Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nikki Haley gets awful job approval numbers (again)

According to a new Winthrop University poll, SC Gov. Nikki Haley's job approval rating in her state sits at an anemic 38%/41% for -3%.

In other words, Haley's approval rating is running 17% behind the 55% that Mitt Romney -- that great son of the South -- scored in the state in November.

Even less impressive, her job approval with Republicans sits at just 61.5%

And in the greatest indignity for Haley of all, Barack Obama's approval rating in the state is 48%-41%, which is a net 10% higher than Haley's, and in a state Obama lost by 10%.

There are plenty of other ways to say the same thing, but I don't want to presume myself to be The Black Eyed Peas.

But the point is -- Haley's approval numbers are awful, and unless they rebound significantly, she's toast as a 2016 candidate.

So why are things going poorly for her?

1. She's made a lot of enemies in the state (many times, for the right reasons; sometimes, not so much), and when legislators from your own party are sniping at you, you tend to get isolated and precious little goes right.

2. Residents are increasingly worried about the state's direction, and although the unemployment rate has been falling, it's still higher than the national average.

But Haley deserves some blame here. Things aren't exactly rose in New Jersey, for example, but Chris Christie has been unusually good at selling the "Jersey Comeback."

Haley doesn't seem to have that gift, and that speaks poorly for her political future.

3. The state is in the midst of a giant hacking scandal with blame still being apportioned and dust still flying. Call this Hurricane Hacking.

Haley's been responsive, canceling national gigs to focus on managing the crisis, but it's unclear whether residents are giving her any credit for it, or whether the gloom is rubbing off on her.

Point is -- this is an awful poll for Haley.

UPDATE: Rob Godfrey, spokesman for Nikki Haley, emails a response to the numbers.

“We’re in governing mode, not political mode. 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.”