Indian-American Nikki Haley holds 20 pc points lead | india | Hindustan Times
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Indian-American Nikki Haley holds 20 pc points lead

Indian-American Nikki Haley, whose bid to become South Carolina's first woman governor has been marred by allegations of extra-marital affairs, is leading by 20 per cent points in the race for the gubernatorial nomination.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2010 12:07 IST

Indian-American Nikki Haley, whose bid to become South Carolina's first woman governor has been marred by allegations of extra-marital affairs, is leading by 20 per cent points in the race for the gubernatorial nomination.

According to Sunday's automated telephone survey of 998 likely Republican primary voters, Haley totalled 43 per cent support.

Congressman Gresham Barrett polled second at 23 per cent support, up seven per cent points from a PPP poll two weeks ago.

Haley held 21 per cent points lead in a PPP poll two weeks ago, but overall support for her reflected in Sunday's poll is up four percentage points, The State newspaper reported.

Haley, whose parents hail from Amritsar in Punjab, was also attacked with racial slur by a state lawmaker who called her a "raghead".

Haley's substantial lead over her nearest Republican rivals comes despite allegations of extra-marital affairs, which her campaign has strongly denied.

A political lobbyist and a blogger have claimed that they had "physical" relationships with Haley.

But, the latest poll reveals that the electorate of the State has little impact on these allegations and her popularity continues to be soaring high.

"Nikki Haley's in good shape," said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling (PPP).

"Her campaign has deflected the allegations against her well and so far she hasn't suffered any political damage in the wake of them," he said.

"Only 13 percent of likely primary voters believe the charges that have been lobbed against her and she continues to hold that 20 point lead heading into the final couple days of the campaign," it said.

Meanwhile, the Republican Indian Community (RIC) denounced the racist attacks on Haley.

"The Tea Party represents a larger 'silent majority' of Americans who are now speaking and demanding more from the political discourse than such cheap, racist, ad hominem attacks," said Puneet Ahluwalia, RIC National Political director.

Dilip Paliath, RIC National Executive Director, said: "We also condemn the use of this slur against the President (Barack Obama). These slurs are not acceptable against anyone - Republican, Independent, or Democrat."