New poll has good news for Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Lindsey Graham

A new poll of South Carolina residents has good news for some prominent state Republicans up for re-election next year, particularly U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Gov. Nikki Haley.

Other results

The Winthrop Poll offers a glimpse into how the state’s top officials are faring, but it also generates data about the well-being of those in the state. This poll focused on health.

21 percent of those polled said they had some health problem that prevents them from doing things that people their age normally can do (78 percent said they did not).

56 percent said they ate healthy all day yesterday, while 42 percent said they didn’t.

About 10 percent said they experienced depression a lot during the previous day, while 89 percent did not.

36 percent said they experienced a lot of stress during the previous day, while 63 percent did not.

The Winthrop Poll of 1,038 residents showed 47.6 percent of them approved of President Barack Obama’s job performance and more than 80 percent disapproved of Congress’ work.

Haley’s approval rating climbed to 43.7 percent, though 39.1 percent disapproved. In December, a similar poll found those numbers even, and Winthrop Poll director Scott Huffmon suggested three reasons for the change.

First, state residents feel the economy is getting better, and Haley’s December numbers might have been low because of recent news that hackers invaded the S.C. Department of Revenue and made off with private information of more than 1 million taxpayers.

“That has faded some,” Huffmon said of the hacking story. “People are moving on.”

Also, many seem to like Haley’s choice of Tim Scott to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jim DeMint.

Of those polled, 16 percent called Scott an “excellent choice,” while 29 percent said he was a good one. One-in-four said he was only a fair pick, while 18 percent had no opinion. Ten percent described the pick as “poor.”

Meanwhile, Graham, who also is up for re-election in 2014, had a 48.4 percent approval rating, 12 points higher than his disapproval rating.

Many experts feel Graham is most vulnerable in a GOP primary, but Graham’s approval rating is 71.6 percent among Republicans and independents likelier to vote in the Republican primary.

“From some rhetoric of his intraparty opponents, you would think his numbers would be terrible,” Huffmon said of Graham, “and they simply are not.”

The poll also found only about one of 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning voters consider themselves a member of the tea party movement. Overall, only about 6 percent of all registered voters identify themselves as members of the movement.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.

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