John Spratt is facing his toughest reelection in years this fall, but he's in better shape than some of his Democratic colleagues in conservative leaning Congressional districts. Here's the bad news and the good news for Spratt from our new poll of SC-5:
The Bad News:
-The Democratic brand in Spratt's district is pretty poor right now. 55% of voters disapprove of Congressional Democrats to just 37% who think they're doing a good job. 48% of them think Congressional Democrats are too liberal. Only 33% support the Democratic health care plan with 51% opposed. And the President's approval rating is in negative territory at 46/49.
-Spratt's approval rating is in slightly negative territory with 41% of his constituents expressing support for the job he's doing and 42% unhappy. Predictably Democrats like him and Republicans don't, but by a 47/38 margin he's also under water with independents.
The Good News:
-47% of Spratt's constituents think that he's ideologically 'about right' compared to 34% who think he's too liberal. That means a significant percentage of his constituents perceive Spratt differently than they do Congressional Democrats as a whole rather than lumping him in as 'just another one of them.'
-Congressional Republicans are even more unpopular within the district than the Democrats are with only 27% of voters approving of the job they're doing to 58% who convey disapproval.
What does it all add up to? Spratt leads potential Republican opponents Mick Mulvaney and Albert Spencer by margins of 46-39 and 46-37 respectively. Spratt is actually winning more of the Republican vote than either of the GOP candidates is of the Democratic vote, an unusual trend in the south where many voters registered as Democrats frequently vote for Republicans at the federal level. That's an indication that Spratt is still in pretty strong standing with conservative Democrats and that his health care vote hasn't ended his ability to win over some of the more moderate GOP voters.
At the same time he does trail both Republican hopefuls with independent voters by 4-9 points. Those numbers don't seem so bad when you consider that Barack Obama's approval rating is a miserable 27/64 spread with independents in the district though. Spratt continues to earn a lot of support from voters not enamored with the President.
Spratt's going to have to fight a lot harder than usual to keep his seat this fall but early indications are that 28 years of service aren't going to get done in by his health care vote.
Full results here