Democrats’ poll says it’s 44-40, with slight edge for Haley

Emphasis on the “slight,” according to the Democrats. Just about the same as the 3.53 percent margin of error:

COLUMBIA — S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley holds slight edge on Democratic challenger Vincent Sheheen in their 2014 gubernatorial rematch, according to a poll done for the Democratic Governors Association.

Haley, a Lexington Republican, leads 44 percent to 40 percent, according to the poll from Clarity Campaign Labs.

Sheheen, a Camden lawyer, is within the margin of error of plus or minus 3.53 percent of tying the race. He lost by 4.5 percentage points to Haley in 2010….

They’re pretty excited about it. I ran into James Smith this morning, who said this is where the 2010 contest was just before the general election, which as you recall, Gov. Haley won with only 51 percent of the vote, and that in the big year for the Tea Party, her natural base.

The thinking, among Democrats, is apparently that if Vincent Sheheen had had just a little more time to keep gaining in 2010, he could have won. And this time, he’s got the time.

Sheheen campaign manager Andrew Whalen lost no time touting the poll in a fundraising email:

This is big! Earlier today, a poll released fantastic news for our campaign. This race is essentially tied.

Now we have proof of what we knew all along: we are poised to win this race!

Vincent is neck-in-neck with Haley, and Nikki Haley’s approval numbers are deep into the incumbent Danger Zone at only 40% statewide…

I think he meant “neck and neck,” but you get the point.

Rep. Smith said he felt like this was as good as it’s going to get for Haley.

Well, we’ll see. She’s quite a campaigner, and in SC, any member of her party has a sort of home-field advantage. But if this poll is at all reliable, it looks like it will be competitive.

8 thoughts on “Democrats’ poll says it’s 44-40, with slight edge for Haley

  1. Doug Ross

    After the disaster that her first term has been, she’s still in the lead? She’d have to kill puppies on the front lawn of the Governor’s Mansion to lose any more votes. I seriously would have thought Sheheen (or the generic Anyone But Haley) would have a ten point lead right now.

    It’s over. She has the power of the office and the money advantage to drive Sheheen’s numbers down. He’ll be wearing Obamacare around his neck for the next year.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Speaking of that…

    At the end of the email, Whalen took a page from the Haley playbook and nationalized the campaign, although he did so in the name of complaining about the governor following a Washington-style agenda:

    With the Tea Party recently holding our country hostage in Washington and keeping our government shut down, South Carolinians know that it’s time to move our state in a different direction, together. We don’t want the extreme agendas of Washington that shut down our government in our Governor’s mansion. It’s time for common sense leadership that moves our state forward again. It is clear that South Carolinians are ready for change, but now we need to have the resources to put us on the path to victory.

  3. Silence

    Doug’s absolutely right. Governor Nimrata Nikki Randhawa Haley is one of the most reviled politicians in the history of South Carolina, yet she’s polling ahead of Sheheen in the Democratic Party’s own polls? The local media and the Dem propoganda machine has had four years to take potshots at her, yet nothing has stuck. I don’t care for a lot of her policies, she has accomplished very little in my opinion, but perhaps the SC Dems should reevaluate their choice of candidate to oppose her. Anyone, anyone?

    1. Doug Ross

      A black candidate would have a better shot. That’s the basic truth. Sheheen is stuck in the position of trying to be 40% Democrat and 60% Republican to try and win the middle. He inspires no one as the anti-Haley faction is already inspired enough. The most memorable event in Haley’s tenure – the DOR hacking – is difficult to tie to her directly. And it opens the door for Republicans to press Sheheen to admit that if Haley is responsible for DOR, then Obama is responsible for the Obamacare rollout. Brad doesn’t like the strategy but every attempt to tie Sheheen to Obama and Obamacare will cost him the crossover votes he must have to win.

      The other thing that I think those who dislike Haley so much don’t understand is that my gut tells me most Republicans in this state are better off now (certainly not worse) than they were in 2010. I don’t get the sense that there are a lot of people on that side upset enough to switch their votes.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yep — right around the corner, as political writers reckon time. 😉

      But seriously, the reason Dems are excited about it was that this was where Sheheen was just before the election last time — and that was after months of intensive campaigning. They feel like they can improve on his position, so they’re pleased that they don’t have far to go, and lots of time left…

      1. Ralph Hightower

        Brad has to approve this post, so there is a bit of time delay, but it is just 443 days, 21 hours, 29 minutes, 52 seconds, 541 milliseconds until we inaugurate a new governor.

      2. Barry

        I voted for Sheheen the last time but he has no chance this time. I’m not sure I’ll vote for him either (I’ll just skip the governor’s race on my ballot)

        He’s running as the “anti Haley” candidate. If Haley comes out in support of children, Sheheen is going to oppose children.

        Can’t win in South Carolina like that – especially when the national Democratic Party has moved to the left on so many social issues- and doesn’t seem to give a rip about how much the debt increases. That will taint Sheheen no matter how many hunting trips he goes on.

        Most Repubs and Conservatives are just “ho hum” right now about the Gov race. They’ll get worked up late and pull Haley through.

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