If Governor Nikki Haley chooses to run for a second term in 2014, it looks to be an uphill climb. The Winthrop Poll results show that Haley has only a 38 percent approval rating among state citizens and a 40 percent rating among registered voters.
However, Winthrop Poll Director Scott Huffmon says upon closer examination of the poll results — Gov. Haley got roughly even approval/disapproval ratings among all those polled, registered voters, and those who voted in the 2012 presidential election. Huffmon says what cannot be gleaned from the poll is if the governor is trending downward –or–upward.
“Was she a little higher and because of the Department of Revenue scandals and the hacking has dipped a little bit and they’re expecting it to go back up or was this the long-term trend a roughly even split? Because this is this (the poll) is just a snapshot, I can’t tell what the trend over the least three months has been.
Gov. Haley garners a much higher approval rating—61.5 percent versus 19% who disapprove of her job performance—among those who are registered to vote and say they are either Republicans or Independents who lean Republican. Poll results which use all respondents have a margin of error of approximately+/- 3.5 percent.
The latest poll was taken from November 25 to December 2. Huffmon says there is little doubt that the cyber-attack on the Department of Revenue has hurt Haley’s approval numbers. Haley has not announced that she will run for a second term and Huffmon says there is time for Haley to rebound from the hacking issue.
“I would make the argument, if I were a consultant, wait until there is a little more resolution about the hacking of the Department of revenue; or wait until that issue is no longer in the forefront of people’s minds. I think she will then have a stronger place to leap off from.”
Huffmon says working in Haley’s favor is her persona of being aggressive on job creation by working to develop a favorable economic environment for attracting new industry. Huffmon says Haley has made sure that she is front and center when new industry and industry expansions are announced.
“Every single time a new job is created, whether it’s three jobs..30 jobs or 300 jobs, there is a press conference and it is in the local the local news. That steady diet of positive news has certainly; probably help her a little in the approval ratings. it has also made people feel a little less uncertain about the South Carolina economy.”