About the poll

The Winthrop Poll sampled 929 state residents between Nov. 25 and Dec. 2, and it has a margin of error of 3.5 percent. The results reprinted here refer to those polled who were registered voters.

Gov. Nikki Haley retains strong support among state Republicans, but registered voters as a whole are split regarding her.

Who’s most popular in S.C.?

Do you approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance? Approve 43 percent Disapprove 49 percent Not sure 6 percent Refused to say 2 percentDo you approve of Gov. Nikki Haley’s job performance? Approve 40 percent Disapprove 42 percent Not sure 16 percent Refused to say 2 percentTea Party losing strengthWould you consider yourself a member of the tea party movement?No91 percentYes 6 percent Not sure 3 percentBiggest issuesWhat’s the most important issue facing South Carolina?22 percentJobs/unemployment17 percentEconomy/financial crisis16 percentEducation7 percentPoliticians/governmentNot exactly doom and gloomDo you think your financial situation is getting better or worse?Better53 percentWorse 31 percentNot sure 14 percentRefused to say 2 percentIs South Carolina on the right track?Yes40 percentNo 42 percentDon’t know/didn’t say 18 percentA little support for gay divorce Should South Carolina allow gay couples who were married in other states to get a divorce here under this state’s laws?Very strongly should 21 percentSomewhat strongly should 17 percent Somewhat strongly should not 12 percent Very strongly should not 38 percentNot sure 10 percentNo buyer’s remorse S.C. voters, even Republicans, don’t think Newt Gingrich would have done better against Obama last month.Would S.C. GOP primary winner Newt Gingrich have been more successful against Barack Obama than Mitt Romney was?More successful 16 percentLess successful 41 percentAbout the same 36 percentDon’t know/refused 7 percentApproval ratingsDo you approve of the S.C. Legislature’s job performance?Approve 38 percentDisapprove 33 percentNot sure 28 percentRefused to say 1 percentDo you approve of Congress’ job performance?Approve 14 percentDisapprove 78 percentNot sure 7 percent Refused to say 1 percent

A Winthrop poll released Wednesday found that Haley did not have quite as high a job approval rating here as President Barack Obama, but both fared better than the S.C. Legislature and Congress.

Poll Director Scott Huffmon said Haley is faring well in light of controversy over her support of Savannah port dredging, ethical accusations that later were dismissed and a hacker’s recent tapping into a state database with more than 1 million names and other personal information.

“If I were her strategist, I wouldn’t be concerned,” he said. “She’s definitely holding her own, despite grenades from both Democrats and those in her own party.”

Huffmon said he was interested to see South Carolina voters more optimistic about the state’s economy than the nation’s, likely a result of debate over the nation’s fiscal cliff.

Also, only 6 percent of voters identified themselves as members of the tea party movement, down sharply from previous polls.

“That does not mean the tea party’s principles and beliefs are dissipating,” Huffmon said. “It just means people are shying away from the label.”

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.