South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has a 9-point lead over Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen in her bid for reelection, according to a new poll out Tuesday.
Haley takes 48 percent in the poll, conducted by the GOP firm Harper Polling on behalf of Conservative Intelligence Briefing, compared with 39 percent for Sheheen and 13 percent undecided.
First elected in 2010, Haley is one of national Democrats’ top targets for next year. South Carolina is a reliably red state and an uphill battle for any statewide Democrat — but Sheheen lost to Haley by less than 5 points in 2010, and Democrats think he can make the race competitive again this time.
In the poll, Haley’s approval ratings are almost even: 42 percent said they have a favorable view of her, compared with 43 percent who have an unfavorable view. Those numbers are consistent with other public approval polling throughout the year: a Winthrop Poll in April found her approval at 43.5 percent.
Sheheen, despite his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, is still unknown to almost half the poll’s respondents: 46 percent said they aren’t sure how they feel about him. A quarter have a favorable view of him, and 29 percent view him unfavorably.
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