Public Policy Polling was just putting the finishing touches on numbers for the South Carolina gubernatorial primary when allegations emerged yesterday that GOP front-runner Nikki Haley had an extramarital affair, essentially making the poll data the point of origin for Haley’s trajectory for the final two weeks of the primary.
She is starting from a position of strength:
A PPP survey conducted Saturday and Sunday, before the news broke, found Haley with a 20 point lead on the GOP field. She was at 39% with Henry McMaster at 18%, Gresham Barrett at 16%, and Andre Bauer at 13% closely matched for that second place spot.
Haley’s favorables far outpaced the rest of the field at +34 (47/13). McMaster is next best at +21 (43/22), followed by Barrett at +10 (28/18), and with Bauer bringing up the rear by a wide margin at -23 (26/49).
Better still for Haley, her lead is robust across all the usual demographics: she leads among both conservatives and moderates, both men and women, and in every region of the state.
So if the allegations — so far unsubstantiated — prove credible, or even just durable, Haley has plenty of support to burn and remain in good shape.