If South Carolina voters could choose the replacement for outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint, they would pick Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert, a Public Policy Polling survey released Monday reveals. Unfortunately, voters do not get to have their say on who replaces the Republican; that responsibility goes to the state’s governor, fellow GOPer Nikki Haley.
According to poll results, 20 percent of respondents support the late-night comedian’s bid. That put him ahead of Rep. Tim Scott (15 percent), Rep. Trey Gowdy (14 percent) and Jenny Sanford, the ex-wife of former Gov. Mark Sanford (11 percent).
Colbert, a Palmetto State native who has twice mounted a satirical challenge to become the president of South Carolina, has already asked viewers of “The Colbert Report” to push Haley to appoint him to the seat. DeMint is leaving to run the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation.
Colbert mainly benefits from being the favorite of a small number of Democrats and independents in a field of candidates filled with Republicans. Thirty-two percent of voters view him unfavorably, and only 30 percent have a favorable opinion. His support mostly comes from Democrats, 32 percent of whom want to see him in the Senate, and independents, where he gets 28 percent support. Only 6 percent of Republicans would welcome a Colbert appointment.
...With Colbert removed, Jenny Sanford jumps into the lead, with 17 percent support. Scott draws 16 percent and Gowdy draws 12 percent. Former state attorney general Henry McMaster collects 13 percent. Mark Sanford picks up 9 percent.
Haley has said she would appoint someone with views similar to DeMint’s. That should draw cheers from South Carolinians, who approve of DeMint’s performance by a 49 percent to 40 percent margin. Counting only Republicans, Scott draws 25 percent support and Gowdy draws 21 percent in a Colbert-less field.