Poll: Elizabeth Colbert Busch Leading Mark Sanford In Congressional Race

A new poll shows Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch leading former Governor Mark Sanford in the race for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, which is headed for a Special Election on May 7th:

PPP’s newest poll on the special election in South Carolina finds Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch expanding her lead to 9 points over Mark Sanford at 50/41. Green Party candidate Eugene Platt polls at 3%.

Colbert Busch’s lead is on the rise for several reasons. She has a 51/35 advantage with independents. She’s winning over 19% of Republicans, while losing just 7% of Democrats. And it also seems that after last week’s revelations about Sanford that a lot of GOP voters are planning to just stay at home- while the district supported Mitt Romney by 18 points last fall, those planning to turn out for the special election voted for him by only a 5 point spread.

Sanford continues to be unpopular in the district with 38% of voters rating him favorably to 56% with a negative opinion. 51% say the revelations about his trespassing last week give them doubts about his fitness for public office. Interestingly the events of the last week haven’t hurt Sanford too much with Republicans though- 65% say the trespassing charges don’t give them any doubts about him, and his favorability with GOP voters has actually improved from 55/39 a month ago to now 61/32.

Although Sanford’s unpopularity is clearly the main reason Democrats have a chance to win in this district, it’s interesting to note that there is some backlash against Republicans over last week’s vote on background checks. 86% of voters in the district say they support them to only 12% opposed, and 45% of voters say the GOP’s opposition to them makes it less likely they’ll support the party in the next election compared to only 21% who consider it a positive. That anger over the gun vote comes despite Barack Obama having only a 41% approval rating in the district with 51% of voters disapproving of him.

As much trouble as Sanford has created for himself it’s worth noting that Colbert Busch has a 56% favorability rating, with just 31% of voters giving her poor marks. Those are pretty exceptionally good numbers for a Congressional candidate and a sign that she is a pretty strong candidate in her own right.

One caveat to take into account is that it is often difficult to poll Congressional Districts, and it is especially difficult to poll Special Elections because it’s often hard to predict what turnout will be like. Taking all that into account, though, it seems like Colbert Busch has a good chance of picking up this seat next month. How long she’ll hold on to it is another question. This district is very strongly Republican and, when the 2014 election comes she’s likely to be facing a Republican opponent that doesn’t have Sanford’s considerable baggage. All of that assumes she wins this election, of course.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2013, Congress, 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. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Interestingly the events of the last week haven’t hurt Sanford too much with Republicans though- 65% say the trespassing charges don’t give them any doubts about him, and his favorability with GOP voters has actually improved from 55/39 a month ago to now 61/32.

    Amazing. When Repubs are faced with evidence their guy is at best a law-breaker and at worst unstable, what do the party stalwarts do? They back him even more.

    There is almost nothing a GOPer can do that will get him tossed out on his ear…

    …Except treat Democrats with respect.

  2. @Gold Star for Robot Boy:

    Actually after last weeks revelations, the NRCC pulled out of the race and pulled all their ads so you’re conclusion is incorrect.

  3. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Let me know when the NRCC gets to mark a ballot in this election. Among South Carolina’s GOP voters, Sanford is gaining support.

  4. Andre Kenji says:

    Go Lulu!

  5. Caj says:

    You go girl. Mark Sandford indeed. Lied to his family, his staff and his constituents. I thought South Carolina was the Bible belt! Family values Sandford and others like him have absolutely no shame. He has some nerve but he’s not alone as far as the GOP go. It seems to be part of their DNA! As for Ms Colbert Busch, she will make mincemeat of that loser.

  6. datechguy says:

    You know some tea party folk warned about this.

    But what do we know compared to the establishment GOP?

  7. Davebo says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The fact that you misinterpret his conclusion does not at all make it incorrect Doug.

    The NRRC can recognize a nightmare when they see it from time to time.

  8. matt bernius says:

    @datechguy:
    The problem is regardless of whether or not he had been the “establishment choice” provided that Sanford ran in the GOP primary he was all but certainly going to win. Again, this is his home district, and a position he successful won three time (not to mention his gubernatorial wins).

    Unless the establishment could have convinced him not to run, there was little chance of a different outcome.

  9. Nikki says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You get down votes because you cynically fail to note that the NRCC is not the party base which, according to the poll, has decided that Mark Sanford is the victim to Jenny Sanford’s villain.

    One can’t stress it enough–the Republican party consists almost entirely of old, white, racist, misogynistic bigots.

  10. Kuyperdog says:

    View from a First District Conservative: Sanford will deservedly NOT WIN!

  11. AJAY JAIN says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy: Watch the ONLY debate between Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Mark Sanford and decide who to vote for!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpPy5u7EszM

  12. AJAY JAIN says:

    Watch the ONLY debate between Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Mark Sanford and decide who to vote for!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpPy5u7EszM