Jim DeMint continues to post pretty underwhelming approval ratings but with his opponent for the fall largely unknown at this point he holds a 19 point lead in his bid for reelection.
43% of South Carolina voters like the job DeMint is doing for them in the Senate while 36% disapprove. His reviews are predictably very polarized. 67% of Republicans approve of him with 15% disapproving while his numbers with Democrats are nearly a mirror image with 59% disapproving and only 14% giving him good marks. Independents split right down the middle in their opinions of him with 42% each happy or unhappy with the job DeMint is doing.
There are some signs that voters in the state are becoming a little frustrated with DeMint's increasing national presence. Only 38% think DeMint is spending the right amount of time focusing on representing South Carolina in the Senate while 39% think it's not enough. DeMint's constituents are cool to a potential 2012 White House bid. Only 15% want to see him run for President while 56% explicitly say they do not want him to. Even among Republicans just 24% would like to see him attempt to make that move.
DeMint leads likely general election opponent Vic Rawl 49-30. That 19 point lead for DeMint is a little inflated by Rawl's current anonymity. 82% of voters in the state say they have no opinion of him and part of the fallout of that is 30% of Democrats are undecided in the Senate race while just 11% of Republicans are. Assuming most of those voters come home to the party in the fall this race would look a lot closer but DeMint does lead 48-27 with independents and that would need to change for him to really be threatened in a state where there are more Republicans than Democrats.
Another thing working to DeMint's definite advantage is Barack Obama's lack of popularity in the state. Just 43% of voters approve of the job he's doing while 51% disapprove and it may be difficult for Democrats this year to topple Republican incumbents in states where the President has those kinds of poll numbers.
Still given DeMint's somewhat tepid approval ratings this is a race worth keeping an eye on. And to put Rawl's standing in perspective he's actually polling closer to DeMint than Blanche Lincoln was to John Boozman the last time we polled Arkansas.
Full results here