Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nikki Haley in REAL Trouble in South Carolina Re-election Bid

For a time in 2010, Nikki Haley's star was one of the brightest in the GOP. She was another beautiful, articulate, but most importantly, conservative female rising through the ranks to become her state's top executive. She received early endorsements from party figure-heads like Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney. She won the Republican's gubernatorial primary, avoiding a run-off by just 1% in a crowded field, only to win the run-off 51-35%. South Carolinians appeared to genuinely like Haley, despite her surprisingly close 51-47% finish in the 2010 Governor's race, a year when Republicans made huge gains across the country. But then there were issues involving marriage infidelity, claims that she was too focused on the national spotlight, and most recently, a huge state-wide hacking scandal. A new Public Policy Polling survey confirms the SC public has taken note of her missteps:

Haley has middling job approval ratings for an incumbent - just 42% of voters say they approve of her job performance compared to 49% who disapprove. Democrats (15/78) and Republicans (70/22) break out mostly along Party lines but the Governor suffers from the most from lack of approval among independent voters (28/57).

Not only that, but Haley would lose in a reelection rematch with Vincent Sheheen, the likely Democratic nominee who made the race a little too close for comfort for some Republican observers in 2010. Sheheen (D) leads Haley (R) 46-44% among South Carolina "voters." (I've yet to find how PPP treats this term as compared to registered or likely voters). His lead grows to 51-35% among Independents. Sheheen also wins more crossover votes from Republicans (15%) than Haley is from Democrats (10%), an interesting turn of events in a state where old Conservative Democrats have seemed willing to support Republicans in the past.

Haley is in trouble for all of these reasons. But a closer look at PPP's internals will show you why she may be even MORE at risk than it appears. Republicans in South Carolina can typically count on a turnout advantage over Democrats, especially in non-Presidential election years like 2014. Their advantage was R+8 in 2010, R+3 in 2008, and R+11 in 2004. There were no SC exit polls in 2012 and 2006.

Unfortunately for Haley, she's only getting 44% of the vote despite an R+11 party ID finding by PPP. If that finding bears out in 2014, it would indicate a MORE Republican electorate than the wave year of 2010. Yet Haley still only manages 44% to Sheheen's 46%. Below is a chart of how poorly she would be doing under the 2010, R+8 turnout scenario, with all of PPP's other findings remaining the same.

PPP poll weighted to 2010 S.C. party I.D. per CBS Exit Polls:

Sheheen's 46-44% lead over Haley becomes 47-44% if the PPP poll is re-weighted to 2010 partisan breakdown. But the bad news for Haley doesn't stop there. PPP's sample identifies MORE white and LESS black voters than the 2010 South Carolina electorate. White voters comprised 69% of the electorate that year, with blacks at 27%, and all other races/ethnic groups at 6%. PPP's survey sampled 72% white voters, 20% black voters, and 8% other. Yet Haley STILL trails 46-44%. As the chart below illustrates, she would fair even worse if the racial composition of 2014 resembles 2010's:

PPP poll weighted to 2010 S.C. race/ethnic I.D. per CBS Exit Polls:

Sheheen's lead over Haley becomes even larger if the racial breakdown of the 2014 electorate resembles 2010, applying PPP's findings (49-43%)

To top it all off, PPP's internals indicate they surveyed MORE conservatives than turned out to vote in the the Haley/Sheheen 2010 race (54% vs. 48%). Reweighting the PPP poll to the 2010 SC ideology I.D. creates the most dramatic effect on the race, allowing Sheheen to open up a 7 point lead on the incumbent Governor:

PPP poll weighted to 2010 S.C. ideology I.D. per CBS Exit Polls:

Hard to believe that a Tea Party darling of 2010 would be trailing 48-41% for her reelection bid in a state like South Carolina, but that's exactly what happens if you apply PPP's findings to 2010 ideological turnout. The Democratic pollster makes clear that Haley is vulnerable in 2014. Comparing their findings to 2010 turnout confirms, if not amplifies that fact.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.