sheheen. According to the survey – conducted last week by Clarity Campaign Labs – Haley leads Sheheen 44-40 percent with 16 percent of the…

nikki haley, vincent sheheen debate, south carolina governor

A poll conducted on behalf of the Democratic Governors Association shows incumbent “Republican” Nikki Haley remains vulnerable in a 2014 general election race against Democrat Vincent Sheheen.

According to the survey – conducted last week by Clarity Campaign Labs – Haley leads Sheheen 44-40 percent with 16 percent of the electorate undecided.

“Governor Haley’s approval ratings are tepid,” the pollsters note in a memo obtained by FITS. “Her favorable rating in the state is 40 percent and her unfavorable rating is 35 percent.”

Haley’s troubles extend to the staunchly conservative Upstate region – where her approval rating is only 46 percent. She is also struggling among independent voters – who prefer Sheheen by a 44-30 percent margin.

“The undecided vote is fertile ground for Sheheen, particularly given that undecideds typically break toward the challenger,” the pollsters note. “With Haley so significantly below 50 percent on the head-to-head ballot and suffering from persistently low approval ratings, even in Republican strongholds, the sitting governor is deeply vulnerable in 2014.”

Well … assuming Sheheen is able to offer an alternative (something he has thus far failed to do).

So far both candidates have embraced government growth, crony capitalism, expanded dependency, status quo education policies and watered-down, inadequate structural reforms.

The only real difference between them? Haley has $3 million in the bank compared to Sheheen’s $1 million – a campaign cash advantage which should enable her to make up some of the ground she’s lost among independent voters. Also, expect national “Republicans” – eager to showcase female, minority candidates on the national stage – to spend big on Haley.

Haley enjoyed a 21-point lead over Sheheen heading into the 2010 general election – but managed to win by just 4 percent in one of the most heavily “Republican” years on record.


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Smirks October 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Sheheen won’t beat Haley. The fact that she leads him in the poll speaks volumes. Our only salvation lies in her defeat in the primary.

Or, in other words: We’re boned.

ouch October 22, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Or maybe we can go for the trifecta; negro Democrat president, mayor, AND governor.

vicupstate October 22, 2013 at 11:08 pm

It does speak volumes… to her weakness. No one thought Beasley would lose either, until just before he did.

Mike at the Beach October 22, 2013 at 11:36 pm

I don’t know where you were, friend, but those of us on the campaign trail for Beasley were pretty freaking worried once we saw the internal polls start to turn (and the daily bag of confederate flag mail)…

Mike at the Beach October 22, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Similar (in certain ways) to the Lindsey Graham situation. Not a great showing in the poll, certainly, but doesn’t appear fatal. The fact that she’s within striking distance of 50% after all of the madness we’ve seen over the past term says it all. She’ll outspend ol’ Vinny, everyone will show up and punch the “R,” and that will be that. Unless, of course, she gets whacked out of the blue in the primary.

What about October 22, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Would need more than the top lines for me to actually give this poll credibility. It was done for public consumption by a partisan group (it was “leaked”). It was a poll of registered voters – which we know you get a better picture when using likely voters.

Also not known: the racial breakdown, weighting by region and reliability of the automated survey. Many right-leaning voters who identify as independents may voice displeasure with Haley now, but will come “home” on Election Day.

That’s not to say, Haley doesn’t have anything to worry about – it’s just that polling has become an exercise in manipulation as much as it is gauging a campaign.

EJB October 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Ok, so with the margin of error being ±3.5% one of the permutations could be Haley ahead by 11 points or Sheheen ahead by 3 points and others of course anywhere in between. Twice as many people don’t have an opinion of Sheheen as do Haley so the ones that do have an opinion could likely be supporters and as more people learn about him they start puking and vote for Haley. There are no potential opponents in the Democrat party (that I have heard of) for Sheheen to fight so nothing dilutes his numbers in this, or any other poll. There are rumblings within the Republican party of opponents against Haley and that might water down her results in this poll. None of these polls this far out mean anything at all. The polls that come closest to mattering would be about 30 days before the primary. Then just like with Sanford in SC1, after the primary is settled everyone falls in behind the candidates and the real fight is on.

RHood2 October 22, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Sheheen has offered a clear alternative. He’s not Nikki.

Duke October 22, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Amen! I an a conservative who usually votes Republican, voted for Haley one time and once is enough. My friends, at the Capitol, tell me Sheheen is a great guy, smart and is middle of the road who leans mostly conservative, that works for me.
Haley is a disaster, a liar and a fraud. Four more years of her will be as bad as four more of Obama and we can’t take anymore.

Scooter October 22, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Haley has done a pretty good job considering the economy. A big improvement over the previous one. Sheehan will get drubbed.

