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S.C. 1st Congressional District

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Poll: Mark Sanford takes slim lead over Elizabeth Colbert Busch

By Andrew Shain
ashain@thestate.com

COLUMBIA Republican Mark Sanford has taken a slim lead over Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch just two days before the special election in the S.C. 1st Congressional District, according to a poll released Sunday night.

Sanford was down 9 percentage points – 50 percent to 41 percent – in a Public Policy Polling survey two weekends ago.

The same firm found this weekend that the former S.C. governor was up 47 percent to 46 percent over Colbert Busch, a political newcomer and sister of TV comedian Stephen Colbert. Green Party candidate Eugene Platt received 4 percent. Another 4 percent were undecided.

The result was within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent, suggesting Colbert Busch could be ahead.

Sanford has struggled to shake Colbert Busch despite the Lowcountry district leaning heavily Republican. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the district by 18 percentage points in November.

The previous poll was taken soon after the revelation of news that Sanford’s ex-wife had filed a family court complaint alleging he trespassed at her Sullivan’s Island home. Sanford’s marriage ended after he left the country to visit his Argentinian mistress while he was governor in 2009.

Sanford has been helped by calling Colbert Busch a liberal tied to the policies of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

Pelosi has a 24 percent approval rating in the district. Sanford came in at 43 percent, still below Colbert Busch at 50 percent.

Another poll released last week by Red Racing Horses had the pair tied at 46 percent.

The special election is being held to replace Tim Scott, appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley last year to fill Jim DeMint’s unexpired U.S. Senate term. DeMint resigned to become the head of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

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