Latest Winthrop poll: Haley’s approval rating unchanged, Graham’s tumbles

Posted October 30, 2013 6:49 pm | Filed under Featured, Local News


The results of the latest Winthrop Poll shed light on a frustrating political climate in South Carolina, with most of that frustration aiming towards members of Congress and Republicans.

The poll, conducted earlier this month shows nearly half South Carolina residents blame the Republicans in Congress for the 17-day government shutdown that started October 1. Nearly a third blame President Obama, while one in five blame both political parties equally.

“My fun with this starts after the media attention dies down and I start digging [into the results],” Huffmon said. In the October poll, Huffmon conducted a survey-based experiment where half of the respondents heard one version of a question and the other half heard another version of the question. ”

“I’m going to be able to dig in and see the difference a slight word change made,” Huffmon said.

President Obama’s approval rating among S.C. residents dropped to their lowest numbers yet: 40.7% for the president while Congress’ approval remains in the single digits. Nearly half of S.C. residents have a negative view of the second-term president, while 36% have a negative or very negative view of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, a republican. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a democrat, fared better in the polls, “but only because 34.7% did not know his name,” poll director Scott Huffmon said.

S.C. Governor Nikki Haley’s approval ratings ticked up slightly from the last poll conducted in February. Haley’s approval rating  came in at 44.1% among S.C. residents and 44.5% among registered voters.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, who is facing at least two primary challengers next spring, appears to be faring the worst in the October poll, his approval rating dropped 26.4% to 45.2%, down from a high of 71.6% in February.

Among the other poll findings:

  • Regarding the S.C. General Assembly, 39.4% of S.C. residents approved and 37.5% disapproved. Nearly 1 in 5 was not sure.
  • U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, who was appointed by Gov. Haley to fill in for Jim DeMint after he resigned, remains a mystery to many residents. Nearly a third of residents are unsure of him. Scott has a 53.7% approval rating in his own Republican party, while 29% of them are not sure about him.
  • In this red state, the National Republican Party does not have blind support. Among S.C. GOP and leaners, the party is viewed positively by 45%, while a quarter is neutral and another quarter is negative. GOP and leaners see their own state party in a much more favorable light. On the Democratic side, more than 60% of S.C. Democrats and leaners support the national Democratic Party.
  • Support for the Tea Party movement among the GOP and leaners remains about the same since the February Winthrop Poll. Among S.C. residents, only 28% view it in a positive light.
  • Fewer respondents think the country is on the right track (17%) compared with those who say it is headed in the wrong direction (75.1%). The four most important problems facing the country are, in order: politicians/government, economy or financial crisis, budget deficit or debt, and jobs/unemployment. Almost half think conditions for S.C. are worse. The Palmetto State’s more important problems are: jobs/unemployment, education, politicians/government and the economy/economic crisis.
  • For S.C. residents, nearly half said having a child without being married is acceptable; 83% said interracial marriage between whites and blacks is acceptable, though more blacks agreed than whites; and around 42% said smoking marijuana was acceptable.

For more on the poll, listen to Scott Huffmon’s interview, click here.