TV satirist Stephen Colbert tops potential replacements for resigning U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint among a poll of South Carolinians taken over the weekend.
U.S. Reps. Tim Scott and Trey Gowdy followed the Charleston native who hosts “The Colbert Show” in the poll by Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling.
Former S.C. First Lady Jenny Sanford was fourth, but she would be the first choice among voters if Colbert were not an option. Scott would be second followed by former state Attorney General Henry McMaster.
If neither Colbert nor Mark or Jenny Sanford were options, Scott gets the nod over McMaster and Gowdy.
U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, considered a frontrunner along with Scott and McMaster, finished at or near the bottom of potential DeMint replacements. U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson polled better than Mulvaney in all scenarios.
Colbert’s interest was playfully shot down last week by Gov. Nikki Haley, who will appoint DeMint’s replacement who will serve until a special election in 2014.
Jenny Sanford said she would not rule out running for Scott’s seat if he were appointed to the Senate. Mark Sanford has said he might be interested in running for DeMint’s seat in 2014.
Meanwhile, Haley received a 42 percent job approval rating -- higher than last week’s 38 percent from a Winthrop University poll. But based on the difference between her approval rating and disapproval rating (negative 7 percentage points), she ranked 35th of among 43 governors PPP has polled since 2011.
Haley fares much better with Republicans at 70 percent job approval.
Her predecessor got lower marks: Mark Sanford has a 30 percent favorable rating among voters and just 39 percent among Republicans, the poll found.
His ex-wife, Jenny, received a 44 percent favorability rating.
DeMint is leaving the Senate next month to head the Heritage Foundation with four years remaining on his term.
PPP, a firm known for leaning Democratic, surveyed 520 S.C. voters from Friday through Sunday.