Mitt Romney carried the South Carolina first congressional district by nearly 20 points last November … meaning it should be completely out of reach for a Democratic candidate this spring, right?
Wrong. According to a new survey of first district voters conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP), Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch is well-positioned to pull an upset win against either former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford or former Charleston County councilman Curtis Bostic.
Against Sanford, Colbert-Busch enjoys a narrow 47-45 percent edge. Against Bostic, it’s a 43-43 percent tie.
“The South Carolina special looks like a toss up,” PPP president Dean Debnam said. “The big question is how much Republicans will unify around their nominee after the runoff next week.”
These results are surprising … and bode well for Colbert-Busch. Given the extensive personal and political baggage both of her prospective rivals will carry into the May special election, her advisors have to be feeling very good about their current positioning.
Meanwhile the SCGOP is likely shitting bricks right about now …
Sanford and Bostic face off on April 2 in a GOP runoff election for the right to run against Colbert-Busch – a six-figure taxpayer-funded bureaucrat and sister of faux-conservative comedian Stephen Colbert. PPP found Sanford leading Bostic by a thirteen-point margin heading into the final week of that race – 53-40 percent. That’s a good number for Sanford, who received 37 percent of the vote in last week’s GOP primary race.
Of course the ex-governor – who plunged the state into months of soap opera scandal in 2009 – has a 58 percent unfavorable rating in the district, according to the poll. That’s a devastatingly high number. Meanwhile Bostic is viewed unfavorably by 42 percent of respondents – also a dangerously high mark.
PPP is a Democratic-leaning firm, but its numbers have been pretty solid in recent Palmetto State races. The firm surveyed 1,175 likely voters in the district from March 22-24. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent. For GOP results, 648 likely Republican voters were surveyed – with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.
In addition to polling the first district on these upcoming races, the PPP survey also tested several other questions … including job approval ratings for S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and U.S. President Barack Obama. We’ll have more info on those questions in a follow-up report …