Nikki Haley’s lead in the South Carolina gubernatorial race has shrunk to just 10 points according to a new poll from Winthrop University.

It’s still a big gap for her Democratic challenger, Vincent Sheheen to make up, but represents a dip from polls earlier this summer. In August, a CBS News/New York Times/YouGov poll showed her with a 21-point lead.

In 2010, Haley defeated Sheheen, a South Carolina state senator, 51.4%-47%. Four years later, she has the advantage of incumbency, particularly problematic for Democrats in a red state during a midterm election, when turnout is usually lower than the presidential races.

Tom Ervin, an independent candidate, barely received 4 percent and 12.4% of the poll’s respondents said they had yet to make up their mind about who to back in the November 4 gubernatorial election.

According to The Post and Courier, Scott Huffmon, a political scientist at Winthrop University, pointed to Nikki Haley’s incumbency as a big positive for her campaign.

“While she doesn’t have an approval rating in the stratosphere, her approval numbers have been going up,” Huffmon said.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, Haley met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his stop in New York City.

The South Carolina governor, an Indian American, discussed economic issues with Modi as well as potential partnerships between her state and India. She has been considered a rising star in Republican circles as a female governor whose youth and background may help her party make inroads into a more diverse electorate. A re-election victory next month would help cement that status ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Nikki Haley, who at 42 is the youngest governor in the United States, is planning to lead a trade delegation to India in November, according to INDOlink.

[photo credit: politisite]