Edgar October 23, 2013 at 8:41 am

Vinny is a puppet for the Democratic Party elite in South Carolina. Absolutely has no resolve to provide any of his own leadership. He’s just a do-boy.

Who you going to vote for, ‘Vinny? Toal? That will tell you who pulls his strings.

Bob October 22, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Can I vote for Option C??????????????? Guessing unfortunately that option won’t become available.

Give the two options, give me Sheheen. Anything is better then a tea party idiot.

vicupstate October 22, 2013 at 11:05 pm

The standard rule of thumb is that any incumbent polling less than 50% is in trouble or at least vulnerable. The further below the 50% mark, the more dire. If the poll is legit, 44% is pretty damn weak for a universally-known incumbent of the heavily-majority party.
The DGA will have to put it’s money where it’s mouth is, but Haley is no shoo-in, by any means.

If she came from 4th place to win the nomination 4 years ago, whats to say that can’t happen again?

Walter-White October 23, 2013 at 9:22 am

So Will, ahh, when do you start the 657 threads about not endorsing Nim, which in reality will be your endorsement of Nim.

Lilly Collette October 23, 2013 at 10:33 am

I shall vote a straight democratic ticket.

Doris October 23, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Welcome back, Lilly.

Lilly Collette October 24, 2013 at 4:15 am

Remains to be seen how welcome I may end up being when I make it crystal clear that I hate that Nikki bitch.

Slartibartfast October 23, 2013 at 12:45 pm

A “dead heat?” Well, yes, I suppose if you do count all the dead voters in Orangeburg, Columbia, and Charleston, a “dead” heat is probably what it is..

The Unknown Comic October 23, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Can’t this be re-titled to say, “Bitch in heat!” ?

CharlesDikkens October 23, 2013 at 3:30 pm

As bad as Haley has been, Vinny would be worse. I’ll take an incompetent pseudo conservative RINO over a liberal fox in moderate sheep’s clothing any day. Its not so much Vinny as the hordes of pent up Democrats who have been pushed away from the Government teat since Jim Hodges suckled there. It will be open season on the spoils if a D gets in. If you don’t believe it, take a look at City and County government where Dems are already in charge. It would be much worse.

Strom McCallum October 26, 2013 at 3:06 am

I am open to the idea of, but not settled on, backing you for governor in 2014.

I am a politically centrist Democrat. I find much of your platform agreeable, but I still have a few questions.

What is your stance on the I-526 extension issue?

What efforts do you plan on making to improve our state’s animal welfare standards?

Would you be open to the idea of introducing a flat, progressive income tax? On your campaign’s website you imply there is a need for South Carolina to introduce higher rates for the state’s income tax brackets. I suggest there is a much more simple solution. Eliminate the state sales tax that disproportionately affects low-income South Carolinians, eliminate state property taxes that hurt low income, land owning native South Carolinians, eliminate the corporate income tax that creates red tape for in-state businesses, eliminate tax credits and deductions that complicate the system, and adopt a 12-15% tax on all individual income over $30,000 as the state’s only major revenue source. This arrangement would simplify the needlessly complex tax code and reduce the tax burden for the majority of South Carolinians, while ensuring that state revenues would not plummet.

Your opposition to the current property tax system gives me optimism on your willingness to stand up against the displacement of native South Carolinians and our cultures. High property tax rates drive low income, land-owning South Carolinians off the land their ancestors have occupied for centuries- making way for suburban development, urban sprawl (which leads to an increase in the consumption of fossil fuels), the destruction of farmland, and the displacement of our cultures by non-natives.

How do you plan to address the illegal immigration issue? Illegal immigrants compete with South Carolinians for jobs, driving up our unemployment rates.

What do you plan to do to improve our state’s education standards? As of now, South Carolina has one of the worst education records in the country. Would you also work to ensure our state’s schools do not discriminate against our native dialects, and support the idea of allowing Gullah to be taught as a language in areas it is natively spoken (and currently endangered)?

For that matter, would you look to see that our state’s media outlets do not discriminate against the speaking of our native dialects on the airwaves?

Would you meet with our state’s federal delegation and stress the need to overturn the free trade agreements the United States has committed its self to? Free trade agreements have allowed thousands of South Carolinian manufacturing jobs- namely those in the textile industry- to go offshore. Illegal immigration and free trade are easily the two biggest contributors to South Carolina’s unacceptably high unemployment rate.

Nikki Haley is an unpopular incumbent. Her policies haven’t come close to meeting our state’s needs. The population knows this. I feel there is a uniquely ripe opportunity to make a stand for moderate values- rejecting the extremes of the right and the left-, reverse the trends displacing South Carolina’s native cultures, and greatly improve the economic and educational standards of our state.

-Strom McCallum

The Carolus Blog

Follow me @StromMcCallum on Twitter.


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