Poll: Haley takes the lead in GOP gubernatorial primary

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Fresh off from her endorsement by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former first lady Jenny Sanford, state Rep. Nikki Haley has taken the lead in the race to be the Republican nominee for governor according to pollster Rasmussen.

In poll results released Thursday, Haley leads with 30 percent of support followed by Attorney General Henry McMaster with 19 percent, Congressman Gresham Barrett with 17 percent, and Lt.  Gov. Andre Bauer with 12 percent.

The poll is a significant flip from March, where it showed McMaster in the lead with 21 percent of support from Republican voters and Haley in fourth place with just 12 percent.

Rasmussen points to Palin's visit to the state to endorse Haley back on May 14 as the likely cause for her increase in support.

"She is a fighter and she's a winner and some of the good old boys, well, maybe they don't like her too much, it's because she stands up for what is right and she has that stiff spine and she's doing it for you, South Carolina," said Palin in her endorsement speech.

Haley's campaign also got a shot in the arm due largely in part to a group with known ties to Gov. Mark Sanford, ReformSC, paying $400,000 to air an ad featuring her addressing a tea party crowd at the State House in April.

The ad also became the subject of a temporary restraining order filed by Barrett's campaign. Judge James M. Hayes said the Barrett campaign's complaint showed "a coordinated scheme" by ReformSC "intentionally designed to unlawfully evade accountability measures required by South Carolina law."

[Read the full restraining order]

The order issued Wednesday tells ReformSC to stop airing the ads until a hearing can be held in the next 10 days.

Meanwhile, the poll also indicates 3 percent of Republican voters support some other candidate and 18 percent remain undecided.

Rasmussen's poll for the Democrats will be released on Friday.

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