Mark Sanford Closing The Gap In Final Days

Mark Sanford appears to have closed the gap with Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the final days of the campaign for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District:

PPP’s final poll of the special election in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District finds a race that’s too close to call, with Republican Mark Sanford leading Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch 47-46. The 1 point lead for Sanford represents a 10 point reversal from PPP’s poll of the race two weeks ago, when Colbert Busch led by 9 points at 50-41.

Sanford has gotten back into the race by nationalizing it and painting Colbert Busch as a liberal. A plurality of voters in the district- 47%- say they think Colbert Busch is a liberal compared to 43% who characterize her as ideologically ‘about right.’ Colbert Busch’s favorability rating has dropped a net 19 points compared to 2 weeks ago, from +25 then at 56/31 to +6 now at 50/44.

While Colbert Busch is seen as too liberal, 48% of voters think that Sanford’s views are ‘about right’ on the issues compared to just 38% who see him as too conservative. Sanford’s also seen some repair to his image over the course of the campaign. Although he’s still unpopular, sporting a -11 net favorability rating at 43/54, that’s up a net 13 points from our first poll in March when he was at 34/58.

If SC-1 voters went to the polls on Tuesday and voted for the candidate they personally liked better, Colbert Busch would be the definite winner. That’s why Sanford’s campaign has tried to shift the focus toward national Democrats who are unpopular in the district, and that’s been a key in helping him to make this race competitive again. Nancy Pelosi has a 24/61 approval rating in SC-1 and although voters don’t like Sanford, they do like him better than Pelosi by a 53/37 margin. President Obama doesn’t fare a whole lot better in the district. His approval is 39/54, and voters say they have a higher opinion of Sanford than him by a 48/44 spread.

The other key development in this race over the last two weeks is that Republicans are returning to the electorate. On our last poll, conducted right after the trespassing charges against Sanford became public, we found that the likely electorate had voted for Mitt Romney by only 5 points in a district that he actually won by 18. That suggested many Republican voters were depressed and planning to stay home. On our final poll we find an electorate that’s Romney +13- that’s still more Democratic than the turnout from last fall, but it’s a lot better for Sanford than it was a couple weeks ago.

Given that this is a largely Republican district, it’s perhaps not surprising that the race has tightened in this manner, but the reversal itself has been quite interesting to watch. Despite all his personal failings, Sanford could very well go on to win this election.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2013, Congress, Public Opinion Polls, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed for too young in July 2021.

Comments

  1. Smooth Jazz says:

    Hmmm, Interesting results. A couple weeks ago, everybody was talking up the fact that Sandford was down 10 to this far left Liberal crank and that this race was over. Now, he is withing striking distance, if not slightly ahead. Very interesting developments over the past week or so – That goofball wingnut Cucinelli up 10 against Hillary & Bill Clinton’s favorite Gov candidate this year in a state Obama won barely 6 months ago, a no name Rep within striking distance of a well known Dem in a state (MA) that Obama won by 30 points or whatever not that long ago, and now this: A stalker & unfaithful charlatan in SC down 10 points in the polls barely a week ago to a far left celebrity, is now essentially tied.

    I think the common thread in all this is, let’s all say it together: OBAMACARE. Starting with Baucas “train wreck” comment a couple weeks ago, and the daily drip drip drip of part time workers hours being cut, exchanges not ready, mass confusion, 12 page forms for families with all types of backup documentation to sign up, skyrocketing premiums, etc etc etc, the American public is starting to find about this con job and they are not happy. And not even the Obama sychophants at the DC/NY/Hollywood echo chamber is going to protect OBama from this coming disaster. People will “feel” it themselves no matter how CBS, NBC, NY TImes, ABC, Wash Post, CNN, MSNBC tries to protect Obama from this calamity.

    Hey, what’s that sound I hear in the distance: “CHOO CHOO TRAIN”, CHOO CHOO TRAIN”. My it’s that ObamaCare train wreck barrelling down the tracks straight at us. Good for you Liberals for foisting this clown Obama on us – You deserve what is coming to you.

  2. legion says:

    @Smooth Jazz: Have you ever noticed that it’s _only_ the far-side wingnuts going on and on about the ACA? Regular voters don’t actually talk or think like these idiots. How much do you get paid for blowing this particular trumpet, @Smooth Jazz?

