-Voters in South Carolina continue to be closely divided in their feelings about Nikki Haley, with 41% approving and 43% disapproving of her. She's proving to have limited appeal to Democrats (an 18/71 spread), and independents split against her as well by a 35/43 margin. She retains pretty strong support from Republicans though at a 62/20 spread so certainly her support would be helpful if she decided to endorse a GOP Presidential candidate.
Although Haley might not be very popular, voters in the state don't regret having cast their ballots for her last year. If they could do it over again 49% say they'd support Haley to 43% who would go with her Democratic opponent Vincent Sheheen. Those numbers are pretty similar to the actual outcome last year. In that sense Haley's doing a lot better than many of her first term Republican colleagues in the country who voters already wish that they could push out of office.
-Lindsey Graham has seemingly tried to act more like a Republican recently and his poll numbers are reflecting that. With GOP voters he's at a 53/32 approval spread, better than we've seen for him in a good while. And with Democrats he's at a 25/50 breakdown, worse than we've seen for him in a good while. Overall Graham's at 41/39. These numbers have to be seen as good news for him. Even if his Democratic support isn't what it has been in the past it' s still enough that he should never have to worry about losing a general election. That means the primary is his problem and his improving numbers with the base are good news on that front.
-That said, Jim DeMint easily remains South Carolina's more popular Senator at a 47/32 approval rating. His numbers aren't as good as Graham's with either Democrats or independents, but his 73/12 standing with Republicans is far superior and in a state where the plurality of voters do identify with the GOP that's good enough to give him top honors.
-In addition to asking about the state's current Senators and Governor, we also asked voters how they felt about everyone else who has held those offices in the state over the last 25 years. Late Governor Carroll Campbell is the most popular of the former politicians with a +26 favorability spread at 45/19. Republicans (58/8) are nearly unanimous in their positive reviews of him and he breaks even with Democrats at 31/31. Also falling into the pretty popular category is the late Senator Strom Thurmond. 46% of voters hold a favorable opinion of him retrospectively to 29% with a negative one.
Voters have mixed feelings about another pair of past politicians- 33% have a favorable opinion of long time Senator Fritz Hollings to 31% with an unfavorable one. He probably got out at the right time. It would have been difficult for him to win another term if that's where his favorability numbers are. Former Governor David Beasley, who was defeated for reelection in 1998 and lost a Senate runoff in 2004, also pretty much breaks even with 30% of voters seeing him positively and 29% negatively.
Then there are the unpopular politicians. Former Democratic Governor Jim Hodges, defeated for reelection in 2002, only has a 24% favorability rating with 32% seeing him negatively. And taking the cake for unpopularity, no surprise, is former Governor Mark Sanford. Just 28% of voters rate him favorably to 58% who view him unfavorably, and he's on negative ground even with Republicans at 39/42.
Full results here