Poll: Mark Sanford Suddenly, Predictably Trailing by 9 Points in Comeback Bid

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 22 2013 2:55 PM

Poll: Mark Sanford Suddenly, Predictably Trailing by 9 Points in Comeback Bid

Public Policy Polling basically nailed the first rounds of South Carolina's special election for Congress, predicting two primary wins for former Gov. Mark Sanford. Today, in the first poll taken since Sanford's ex-wife, Jenny, went public with a trespassing charge against him, the former governor is solidly trailing Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch. She's at 50 percent; he's at 41 percent.

That's not the unexpected result from the poll, though.

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 ... [while] Jenny Sanford's have gone in the other direction. What was a 57/15 favorability rating for her with Republicans is now 47/27.
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Yes, her negatives spiked because she had the audacity to lodge a complaint against her ex when he showed up at her house (he says) to watch the Super Bowl. Why not blame the candidate for doing this, and not telling Republican voters, right before a primary and a runoff where he elided any real questions about his 2009 affair? In a full-page newspaper ad, Sanford tells his side of the story ("I tried to reach her beforehand and tell her the situation that had arisen") and offers up his phone numbers so Republican voters could always talk it out with him.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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