Today’s news haiku: Nikki’s poll numbers

Nikki Haley is now less popular in South Carolina than Barack Obama:

South Carolinians have soured on Nikki Haley, turning the relatively new governor from a national Tea Party favorite into a chief executive struggling to maintain support among members of her own party, the latest Winthrop University poll shows.

Only 34.6 percent of those surveyed — 1,073 registered S.C. Democrats, Republicans and independents — said they approved of Haley’s job performance, according to the poll. Far more — 43 percent — said they disapprove of the way the Republican is handling her job as governor. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 2.9 percent percentage points.

Haley’s approval rating is lower than that of President Barack Obama, a Democrat, according to the poll. Obama has a 44.8 percent approval rating in strongly Republican South Carolina, according to the Winthrop poll….

This has to be a bitter pill for Nikki, since she ran against Barack Obama. That was her whole strategy. What’s she going to do next time? Will she be reduced to actually running against the Democratic nominee for governor? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, in a totally unrelated development, I was reading something about bad poetry over the weekend, and it inspired me to revive my “news haiku” feature.

Oh, stop yer bellyachin’! You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to. Even I admit this isn’t good haiku (where, for instance, is the nature reference?). But I thought it had a certain poignancy to it:

She’s Nikki Haley,
our shiny, national star!
Why don’t we love her?

37 thoughts on “Today’s news haiku: Nikki’s poll numbers

  1. Juan Caruso

    Polls are such accurate forecasts, aren’t they? Whatever did the Winthrop University poll say about Haley before her election? Hmmmm!

  2. Brad

    “Pounces?” In what sense? I thought my poem was almost wistful…

    I could have reacted the way a friend did, who said via e-mail, “I was pleasantly surprised by the poll results. Perhaps voters aren’t as stupid as I thought…”

    But I didn’t. And in fact, I wouldn’t. Not my style.

    Now Phillip, HE pounced…

  3. Brad

    Well, I hope I’m quicker with it than I was with this. When it happens.

    This was an oblique reference, two days after the news broke. Another way in which this does not qualify as “pouncing.”

    I don’t know what Doug’s problem is with me, as a South Carolina political writer, commenting on the state’s most prominent elected official, but it really seems to bug him. Don’t know what I can do about it.

    It’s not just Doug, either. There are other folks who, if in one out of 50 posts I say something mildly critical about Nikki — or about Sanford or Hodges or Beasley or Campbell before them — they get all worked up and act like it’s some sort of obsession of mine, rather than the most natural topic in the world for a South Carolina political writer.

    It puzzles me.

  4. Brad

    You know, that was just a wild guess on my part, but it made me wonder… so I went back and counted.

    Actually, out of the last 50 posts, TWO have been about the most prominent politician in South Carolina. So I was one off. (There was this, and one other.)

    Now, I suppose I have to brace myself for people who will say that I style myself a South Carolina political writer, yet I ignore the most prominent politician in the state…

  5. Mark Stewart

    Nikki’s lack of success in governance cuts against Doug’s thesis that new blood is the best blood in politics.

  6. Doug Ross


    Sure.. one snowflake makes a winter.

    If you’re happy with Harrell, Leatherman, Knotts, Courson, McConnell, et al as an example of how experience is critical to good governance, that’s fine.

    Haley’s issues are unrelated to experience.

  7. `Kathryn Fenner

    Who can turn the GOP on with her smile?
    Who can take a nothing state
    And suddenly make each day seem quite great?

    Well, it’s Nikki and you should know it
    With each report card and deleted email, she shows it

    Mud is all around; why do they sling it
    You can never tell, why don’t you wing it?

    She might not make it after all…

    [Close with shot of her whirling around, tossing an Occupy sign in the air]

  8. Doug Ross


    Methinks you doth protest too much about your self-perceived objectivity when it comes to Haley and Sanford.

    It’s okay to admit you’re just like the rest of us with biases against people. And, unlike the rest of us, there’s a whole body of work available to measure your objectivity.