  3. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Have you ever noticed that it’s _only_ the far-side wingnuts going on and on about the ACA? Regular voters don’t actually talk or think like these idiots. How much do you get paid for blowing this particular trumpet”

    What’s a “far-side wingnut”. Are there any liberal wing-nuts or just Conservative wing-nuts?? You think only one side has a monopoly on wing nuttiness?? To be sure, there are left wing nuts out as well, I assure you. For a hint, just turn on to MSNBC every day. Anyways, I digress.The only reason why you are not hearing “regular voters” complain about ObamaDisasterCare is that it hasn’t affected them much yet, but wait until this time next year???

    If you want an idea about what “regular voters” think about this stuff, just tune in this time next year when this disaster is unfolding. Hint: Go GOOGLE: “DEMOCRATIC LOSSES IN THE 2010 MIDTERMS”. What’s that train wreck I hear coming down the tracks: “Choo Choo”, “Choo Choo”.

  4. legion says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    The only reason why you are not hearing “regular voters” complain about ObamaDisasterCare is that it hasn’t affected them much yet, but wait until this time next year???

    Then how exactly could it be the culprit behind Sanford’s remarkable jump in polling?

    What’s a “far-side wingnut”. Are there any liberal wing-nuts or just Conservative wing-nuts??

    Well, here’s a hint:

    Go GOOGLE: “DEMOCRATIC LOSSES IN THE 2010 MIDTERMS”. What’s that train wreck I hear coming down the tracks: “Choo Choo”, “Choo Choo”.

    They think train sounds and Caps-Lock are viable substitutes for coherent thought…

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    this far left Liberal crank

    So, is she to the left of Marx? Castro? Hollande? Bernie Sanders????

    Describing Colbert-Busch in this manner only shows that you haven’t got a clue, and one would do best to just ignore you.

    As to Sanford gaining on her, color me shocked! SHOCKED!!! that the far right looneys in SC would throw their so called ‘values’ under the bus before voting for some one not quite as crazy as they (remember, she does live in SC) but far more competent .

  6. legion says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Not to mention she is neither barefoot nor pregnant…

  7. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Then how exactly could it be the culprit behind Sanford’s remarkable jump in polling?”

    Well, DUH, perhaps it is due to the fact that there is a special election in that district, and a debate recently where ObamaTrainWreckCare was discussed. Maybe, just maybe, the rest of the country hasn’t tuned in as much as a district where there is an election taking place where ObamaCare is being discussed as a major elephant in the room DUH. Just wait until next Summer when the entire country is tuned is as ObamaCare barrels down the tracks toward the 2014 election. By then, more than just “far side wing-nuts” will be tuning in I assure you.

  8. wr says:

    @Smooth Jazz: Have you ever been right about anything? Do you really think that disappearing for six months after an election in which every single one of your predictions was disastrously wrong means that you get a fresh start?

    Why don’t you start telling us about how the unskewed polls prove Romney’s our current president?

  9. mantis says:

    I think everyone should take Kenny G’s predictions very seriously. After all, he has an excellent track record…

  10. Liberal Capitalist says:

    You know… I always hear conservatives parroting the talking points about how blacks and hispanics just voting blindly for DEMS.

    (…not to mention dead voters and fradulent voters, against all facts and logic… but I digress)

    Yet in the last presidential election, while all the GOP (in their hearts) really hated the idea of Romney, they turned out to vote for him.

    Now we have Sanford, who is arguably the wort possible candidate that the GOP could field in an election… yet he is polling well.

    Welcome the new Zombie GOP.

  11. PJ says:

    @wr:
    Not only was he wrong, wrong, wrong, he’s also unable to actually learn.

    Dumb as a doornail.

  12. Brett says:

    I hate to constantly re-use the phrase “not surprising”, but this isn’t. Nate Silver has a post on how special election winners from districts trending towards the opposition party don’t tend to hold their seats long, and House elections have increasingly become “nationalized” (i.e. decided on the candidates’ stances on national-level issues).

    @Smooth Jazz

    My it’s that ObamaCare train wreck barrelling down the tracks straight at us. Good for you Liberals for foisting this clown Obama on us – You deserve what is coming to you.

    I agree, it’s going to be wonderful in 2014 when the subsidies and no exclusion rules go into effect, and the law becomes untouchable even by Republicans. And by 2017 (when Obama leaves), most of the state legislatures will have fallen in line on the Medicaid subsidies.