COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolinians are now almost evenly divided on how they believe Governor Nikki Haley is handling her job, according to a new Winthrop Poll released Wednesday.
The poll of 929 respondents reported 40 percent of registered voters approve of the way Nikki Haley is handling her job as governor. 42.4 percent disapproved. The margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent suggests residents of the state are evenly divided on her performance. Among Republicans and Independents who are registered voters and lean Republican, her approval rating is almost 62 percent with only 19 percent disapproving.
Those findings show a slight improvement in Haley's approval rating a year ago. In the December 2011 Winthrop poll, 34.6 percent of SC voters approved of the job Haley was doing and 43 percent disapproved.
Haley's spokesperson said the most notable portion of the poll dealt not with the governor's approval rating, but with the state's economy.
“We’re in governing mode, not political mode," wrote Rob Godfrey in an email. "The most notable thing in the poll was that South Carolinians are starting to feel better about the local economy and the direction of our state. That’s good news, and it’s well-deserved, because we’re coming out of the recession very strongly. Our focus is on keeping that trend going, with more economic development, more jobs, and more government reform.”
Almost a half of all respondents say they think that economic conditions in South Carolina are getting better, with over 50 percent of them rating their personal financial situation as excellent or good, according to the poll.
Meanwhile, support for the Tea Party movement is weakening, according to polling trends.
Among registered voters, the number of respondents who said they were not members of the Tea Party was decidedly significant. While 90.8 percent said they were not, a mere 5.7 percent said they were. In the December, 2011 poll, 83% said they were not members of the Tea Party. That number was 64 percent in April, 2011.
When asked if they approved of the Tea Party movement, 28.8 percent approved, 34.3 percent disapproved and 33 percent were not familiar.
The poll was taken between November 25 - December 2.Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.