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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

President Obama more popular in SC than Gov. Haley while Tea Party influence wanes

More South Carolinians approve of the job being done by President Barack Obama than that of Gov. Nikki Haley.

According to the latest survey of the state in the Winthrop Poll from Winthrop University, 48 percent of the state's residents approve of the president's job performance compared to 41 percent who disapprove. For Haley, while 61 percent of Republicans approve of her job, that number drops to about 38 percent approval among all residents vs. 41 percent who disapprove.

I suspect some of this has to do with the afterglow of a winning national campaign for President Obama and the national headlines generated by the massive security breach, which probably adversely affected Haley's numbers. But for some time now Haley's numbers have not been particularly impressive, given that she's a Republican governor in a red state, governed by a General Assembly that is dominated by her party. The General Assembly gets good approval marks from 38 percent of residents compared to 33 percent who disapprove.

For me, it remains the same: I'm beyond trying to figure out whether some of the decisions Haley has made recently have to do with hyper-partisan politics or genuine beliefs. She has decided to forgo an incredible amount of federal help to improve access to the state's health care system. That means she should be judged, and judged harshly, if things don't improve on that measure in the coming years. She made a big statement by turning down Medicaid expansion dollars and the ability to set up a state exchange through the Affordable Care Act. Fine. That's her right as governor. But if she does not come up with a sensible effective alternative, I don't believe she should be re-elected. For the record, I said before the health reform law was passed that I would not have supported President Obama again. The issue is that critical.

Also, the Tea Party, which was such a big deal in this state early in President Obama's first term, is down to less than 6 percent of residents, a major drop off.

More detailed results from Winthrop:

Among the Winthrop Poll findings:

  • Almost one month to-the-day after Barack Obama won a second term as president, 48% of all South Carolinians polled approved of the job he is doing. The category of respondents who most disapproved of his performance—at 51.9%—were those who reported that they had voted in the presidential election last month.
  • More than three-in-four of all respondents disapproved of the way Congress is doing its job.
  • When you factor in the margin of error, and remove those who either expressed no opinion—or refused to answer whether they approved or disapproved of her job performance—Gov. Nikki Haley garnered roughly even approval/disapproval ratings among all those polled, registered voters, and those who voted in the 2012 presidential election.
  • Gov. Haley garners a much higher approval rating—61.5% vs. 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.
  • Respondents were almost equally divided as to whether they think South Carolina is on the right track (40.2%) compared with those who say it is headed in the wrong direction (41.9%).
  • 38.2% of those polled say Newt Gingrich, who bested Mitt Romney in the S.C. GOP Primary in January, would have posted about the same result as Romney did in the presidential election. Almost 40% say he would have been less successful than Romney.
  • Almost one-half of all respondents say they think that economic conditions in South Carolina are getting better, with over 50% of them rating their personal financial situation as excellent or good.
  • While the U.S. Supreme Court has not tipped its hand this session as to whether it will hear any cases involving same-sex marriages, almost 50% of poll respondents said they felt somewhat—or very—strongly that S.C. law should not be used to decide the divorce cases of gay couples who were legally married in Washington D.C., or one of the nine states that allows it.
  • Among Registered Voters, the number of respondents who said they were not members of the Tea Party was decidedly significant. While 90.8% said they were not, a mere 5.7% said they were.

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