State Sen. Vincent Sheheen leads Gov. Nikki Haley in a hypothetical rematch of their 2010 South Carolina gubernatorial race, according to a poll released today.
The Democrat from Kershaw is ahead 46 percent to 44 percent over the first-term Republican governor from Lexington, the survey by Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling found.
The result is inside the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent.
Neither candidate has formally announced they will run for governor again in 2014, but they are expected to enter the race next year.
"I believe it's less about me and more about the distrust the people of South Carolina have in our state government," Sheheen said in a statement. "The people of South Carolina are smart enough to know they deserve better than what we have gotten."
Haley political consultant Tim Pearson, who ran her 2010 campaign, said Sheheen has been running for governor while his client has governed.
"When it comes time for us to reenter the political ring with him, the results will be just as bad for Vince as they were last time," he said.
Sheheen lost to Haley by four percentage points in 2010.
The new poll found Haley was well ahead of potential GOP primary challengers Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell and State Treasurer Curtis Loftis.
The governor received a pair of sub-par job approval ratings in polls in the past week -- getting 38 percent in a Winthrop University survey and 42 percent from PPP.
"As she has long said, the polls are a sideshow to Gov. Haley," her spokesman Rob Godfrey said. "They go up and down, while she stays focused on bringing jobs to South Carolina and fixing a state government badly in need of repair."
PPP, a firm considered to lean Democratic, surveyed 520 South Carolina voters from Friday through Sunday.