COLUMBIA — The latest Winthrop Poll shows President Obama’s approval rating in South Carolina is at 48 percent and Tea Party support in the state is waning.
Overall, 41 percent disapprove of the way the Democratic president is handling his job, 9 percent were unsure and 2 percent refused to answer. But of the group that voted in the presidential election, 52 percent disapprove of Obama’s job performance, 43 percent approve, and 4 percent were unsure.
The poll results are based on 929 respondents living in South Carolina who were surveyed between Nov. 25 and Dec. 2. The margin of error is approximately 3.5 percent. Results that use a portion of the full sample, such as only those who voted in the 2012 presidential election, have a higher margin of error.
Of those polled, 91 percent said they were not members of the Tea Party, while 5 percent said they were. Of registered voters who consider themselves Republican or who lean Republican, 87 percent said they were not members of the Tea Party. Eight percent said they were.
Considering that the Tea Party was for the most part a loosely organized movement, some who attended rallies and speeches may not have considered themselves “members.”
In 2010, however, three times as many Republicans and those who leaned Republican said they were members of the Tea Party.
Thirty-four percent said they disapprove of the Tea Party, 29 percent approve, and 33 percent said they were not familiar enough with the movement to have an opinion. Among Republicans or those who lean Republican, 59 percent approve, 16 percent disapprove, and 20 percent said they were not familiar.
As for Gov. Nikki Haley, whose election in 2010 was fueled by Tea Party enthusiasm and the backing of Sarah Palin, 41 percent said they disapprove of the job she is doing. But 38 percent approve and 19 percent were unsure.
The Winthrop Poll also looked back at the South Carolina GOP primary election from January.
South Carolina voters chose Republican Newt Gingrich over Mitt Romney by about 40 percent to 28 percent. But of those surveyed in the Winthrop Poll, about 40 percent said Gingrich would have been less successful against the president. Thirty-eight percent said Gingrich would have done about the same as Romney against Obama.
Congress fared the worst.
Those who disapprove of Congress made up 77 percent, those who approve 13 percent, and nearly 9 percent were unsure how the legislative body was doing.