The Republican Party’s worst nightmares are coming true. According to the latest PPP poll, Republican support for Mark Sanford has completely collapsed and Elizabeth Colbert Busch has taken a 9 point lead, 50%-41%.
The latest PPP poll of the South Carolina House special election has Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch leading former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford 50%-41%. The poll found that support for Sanford among Republicans is cratering. Colbert-Busch is leading with moderates 60%-34%. Sanford is leading Colbert-Busch with voters who consider themselves somewhat conservative, 61%-29%, but the biggest sign of Sanford’s decline is that Colbert-Busch is attracting the support of 17% of the district’s self identified very conservative voters. Colbert-Busch is supported by 85% of those who consider themselves very liberal, but only 66% of those who called themselves very conservative support Sanford.
So far, this special election is being decided by the fact that voters don’t like Mark Sanford. The former governor has a 56% unfavorable rating in the district. Mark Sanford is so unpopular that in a district Mitt Romney carried by 18 points, Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch’s unfavorable rating (31%) is lower than Sanford favorable rating (38%). Fifty one percent of those surveyed said that the the trespassing charges against Sanford gave them doubts about his fitness to hold office.
In contrast, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch has a 56% favorable rating overall, a 68% favorable rating with moderates, and a 38% favorable rating with those who consider themselves somewhat conservative.
Right after Sanford won the runoff for the Republican nomination, GOP strategists were openly worried that Colbert-Busch could defeat him. They were concerned that Sanford’s personal liabilities could cost him the election. It is looking like they were right to be concerned. The problem for Republicans is that Sanford keeps doing things that confirm to voters why they don’t like him.
Make no mistake about it, this election is all about voters not liking Sanford. While some Republicans are supporting Colbert-Busch, the majority are sitting on their hands. It is looking more and more likely that many of the district’s Republicans won’t show up to support Sanford.
Eighty six percent of those surveyed favored requiring background checks at gun shows, and 45% said that the Republican Party’s opposition to this measure made them less likely to support the party’s candidates in the next election.
Voters in the district dislike Sanford, and are opposed their own party’s NRA fueled extremism.
Once again, the combination of a bad candidate and unpopular Republican policies are combining to potentially cost the GOP an election that it should be easily winning.
All of this adds up to the realistic possibility that Elizabeth Colbert-Busch is in position to be elected to the House.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association