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13 May 2014

Saint Leo University Poll: Kingston and Handel Battling for Spot in GOP U.S. Senate Runoff

David Perdue leads a crowded field of candidates running for the Republican nomination for United States Senate in next week's Georgia primary election, according to a new poll by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

Perdue tops the field with 26 percent. Jack Kingston (16 percent), Karen Handel (15 percent), Paul Broun (13 percent), and Phil Gingrey (8 percent) have some ground to make up as the campaign enters its final week. A total of 21 percent are undecided or said they supported some other candidate. The survey was taken of 689 likely primary voters May 5-6 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Democrat Michelle Nunn is in a statistical tie with potential Republican nominees in what is shaping up to be a competitive general election. Perdue leads Nunn 41 to 37 percent, but that is within the survey's margin of error. Nunn leads Kingston, Handel, Broun, and Gingrey by statistically insignificant margins of between 1 and 6 percent.

All of the major Republican candidates have managed to become well-known among primary voters, with hard name identification ranging from Kingston's at 86 percent to Broun's at 72 percent. They are also well-liked. Perdue has the highest favorability rating with 64 percent favorable, 17 percent unfavorable, for a net favorability of 47 percent. Kingston's net favorability is 40 percent; Broun's is 26 percent; Handel's is 24 percent; and Gingrey's is 21 percent.

"The Georgia Republican U.S. Senate primary features a very deep field with three congressmen and one former secretary of state running for office," said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. "It appears no candidate will receive a majority of the vote, but David Perdue, who has never held public office, and is the cousin of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, is one of two candidates to qualify for the July 22 runoff. He holds a 10-point lead over his nearest challenger. The battle for the valuable second spot in the runoff is close with Congressman Jack Kingston at 16 percent, a narrow lead over former Secretary of State Karen Handel (15 percent)."