    Now let me go find those anti-Sheheen columns you wrote…

  9. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Doug– liking or preferring one candidate over the other for objective reasons, clearly stated, does not constitute bias. He has ample up-close experience of both Haley and Sheheen, and found Haley lacking.

    I think Haley AND President Obama have made newbie mistakes (firing Darla Moore, pushing health care reform during a deep recession instead of addressing that first)….

  10. Mark Stewart


    I know that I stretched your thesis beyond how you would frame it. Agreed, old can be crusty.

    But it’s probably more that many politicians in SC simply are not qualified to hold their positions; and would not without a gullible electorate.

    It is good to see that you agree that Haley has issues though…

  11. Tim

    False equivalence about Haley and Sheheen. Haley is in office. Sheheen is a state senator. I am not aware of Sheheen’s problems in an office he never attained. She is Governor so she get’s the focus. If I recall correctly, Mr. Warthen once upon a time even endorsed her for office.

    As for the health care reform being a mistake, if it was ever going to get passed it had to be then. Beginning of a first term with a house and senate in the same party. Passage was advocated as it directly affects the long-term economy. If there were one thing that bankrupted most people, it was hospital bills.

  12. Doug Ross


    How about pointing me to the blog entries that Brad wrote which were critical of Vince?

    It’s what gets left out so often when the stories would paint one of Brad’s heroes in a bad light that are just as telling as the heaps of negativity he lays upon the dreaded libertarians.

    For example, Brad fave Lindsey Graham appeared on Meet The Press yesterday and started the typical Graham strategy of jumping on the bandwagon when it helps him. I’m waiting to see Brad spin Graham’s Newt-Age thinking into an example of the Senator’s awesomeness rather than the crass political gamesmanship that it really is.

  13. Brad

    Actually, since you mention it, I questioned the tack that Vincent took in criticizing Nikki on the Ports thing in the above-referenced recent post. I’m not at all convinced that he and Joel and James and the rest are right in trying to nail down some smoking gun on this issue — or even that they are right in the essence of the issue.

    But if you’re looking for something that calls Vincent’s general quality as an officeholder into question, you’ll not find it. That’s because Vincent Sheheen is eminently qualified for the office he holds, while Nikki Haley is not.

    And yes, a huge part of her problem is lack of experience. But the negative effect of that is exponentially increased by the fact that she has refused to learn from the limited experience she has. She, for ideological reasons, despises the wisdom that comes with experience. And that’s a big problem.

    Tim is slightly off when he says I endorsed Nikki once. I endorsed her at least twice, in her first run and again in 2008. And were she to have continued running for that seat and had similar opponents, I would probably have endorsed her more times than that.

    But that train has left the station now. Were she to resign her current office and run for the House again, she would have to be up against someone pretty awful for me to endorse her.

    That’s because we learned things about her while she was running for governor, things that probably would never have come out in the lesser spotlight of a House race. Mainly, we’ve learned that some of the most laudatory things she says about herself — things that had me fooled back in the day, because she is good at projecting earnestness — are untrue. She doesn’t believe in transparency when it applies to her, for instance, and transparency is her chosen issue. As for all that stuff about being an accountant and a businesswoman — well, the record seems to indicate that she’s not very good at either.

    Meanwhile, I have yet to see the first indication of falseness in Vincent Sheheen. So far, he continues to appear to be who he presents himself to be. If you have evidence to the contrary, let’s see it.

    I don’t know what it is that causes Doug to have such little confidence in my judgment, especially when I have presented all the reasons for such judgment at every step of the way. I am totally comfortable with anything I’ve written being cited — as long as it’s done faithfully and within context, of course. I mean, you know, that’s why I WRITE all this stuff — so that people will understand exactly where I’m coming from.

    Readers can trace every step, for instance, of my journey from Sanford fan to detractor, and see every reason for it at every stage.

    And yet, Doug acts like I met the guy and hated him as some sort of gut thing… and ditto with Nikki. Which astounds me.

    In fact, there’s probably no one in South Carolina who has better documented exactly why he has problems with prominent people in office than I have.

    But you know, my criticizing people doesn’t bother Doug NEARLY as much as when I like and respect somebody in public office. He seems to think that is beyond the pale. And yet my reasons for respecting Lindsey Graham for instance are very well documented, and stand for all to see.

