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A new tracking poll from a Democratic firm shows S.C. Rep. Nikki Haley clinging to a two-point lead over State Senator Vincent Sheheen in the race to replace Mark Sanford as governor. This marks the first survey by any polling outfit in which the GOP gubernatorial nominee’s lead has slipped below the poll’s margin of error.

It could also result in a flood of new money from national organizations like the Republican Governors’ Association, which recently started spending some of its $31 million war chest in South Carolina.

According to the latest data from Crantford and Associates, a Democratic polling firm based in Columbia, S.C., Haley leads Sheheen by a 43 to 41 percent margin. That’s well within the poll’s 3.8 percent margin of error, making the race a statistical tie. Sixteen percent of respondents were undecided.

Two weeks ago, Crantford’s polling showed Haley with a 45-41 percent lead, with thirteen percent of voters undecided.

Two GOP sources who are tracking a pair of Congressional races tell FITS that their polling shows a similar tightening of the race.

In one poll, conducted over the weekend in a “swing” district, Haley has fallen behind Sheheen by three points after the race was a week ago (and enjoying an eighteen-point lead as recently as three months ago). In another poll, conducted in a strong Republican district, Haley now leads Sheheen by just three points – which is also a three-point drop from the previous week.

The most recent independent statewide poll – conducted between October 5-10 – has Haley up by nine points.

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