Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert is the leading choice to replace retiring Republican Jim DeMint in the U.S. Senate, according to a poll from Public Policy Polling.DeMint, a Republican and Tea Party conservative, announced last week that he would step down from his Senate seat to take over the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
The poll finds that 20 per cent of South Carolina voters want Colbert, a Palmetto State native, to take over that seat. Rep. Tim Scott, the leading choice of many conservatives, comes in second at 15 per cent. Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy is right behind him at 14 per cent, and former South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster comes in fourth with 8 per cent of the vote.
Colbert’s popularity is likely the result of wide name recognition throughout the state. More people have an opinion on Colbert, the left-leaning satirist, than any other candidate PPP tested.
But PPP director Tom Jensen notes that Colbert’s potential appointment could be a boon for South Carolina’s Republican Governor Nikki Haley, one of the most unpopular governors in the country.
It’s Democrats and independents — those voters Haley most needs to improve her standing with — who are pining for a Colbert appointment. Among Democrats, 32% say they’d like Colbert to be picked, with Jenny Sanford at 19% and no one else in double digits. With crucial independent voters Colbert has a 15 point lead for the appointment, getting 28% to 13% for Tim Scott, 12% for Jenny Sanford, and 10% for Trey Gowdy with no one else in double digits.
So far, Haley has played along with Colbert’s “candidacy” for the seat, but she all but disqualified him last week because he didn’t know South Carolina’s state drink.
When Colbert is dropped from the poll, Scott leads the field with 19 per cent. McMaster garners 17 per cent of the vote, and Gowdy is right behind with 15 per cent. However, 28 per cent either chose someone else or did not offer an opinion.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.