Monday, May 6, 2013

Mark Sanford's titillating race draws to a close

The titillation factor in the Mark Sanford/Elizabeth Colbert Busch congressional race that's decided Tuesday is high. And that's not because Sanford's Argentine mistress-turned fiancee is spotted along the campaign trail or that his ex-wife, the woman scorned and maybe a bit embarrassed by the secret tryst that became public laugh fodder, has hauled him into court for trespassing.

 Well, maybe that is part of the titillation.

But a new Public Policy Polling survey of the special election for South Carolina's 1st Congressional Seat  is providing tantalizing tidbits of its own about the district's voters who go to the polls tomorrow.

Among them, Sanford has battled back from being 10 points down in the polls two weeks ago to edge ahead of Colbert Busch by 1 point. That puts the poll numbers within the margin of error and the race at a dead heat - though this is a heavily Republican district, and more Republicans might in the end vote for Sanford but are too reluctant or embarrassed to acknowledge it to a pollster.

In any event, PPP pollsters say the race may come down to who the district's voters dislike more. No that's not a popularity contest between Colbert Busch and Sanford. Said PPP president Dean Debnam: "At this point it's just a question of whether voters are more put off by Mark Sanford or the Democrats in Washington."

In fact, the pollsters think Sanford has evened the contest by using Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy  Pelosi as his proxy opponent, rather than stick to targeting Colbert Busch. That's because Colbert Busch beats Sanford handily on favorability stats: This poll has her at 50 percent favorable/44 percent unfavorable. Sanford is at 43 percent favorable/54 percent unfavorable. And Sanford doesn't best Colbert Busch much on being about right on the issues in this conservative district - she's at 43 percent; he's at 48 percent.

But when you throw Washington Democrats into the mix, those polled skew much more Sanford's way. Barack Obama is at 54 percent unfavorable on his job performance, right where Sanford is on the public's opinion of Sanford. Pelosi is even higher at 61 percent unfavorable. And Sanford comes out way ahead of Pelosi in a head to head match-up. The public has a much higher opinion of him than of Pelosi - 53 percent to 37 percent.

So, it should come as little surprise that Sanford took to debating a cardboard cut-out of Pelosi last month. South Carolina pols - you gotta love 'em.

Some pundits say Sanford has a good chance of winning Tuesday, and that could help Democrats. Read the Washington Post's rationale for that one. He has started getting vocal Republican support that had been lacking. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a tea party favorite, endorsed him last week. And so did Sen. Tim Scott whose seat is being filled in this special election. S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley appointed Scott to a vacated U.S. Senate seat. Sanford had been yearning for the endorsement of Scott, also a tea party favorite.

But the PPP poll indicates the high profile endorsements might not mean much. Haley has endorsed him but the poll shows twice as many voters say they are less likely to vote for him because of the endorsement. 12 percent more likely to vote for him, 27 percent less likely. Scott's endorsement made 21 percent more likely to vote for Sanford and 24 percent less likely. Sen. Lindsey Graham's endorsement made 18 percent more likely to vote for him and 25 percent less likely.

Maybe the only endorsement that could have really boosted his numbers was ex-wife Jenny Sanford's. She has a higher favorable rating than Sanford or Colbert Busch in this poll - 54 percent and much lower unfavorable numbers - 19 percent. But judging by her pursuit of the trespassing charge, set for a hearing on Thursday, she clearly was not in the mood to give him her nod.


Wiley Coyote said...

Hillary Clinton supports Anthony Weiner's return to politics and has Obama's pollster doing polls for him.

So what's good for the titter is good for the tweeter.

Embarrassment knows no political party.

Skippy said...

You can only claim you will not be yet another Obama bootlicker for so long and still be credible.. Plus of course, the CO will have no comment about the amount of out of state money that is flowing in to get this fraud elected..

Carol Justus said...

Vote for Sanford and maybe he will get a new girl friend in some other foreign country when he takes his first investigation trip or that is what the congress members call those vacations they our tax dollars pay for, which is not different than the taxpayers of this state paid for Sanford to spend a week with his mistress!!

cooldela1966 said...

We must forgive Mark Sanford just like we did Teddy Kennedy. Teddy retired as the "Lion of the Senate" after doing far, far worse than Mark. Open your heart and forgive Mark. You know you want to. Go ahead, take the step of forgiveness.

Charles said...

So nice that the Observer took a break from attending the Robert Byrd Cross Burning Festival to write this sanctimonious piece of shinola.