    This is the central puzzle in what I do. The harder I work at baring my thoughts and explaining them in detail, the more some folks seem to think I just arbitrarily decide to support some people and not others. It amazes me. And it’s more than a little frustrating, since I know of no one who has done less to deserve such judgments…

  14. Brad

    Oh, and Kathryn — thanks for sticking up for my supposed “objectivity.” I know it’s well-intended. But I’ve never pretended to be objective, and never WANTED anyone to mistake me for someone who thought he was objective. As I’ve written a number of times, I realized in the late 80s or thereabouts that the whole “objective” news model was suspect if not completely bogus.

    The TRUTH contains generous helpings of subjective judgment alongside the who, what, where, when, how and why. It’s complex, and in order to construct an argument you need mortar as well as bricks.

    I get it that you’re saying I’m using good bricks, though. That’s the way I took your comment.

  15. `Kathryn Fenner

    Look, Brad, you dislike Nikki Haley for well-articulated reasons directly related to her holding office, as opposed to my mother who could not support Dukakis because of his eyebrows, or another commenter on this blog who cannot support anyone who happens to be a lawyer. Hitler vs. Learned Hand -> Hitler. Pol Pot vs. Ruth Bader Ginsberg -> Pol Pot

  16. Doug Ross


    There are way too many examples of cases where your response to similar statements made by Lindsey Graham or John McCain are given the kid glove treatment compared to when someone like Jim DeMint or Mark Sanford says the same thing.

    When McCain did a full 180 degree turn on illegal immigration to protect his Senate seat, you didn’t seem to be able to dredge up the same level of righteous indignation as you would when one of your non-faves said the same thing.

    You practice something called “confirmation bias” where you think you are processing information and forming solid opinions when in fact you are just filtering out the information that doesn’t match your already formed opinion.

    We all do it.

  17. Steve Gordy

    Kathryn’s lyrics had me rolling on the floor. I just got an image of the Guv tossing up her cap in front of the State House.

  18. bud

    I’ve never pretended to be objective, and never WANTED anyone to mistake me for someone who thought he was objective.

    The pure definition of a partisan.

  19. Brad

    No, Bud, a million times no. That is exactly, precisely, purely, completely wrong.

    It totally stuns me when I read something like that. It’s like every single second of my life spent expressing my views has been completely wasted.

    If there is anything I have done battle against more fiercely than anything else, it is this barbaric notion that there are only two ways of looking at the world, and one must subscribe to one or the other: left or right, Democratic or Republican, or however you want to define this artificial choice.

    It is BECAUSE I observe, and think, and take in everything, INCLUDING the subjective as well as the objective, that it is impossible for me to be one of these either-or people, a joiner of one team or the other.

    I will never cease to be amazed at both Bud and Doug in this regard. I can spend my whole life writing over and over, “I believe A,” and they will almost every time respond by saying, “So what you’re saying is, you believe B,” where B is the diametric opposite of A.

    I used to get angry about this, because it seemed to me that only ill will could possibly account for such behavior on their part. But I’ve come to accept that their minds simply operate on a different plane, and that true communication between us is limited.

    So I take joy on those rare occasions when one of them says “I agree with Brad” on some small point. I celebrate the rare victories, rather than the many defeats. Only way I can stay sane while continuing to blog…

  20. Doug Ross

    “But I’ve come to accept that their minds simply operate on a different plane, and that true communication between us is limited.”

    Or could it be that you’re just stubborn? Might be that you’d absolutley hate to admit you are wrong. A lot of us are like that.

  21. Brad

    Sigh… see what I mean?

    By the way, I wasn’t suggesting anything about either of these planes being higher than the other. Just different planes.

