Kingston got 46 percent and Perdue 34 percent in a May 21 and 22 poll by Public Policy Polling for Better Georgia, a leftist advocacy group. Those were the results from a subgroup of 410 Republican voters in the poll. Twenty percent of those voters said they were undecided two months before the runoff.
Kingston is picking up voters who supported other candidates in the seven-man primary field that included two fellow congressmen, Phil Gingrey of Marietta and Paul Broun of Athens, who together received about 20 percent of the primary vote, as well as third-place Karen Handel. It’s hard to see how Perdue, perceived or painted as a moderate rather than conservative, can reverse the trend, but he can be expected to spend millions trying to do so.
Of course, to cut Kingston’s lead means Perdue will attack the congressman probably with everything but the kitchen stove, and Kingston may respond in kind. By bloodying each other, the Republicans will be playing into the hands of the Democrat in waiting, Michele Nunn. While they’re beating each other up and perhaps turning off some voters, she will be organizing and raising money —– from such interested parties as billionaires Warren Buffett, the high-profile investment guru, and Michael Bloomberg, former New York mayor and media mogul.
The poll last week showed Nunn and Kingston tied at 45 percent, with 10 percent not sure. Against Perdue, Nunn got 48 percent to his 46 percent, with 7 percent not sure. Libertarian Amanda Swafford was not included. As noted, these results indicate a tough fight for the eventual Republican nominee in the Nov. 5 general election, a rather surprising turn of events in this state that has been solidly Republican in recent years.
Likewise, Gov. Nathan Deal, having easily won nomination for a second term, faces tough opposition from Democrat Jason Carter, Jimmy’s grandson, in the general election. The poll had Deal and Carter tied at 43 percent, Libertarian Andrew Hunt with 7 percent and “not sure” 7 percent. Of the voters in this poll, 51 percent said they voted for Mitt Romney in the presidential election and 43 percent for Barack Obama. Fifty percent said they were very or somewhat conservative and 28 percent said they were moderate. Further, 42 percent identified themselves as Republicans, 39 percent as Democrats, 20 percent as independent/other, 64 percent white and 27 percent African-American.
If the poll is anywhere near accurate and representative, it would also spell trouble within the age groups most often identified with Republicans. Forty-three percent were 46 to 65, and 24 percent were older than 65 — a total of 67 percent in the 46-and-over group. Of course, it’s early, but these numbers look like red flags for Georgia Republicans this election year.
To reach Don McKee, email him at email@example.com.