New poll numbers out as election season heats up

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Candidates seeking reelection in South Carolina have some new poll numbers to digest.

A newly released 'Winthrop Poll' surveyed 877 adults living in the state in early April.

Almost 50% of registered voters who responded said they approve of how Governor Nikki Haley is doing her job.{} 43% of responders approve of the job U.S. Senator Tim Scott is doing. And nearly 40% of respondents gave U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham a thumbs up. That number is a small increase for the senior senator from South Carolina. A Winthrop Poll done in October of 2013 showed Senator Graham with a 39.7% approval rating.

U.S. Senator Tim Scott is facing his first election for the Senate. He received an approval rating among all those polled of 43.1%. Poll Director Scott Huffmon says noted Senator Scott's 43% rating should not be regarded as being low, since his approval among all respondents is 25.5 percentage points above his disapproval number. Huffmon said that the most interesting factor is that more than one-third of respondents still do not know enough about Sen. Scott to form an opinion even as he prepares for an election.


Other Winthrop Poll findings include:

*President Barack Obama's job approval remains low among South Carolinians as he posted a 37.8% approval rating in the latest poll while lower than his approval numbers from the general population poll in October 2013, the almost 3 percentage point drop is within the margin of error.

*Among registered voters surveyed, Gov. Nikki Haley's approval rating is almost 10 percentage points higher than her disapproval rating (49.3% vs. 39.6%). Among all those surveyed, her approval rating is almost 15 percentage points higher than her disapproval rating (49.8% vs. 35.0%).

*When asked what the most important problem facing the U.S. today is, the economy/economic-financial crisis was the #1 response. Despite the fact that news reports are asking whether another Cold War is imminent based on what's happening in Russia and Ukraine, only 0.5% identified them as the most important problem facing the U.S.

*Education and jobs/unemployment switched first and second positions in the last six months when it comes to what respondents identified as the most important problem facing South Carolina. While education received the most responses in the current poll (18.5 % now compared with 14.5% in October 2013), in the fall it was jobs or unemployment that was most frequently mentioned (17.5% now compared with 19.6% in Oct. 2013).

*42.3% of all respondents strongly, or somewhat strongly, felt that generations of slavery and discrimination make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class. However 52.2% of all respondents strongly, or somewhat strongly, do not feel that this is the case.

*Boeing also garnered impressive numbers. When asked their feelings towards Boeing, almost 60% said they had either very positiveor somewhat positive--reaction to the company.

*Twenty states and D.C. now permit the use of marijuana for medical reasons. When South Carolinians were asked if they thought doctors should be allowed to prescribe actual marijuana for medical purposes to treat their patients, 71.6% of all those polled said they should, while registered voters responded yes 66.7% of the time. However, nearly 6 in 10 oppose the legalization of marijuana for personal use.