State Representative Nikki Haley is now officially the Republican nominee for governor of South Carolina, and with the formal kickoff of the general election race, she holds a double-digit lead over Democrat Vincent Sheheen.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in South Carolina shows Haley, the winner of a GOP Primary runoff last Tuesday, with 52% support. Sheheen, a state senator, earns 40% of the vote. Three percent (3%) like some other candidate in the race, and five percent (5%) are still undecided.
Earlier this month and prior to the runoff, Haley posted a 55% to 34% lead over Sheheen, running much stronger against the Democrat than her primary runoff opponent, Congressman Gresham Barrett.
Haley fell just short of 50% in the June 8 GOP Primary, which forced a June 22 runoff between her and Barrett, the next closest vote getter. Haley defeated Barrett with 65% of the vote in the runoff.
Republicans appear to have quickly recovered from the divisive primary, with Haley now earning 85% of the vote in her own party. Sheheen, who won his partyâ€™s primary on June 8, gets identical support from Democrats. Voters not affiliated with either major party prefer the GOP candidate by 19 points.
Despite current Republican Governor Mark Sanfordâ€™s well-publicized extramarital affair, Haley, who was the underdog in the GOP race prior to her endorsement by Sarah Palin, is the favorite in the race in a state that trends Republican and conservative.
The survey of 500 Likely Voters in South Carolina was conducted on June 23, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.Â Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted byÂ Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. SeeÂ methodology.
While South Carolina Democrats fret over how an unemployed political unknown with a felony charge hanging over him won their partyâ€™s Senate nomination, the first Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of that general election contest finds incumbent Republican Senator Jim DeMint leading Democrat Alvin Greene 58% to 21%.
Twenty-seven percent (27%) of South Carolina voters consider themselves members of the Tea Party movement, compared to 16% nationally. Fifty-six percent (56%) say they are not members, but another 17% arenâ€™t sure.
Ninety percent (90%) of Tea Party voters favor Haley, as do 60% of those who are not sure. Sheheen captures 60% of the vote from those who are not members.
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