Nikki Haley is one of the most unpopular Governors in the country. Only 42% of voters approve of the job she's doing to 49% who disapprove. Out of 43 sitting Governors PPP has polled on, that ranks her 35th in popularity.
Haley has pretty solid numbers within her own party. 70% of Republicans approve of the job she's doing to 22% who disapprove. But with Democrats (15/78 approval) and independents (28/57) her numbers are pretty woeful.
There is a path back to popularity for Haley though: appointing Stephen Colbert to replace Jim DeMint in the Senate. Colbert tops the wish list of who South Carolina voters would like to see join that body at 20%, followed by Tim Scott at 15%, Trey Gowdy at 14%, Jenny Sanford at 11%, Henry McMaster and Mark Sanford at 8%, Jeff Duncan and Joe Wilson at 5%, and Mick Mulvaney at 4%.
It's Democrats and independents- those voters Haley most needs to improve her standing with- who are pining for a Colbert appointment. Among Democrats 32% say they'd like Colbert to be picked with Jenny Sanford at 19% and no one else in double digits. With crucial independent voters Colbert has a 15 point lead for the appointment, getting 28% to 13% for Tim Scott, 12% for Jenny Sanford, and 10% for Trey Gowdy with no one else in double digits.
If Colbert's lacking knowledge of the state beverage keeps him from Haley's consideration, voters say their top choice is Jenny Sanford at 17%, followed by Tim Scott at 16%, Henry McMaster at 13%, Trey Gowdy at 12%, Mark Sanford at 9%, Joe Wilson at 7%, Jeff Duncan at 6%, and Mick Mulvaney at 5%. Sanford becomes the first choice of both Democrats and independents without Colbert in the mix and is particularly strong with women, 24% of whom think she should receive the appointment.
If you further filter the field and take the Sanfords out of the potential appointment list three men really stand out from the field: Tim Scott at 19%, Henry McMaster at 17%, and Trey Gowdy at 15%. The other three Congressmen we tested end up well back- Joe Wilson at 8%, Mick Mulvaney at 7%, and Jeff Duncan at 6%.
In all three permutations of the field we tested Tim Scott comes out as the top choice among Republicans. It's 22/21 over Gowdy with Mark Sanford at 11% when Colbert and both the Sanfords are included. It's 23/19 over Gowdy with McMaster and M. Sanford both at 11% when Colbert's taken out. And it's 25/21 over Gowdy with McMaster at 15%, Wilson at 12%, and Mulvaney at 11% when the Sanfords are taken out.
Others notes from this poll:
-Jenny Sanford, on the other hand, really could probably get elected to office if she wanted to. 44% of voters have a favorable opinion of her to only 25% with a negative one and her popularity holds true across party lines. She's at 48/21 with Republicans, 43/31 with Democrats, and 39/26 with independents.
-Colbert has a 30/32 favorability rating. Democrats (44/25) and independents (38/23) like him quite a bit, but Republicans (14/43) do not.
Full results here