Poll: No clear leader in crowded Georgia Senate race

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Three months before the election, Republican businessman David Perdue holds a slim lead in the crowded field vying for the Republican nomination in the Georgia Senate race, a new poll found.

The poll, conducted by Hicks Evaluation Group and Apache Political Communications, found that the top contenders for the nomination in a virtual tie around 10 percent.

Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General and the cousin of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, ekes out a narrow lead within the margin of error at 12.7 percent. Rep. Jack Kingston and Paul Broun are tied at 10.9 percent.

Rep. Phil Gingrey is at 10.4 percent, and former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel is at 10.2 percent.

The remaining three candidates: Eugene Yu, Minister Derrick Grayson, and Art Gardner each get less than one percent of the vote.

Mike Hassinger of Apache Political said Perdue’s slight lead was “directly attributable” to the fact that he just launched his campaign, and has been running a large television ad buy and online ads to introduce himself to the electorate. Those ads, Hassinger said, appear to be working.

“He’s also the cousin of the former Governor, so I think people recognize the last name Perdue as well,” said Frederick Hicks of Hicks Evaluation Group.

Hicks said Karen Handel was also likely benefiting from a recognizable name leftover from her 2010 run for governor, keeping her in the running with Perdue and the three congressman, in spite of raising significantly less money than them.

Largely, however, the Republican electorate appears to be undecided, with 42.7 percent of voters saying they have not yet made a decision as to who they are most likely to vote for in the May 20 primary. The winner of that primary is likely to face Democrat Michelle Nunn.

The poll surveyed 923 likely Georgia Republican primary voters, and has a 3.25 percentage point margin of error.

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Alexis Levinson