PPP's newest poll on the special election in South Carolina finds Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch expanding her lead to 9 points over Mark Sanford at 50/41. Green Party candidate Eugene Platt polls at 3%.
Colbert Busch's lead is on the rise for several reasons. She has a 51/35 advantage with independents. She's winning over 19% of Republicans, while losing just 7% of Democrats. And it also seems that after last week's revelations about Sanford that a lot of GOP voters are planning to just stay at home- while the district supported Mitt Romney by 18 points last fall, those planning to turn out for the special election voted for him by only a 5 point spread.
Sanford continues to be unpopular in the district with 38% of voters rating him favorably to 56% with a negative opinion. 51% say the revelations about his trespassing last week give them doubts about his fitness for public office. Interestingly the events of the last week haven't hurt Sanford too much with Republicans though- 65% say the trespassing charges don't give them any doubts about him, and his favorability with GOP voters has actually improved from 55/39 a month ago to now 61/32.
Although Sanford's unpopularity is clearly the main reason Democrats have a chance to win in this district, it's interesting to note that there is some backlash against Republicans over last week's vote on background checks. 86% of voters in the district say they support them to only 12% opposed, and 45% of voters say the GOP's opposition to them makes it less likely they'll support the party in the next election compared to only 21% who consider it a positive. That anger over the gun vote comes despite Barack Obama having only a 41% approval rating in the district with 51% of voters disapproving of him.
One final note on the South Carolina numbers- while Mark Sanford's poll numbers with Republicans have improved since the last time we looked at this race, Jenny Sanford's have gone in the other direction. What was a 57/15 favorability rating for her with Republicans is now 47/27, suggesting that a lot of GOP voters are holding the trespassing allegations against her instead of her ex-husband.
Full results here