RALEIGH, NC (WIS) - A new poll from North Carolina polling firm Public Policy Polling says there's a statistical dead heat between former Gov. Mark Sanford and Democratic nominee Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a hypothetical matchup of the two candidates for the First Congressional District.
The poll, with a 2.9 percent margin of error, has Colbert Busch just slightly edging out Sanford 47 percent to 45 percent.
Why the dead heat? Favorability and independent voters.
Right now, Colbert Busch has a much higher favorability rating over the ex-governor. Forty-five percent of voters polled in the district have a favorable opinion of the Clemson University administrator and 31 percent have an unfavorable opinion of her.
The poll has Colbert Busch also winning independents over Sanford 16-18 percent.
Meanwhile, Sanford's favorability in the district is currently underwater. Thirty-eight percent of voters view him favorably and 58 percent view him unfavorably.
"The South Carolina special looks like a toss-up," said Dean Debham, the pollster's president. "The big question is how much Republicans will unify around their nominee after the runoff next week."
And yes, you cannot forget the runoff. Sanford still has to win over Curtis Bostic in order to face Colbert Busch.
Currently, PPP says voters prefer Sanford over Bostic 53 percent to 40 percent. However, Bostic maintains a tie with Colbert Busch at 43 percent a piece if he were to win the GOP nomination next week.
The polling firm polled 1,175 likely voters from March 22 to March 24.