Democratic nominee Elizabeth Colbert Busch has a nine-point lead over GOP nominee and former Gov. Mark Sanford in the race for the First Congressional District, according to a recent poll.
The poll, compiled by North Carolina-based firm Public Policy Polling, says the Clemson University administrator has expanded her lead over the ex-governor 50 percent to 41 percent.
So what's fueling Colbert Busch's surge? The poll seems to indicate a mixture of factors. Independents appear to favor her by 16 percent and she also has the support of 19 percent of Republicans.
PPP says following the recent revelation that Sanford was caught trespassing on his ex-wife's property back in February, many GOP voters in the district are planning to stay home and not vote at all.
Sanford's unpopularity in the district also appears to be an issue. Only 38 percent of those polled said they favor Sanford, while 56 percent view him unfavorably.
Meanwhile, Colbert Busch enjoys a 56 percent favorability rate in the district and only 31 percent viewing her unfavorably.
"Elizabeth Colbert Busch is now looking like a clear favorite in the special election," said Public Policy Polling President Dean Debnam. "The only question is whether an extremely unpopular Sanford can find some way to make voters like her even less than him in the next two weeks."
PPP last polled the district at the end of March. In the previous poll, Colbert Busch held on to a razor-thin two point lead over the former governor.
First District voters head to the polls on May 7.
Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.