Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

New Senate Numbers in Ga., Ky.

In Polling, Senate on January 30, 2014 at 10:25 am

Georgia

It’s been several months since a public poll has been released for the important open seat Senate race in Georgia, and this new Public Policy Polling survey portends that at least the tested candidates remain closely bunched together.

The poll (Jan. 24-26; 640 registered Georgia voters), conducted for the Americans United for Change liberal organization, gives consensus Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn a slight lead over the selected Republican contenders.

The margin of difference between the individual candidates and Nunn is similar to what PPP found in their August 2013 survey, except in reverse. In the August poll, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA-10) was the one candidate who polled outside the margin of error against Nunn, trailing her 36-41 percent. In this study, however, Broun actually does the best of the GOP group, trailing her by only one point, 41-42 percent.

Savannah Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA-1) is two points down, behind the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, 42-44 percent. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA-11) and former Secretary of State Karen Handel are both four points back, 41-45 percent and 40-44 percent, respectively. The fifth candidate in the race, former Reebok brand and Dollar General CEO David Perdue, was not tested. Neither did the poll record favorability ratings for any of the candidates.

The omission of Perdue is curious. He is clearly going to be a major candidate in the race possessing the financial wherewithal to compete. As a cousin of former two-term Gov. Sonny Perdue (R), he has substantial name identification. Additionally, he will have the ability to strategically lump the other four major candidates into one “politician” box and run against them as a unit, similar to the way Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA-5), a local businessman and first-time candidate, overcame six current and former elected officials to win the special Louisiana congressional election in late 2013. Therefore, since Perdue’s status is similar to the polled individuals, he should have been included.

Often times when PPP polls for organizations, they ask push-poll questions, which are extreme and designed to achieve a specific answer. In this Georgia survey no such questions were apparently used, thus the final conclusions should provide a relatively accurate picture of the Peach State’s electoral standing.

Kentucky

In conjunction with their Georgia study, PPP, again under the Americans United for Change banner, also surveyed the Kentucky electorate (Jan. 24-26; 882 registered Kentucky voters). As was the case in the Empire State of the South, the Blue Grass Senate race between Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) has moved very little.

According to the results data, Sen. McConnell maintains a one-point, 45-44 percent lead over Grimes. In the Dec. 12-15 Public Policy Polling survey, the conclusions were almost identical: McConnell leading 43-42 percent.

The senator’s job approval rating continues to lag, as his ratio is 37:51 percent positive to negative. Though his index is poor, it is an improvement over the 31:61 percent favorable to unfavorable rating detected in the December poll. Grimes’ favorability was not tested.

The sustained dead heat status over a considerable period of time suggests that this Kentucky Senate race will likely remain close all the way to the Nov. 4 Election Day.

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