On the even of the special election in South Carolina’s 1st District, PPP, a Democrat polling firm, has released its final poll of the race. The poll shows momentum swinging behind Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC)’s comeback bid. Two weeks ago, he trailed his opponent, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, by 9 points. Today, he leads by 1, 47-46. The 10-point swing towards Sanford also shows Busch’s favorability rating dropping a net 19 points.
National Democrats have invested heavily in the special election. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), through her House Majority PAC and the DCCC have plowed over $1 million into the race, allowing Colbert Busch to outspend Sanford in the final weeks of the campaign. This massive support, however, has helped Sanford to nationalize the race and make it a referendum on Obama and Democrats in Washington.
Sanford’s success in campaigning against national Democrats has helped boost Republican enthusiasm. According to PPP:
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.
Turnout in special elections is notoriously difficult to predict. The clear momentum for Sanford, though, is a good harbinger for his campaign. Sanford may again bring his message of fiscal discipline back to the halls of Congress.