  22. bud

    Brad I think we agree on lots of stuff, healthcare comes to mind. But one particular issue screams out as one that I find your opinion to be partisan, Iraq. I find it extremely bittersweet that we are finally, at long, long last, ending our disasterous occupation of Iraq. It’s always been my opinion that folks who continue to cling to the notion that that was in any way, shape or form a good idea to be partisans. Not in the sense of being totally enamoured with being a Democrat or Republican but in the sense that there is just absolutely no possibility that our invasion of Iraq was a good idea. There is not one scintillas worth of evidence to support that point of view. It’s an abhorrent position to defend. A reprehensible position to the Nth degree. And that’s the definition of partisan that I use here. I could use some other term but this definition of partisan sums it up well:

    “an adherent or supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, especially a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance.”

    Supporting a continued presence in Iraq has always been something biased and emotional. No other way to put it. So it’s partisan. I would suggest that as a man of words Brad you need to allow us to use a dictionary definition of a word and not just the narrow construct that you seem to focus on. Words, after all, do have meaning.

  23. Brad

    OK, I don’t want to have another argument about this, but…

    Bud, the emotion is all on your side. If I were to indict my own side of this argument, it’s that we tend to be too detached from human emotion. We see a desirable policy objective, and we shoulder past the natural human emotions that would militate AGAINST using force. Starting with compassion. There’s an abstract coldness in deciding that it’s time to stop supporting the status quo in the region, and instead to disrupt it by force, which is what the Iraq decision was about.

    The passion, the grief, the outrage, the fury, has all been on the antiwar side, from my observation.

    In fact, the hard thing about taking the position that I took in 2003-03 is that you have to steel yourself for being subjected to all that emotion and yet still reach the same conclusions. You have to realize that very fine, decent people, even people you love, are going to see you as some sort of monster for taking the position that you take.

    Do you not see that? All the deeply satisfying emotions are on the antiwar side, in almost any war. The antiwar position is the one that will always be more appealing to anyone who leads with his or her emotions.

    If you hold my position, you know from the outset, from before the outset, that very good people whose good opinion you would like to keep are going see your position as “an abhorrent position to defend,” and a “reprehensible position to the Nth degree.”

    I can see how they would feel that way. I can see it far more clearly than most antiwar people can see mine. Being someone who works professionally with words, I could probably advocate your position better than you could — if I could honestly agree with it.

    I submit that it is you, not I, who is deeply, emotionally invested in his position, and is immovable, immune to any argument to the contrary.

    I can see all sorts of flaws in my position, especially with the benefit of hindsight. In fact, if I could have foreseen two things that happened, I probably would not have favored the invasion. Those two things are:
    — The rapidity with which the political consensus in support of the enterprise within this country would collapse. I thought we were up for the long haul; it turns out we were not. Internal political attitudes have a tremendous bearing upon whether a military venture can be successful, particularly in a republic as open and free as ours. Dissent is immediately evident, including to the enemy. And quickly, the enemy figures out that all he has to do is outwait you. Given that dynamic, things have actually turned out much better than they were looking in 2006. So far. I wait to see what happens after we complete this month’s withdrawal, when we find out what those who have been waiting for us to leave do, and whether they are successful.
    2. The incompetence of the Bush team with Rumsfeld as SecDef. I truly could not imagine that a country that had so masterfully guided Germany and Japan — truly devastated nations in 1945 — to peace and stability could bollix up such a comparatively smaller task in Iraq. True, we had a much, much smaller military in 2003 than in 1945, but I think it would have been adequate to the task, handled properly. If Gates and Petraeus had been in charge in 2003, I don’t think you would have seen the chaos that followed between the end of conventional war and the eventual Surge.

    Had I been able to foresee those two things (and are they really two things, or does No. 2 actually lead to No. 1?), I think I would have wanted to do something else in 2003.

  24. `Kathryn Fenner

    (to the tune of Santa Baby)

    Nikki Haley, Sweep the Occupiers Away, Today
    They make an awful big mess,
    Nikki Haley
    So hurry up and make it all right,

    Nikki Haley, Make a Campaign Donor a Trustee, USC
    Darla Moore’s lots smarter than you
    Nikki Haley,
    So hurry up and make it all right.

    Think of all the emails that you delete
    Think of all the journos that stamp their feet
    You can be transparent, yes, you could
    And you’d check off your report card list
    Harpo be doo….

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