Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Does Stephen Colbert's sister have a chance in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Yes. But I'd say it's less than a 50% chance.

According to a new PPP poll, she's doing well:

PPP's first look at the special election in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District finds a toss up race. Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch leads Republican Mark Sanford 47-45 and ties Curtis Bostic at 43.

This is a Republican leaning district and Barack Obama's approval rating in it is only 41% with 57% of voters disapproving of him. But Democrats are far more unified than the Republicans are. Busch is winning 87-89% of the Democratic vote while Sanford (76%) and Bostic (72%) are both earning less than 80% of the GOP vote. Busch is also up by 16-18 points with independent voters.

So far, so good.

Now, (Colbert) Busch's opponent is likely to be Sanford, who's trying to get back into office after, you know, taking some time off to hike the Appalachian Trail. And things do look promising for her:

Focusing in on the potential race between Busch and Sanford it's surprisingly close for one simple reason -- voters like Busch and they continue to strongly dislike Sanford. 45% of voters see Busch favorably to only 31% with a negative opinion. On the other hand Sanford is still stuck with a 34% favorability rating and 58% of voters seeing him in a negative light. 

Voters in the district have every reason to dislike the former governor. Even if you don't want to get into the trials and tribulations of his personal life, he violated the trust the voters of South Carolina placed in him, used state resources to support his philandering, and proved to be, as so many Republicans are, a massive hypocrite without a shred of genuine self-awareness or humility.

But the thing is, unless Busch can really get out the Democratic and independent vote, this is still a district where any Republican, including a deeply flawed one, has a significant margin of error. And I suspect that in the end Republicans will rally behind Sanford simply because he's a Republican -- and that prior to that his favorables will go up simply because he'll play the "I'm a changed man card" and the locals will lap up his bullshit, the redemption nonsense that conservative find especially appetizing.

This is to take nothing away from Busch, who seems like a likeable, and potentially formidable, candidate. And if there ever was a time for Colbert Nation to make its immense power and influence known, well, that time is coming soon.

The Republican run-off in SC-1 is on April 2, and the special election is on May 7. Do what you can, Stephen. Do what you can.

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