Nikki Haley is one of the most unpopular governors in the country. Haley has pretty solid numbers within her own party. 70 percent of Republicans approve of the job she's doing to 22 percent 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. According to a new survey by Public Policy Polling, Colbert tops the wish list of who South Carolina voters would like to see join that body at 20 percent, followed by Tim Scott at 15 percent, Trey Gowdy at 14 percent, Jenny Sanford at 11 percent, Henry McMaster and Mark Sanford at eight percent, Jeff Duncan and Joe Wilson at five percent, and Mick Mulvaney at four percent.
It's Democrats and Independents, those voters Haley most needs to improve her standing with, that are pining for a Colbert appointment. Among Democrats 32 percent say they'd like Colbert to be picked with Jenny Sanford at 19 percent and no one else in double digits. With crucial Independent voters Colbert has a 15 point lead for the appointment, getting 28 percent to 13 percent for Tim Scott, 12 percent for Jenny Sanford, and 10 percent 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 percent, followed by Tim Scott at 16 percent, Henry McMaster at 13 percent, and Trey Gowdy at 12 percent. If you further filter the field and take the Sanfords out of the potential appointment, then three men really stand out from the field: Tim Scott at 19 percent, Henry McMaster at 17 percent and Trey Gowdy at 15 percent. The other three Congressmen tested end up well in the back - Joe Wilson at eight percent, Mick Mulvaney at seven percent, and Jeff Duncan at six percent.
“Nikki Haley could score some points with the Democrats and Independent voters she’s struggling with by appointing Stephen Colbert to the U.S. Senate,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But if she goes down a more traditional path voters’ top choice is Tim Scott.”
Public Policy Polling surveyed 520 South Carolina voters from December 7 - 9. The margin of error for the survey is +/-4.3 percent. The poll was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization.