Poll: Sanford holds narrow lead

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) holds a slim lead over Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch on the eve of their House election, according to a new poll.

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Sanford leads Colbert Busch by 47 to 46 percent, leaving the race essentially tied ahead of Tuesday's special election, according to a new survey from the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling.

This poll's results match what other polls, both public and private, have found in recent days — that the race is neck-and-neck, and that Sanford's personal struggles are being counterbalanced by the district's heavy Republican lean. Mitt Romney carried the Charleston-based district by 18 percentage points in 2012.

The numbers are a reversal from PPP's last poll, conducted immediately after it became public that Sanford's wife was bringing him to court on trespassing charges. In that poll Sanford had slipped 9 percentage points behind Colbert Busch, with GOP turnout at a nadir.

The former governor has focused on tying his opponent to national Democrats, attacking her for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that have poured in from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, unions and other outside groups and saying the money was coming from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (R). 

Colbert Busch has focused on a positive message, while Democratic groups have attacked Sanford for his affair while governor. 

While the National Republican Congressional Committee has refused to help Sanford, and he's been badly outspent on the air, he has received a bit of a recent boost from endorsements from some GOP lawmakers. 

He also has received some air support from Independent Women's Voice, a conservative women's group.

The automated poll of 1,239 likely voters was conducted from May 4-5 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent.