The latest Rasmussen poll shows South Carolina Republican State Representative Nikki Haley “has expanded her lead — to 16 percentage points from 14 percentage points” over the Democratic nominee State Senator Vincent Sheheen.
Haley recorded 52 percent support from the telephone survey of 500 likely voters conducted Aug. 25, while Sheheen recorded 36 percent. One in ten voters remained undecided, while 3 percent support another candidate.
Haley has the support of 86 percent of Republicans while Sheheen had the support of 72 percent of Democrats. Haley won independents by a 13 percentage point margin.
Haley is also seen as a more favorable candidate than Sheheen. Thirty percent of those surveyed have a very favorable view of Haley, while 13 percent view her very unfavorably. Sheheen was viewed very favorably by 18 percent of voters while 11 percent viewed him very unfavorably.
The Haley people must be looking at this as a “glass half empty” poll.
With tremendously higher name recognition (thanks to the national media, including South Carolina favorite Fox News, a Newsweek cover and, of course, Sarah Palin), one would think that Haley’s numbers would be higher. Although Sheheen really isn’t close, 52% for Haley seems very pale.
The “double-digit lead” should be more like a 20+% margin rather than a pretty anemic 16% in one of the reddest of the red states. After all, she’s a “star,” she’s “the future of southern politics” and she’s “the Sarah Palin of the lower 48.” Only 52%?
The “favorable” numbers aren’t as important as the “unfavorable.” Both candidates are in good shape here, but Haley needs more people to associate Sheheen with national Democrats and kick that number up into the 30-40% range.
The Dems are gonna target Nikki Haley in the next two months and they’ll have help from establishment state GOP luminaries who are ticked off at her success and/or fear her in the Governor’s Office. A 16 point lead will evaporate in a hurry once state and national Democrat money pours into the state. With that cash will come microscopic scrutiny on Haley’s personal income tax foibles and higher visibility for Vincent Sheheen.
Haley losing the governorship to Sheheen in November is more unlikely and would be a greater upset than her winning the nomination in June. I don’t expect that to happen, but at this point in the campaign, I just wonder why she isn’t doing better.