Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch is in a statistical dead heat with former Gov. Mark Sanford and tied with Sanford’s GOP runoff opponent, Curtis Bostic, in the race for the 1st District congressional seat, a poll released Tuesday said.
The Public Policy Polling survey could be a boost for Democrats, since nearly six out of 10 people polled said they voted for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama in November, which mimicked the actual results in the district along the Lowcountry coast.
Half of those polled described themselves as conservative. More than one in four said they were moderate.
Sanford is predicted to win his Tuesday runoff with Bostic, a former Charleston County councilman. Voters favor Sanford 53 percent to 40 percent, according to PPP.
The former two-term governor and three-term congressman received the largest share of votes earlier this month in the Republican primary, 37 percent. Bostic netted a second-best 13 percent among the 16 GOP candidates.
Colbert Busch, a political newcomer who is the older sister of TV satirist Stephen Colbert, holds a 47 percent to 45 percent edge in a race against Sanford, Raleigh-based PPP found. The margin of error on the poll of 1,175 likely voters taken over the weekend was plus or minus 2.9 percent.
The Democratic nominee is tied with Bostic at 43 percent, PPP found.
Sanford is trying to make a political comeback after an affair in his final years as governor ended his national ambitions. Sanford has a 34 percent favorability in the district, which was lower than Colbert Busch’s 45 percent, PPP found.
Former S.C. first lady Jenny Sanford, who was being courted to run before her ex-husband chose to enter the congressional race, has a 55 percent favorability, the poll said.
The special election is being held to replace Tim Scott, who was appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley last year to fill Jim DeMint’s unexpired U.S. Senate term. DeMint resigned to head the Heritage Foundation conservative think tank.