Michelle Nunn Statistically Ties Republicans in Competitive General

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).”

Nunn, the Democrat, has hard name identification of 77 percent, with 46 percent of likely general election voters having a favorable opinion of her and 31 percent holding an unfavorable opinion. Perdue is viewed favorably by 41 percent of general election voters and unfavorably by 28 percent of general election voters. Kingston (+8), Handel (+8), and Broun (+1) all have positive net favorability ratings among general election voters. Grayson (-6) and Gingrey (-8) are underwater with general election voters.

“Whoever emerges from the July runoff will face the very popular Michelle Nunn, who, like Perdue, has never held public office, but benefits from the fact that her father is former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn,” said Orlando. “Along with Kentucky, Georgia is the only other place where Republicans are vulnerable in the upcoming Senate elections. Retaining the seat is important for GOP efforts to win control of the Senate, and it appears as though Perdue gives them the greatest chance. It remains to be seen how the runoff campaign will play out for the Republicans as Nunn can sit back and build on her already impressive visibility and favorability.”

To view poll results click here.

About the Saint Leo University Polling Institute/Methodology

This Saint Leo University Polling Institute poll of likely voters who live in Georgia was conducted May 5-6, 2014, using a blended sample reached by Interactive Voice Response and an online panel. The sample size was 1,000 likely voters, including 689 likely primary voters. Of these, 850 respondents (85 percent of sample) were reached on randomly dialed landline telephones using an automatic dialer, pre-recorded questions, and touch-tone telephone keypad responses. To ensure that a representative sample of younger voters was included, 150 respondents (15 percent of sample) were reached using an online panel. The margin of error for general election results is +/- 3 percent with a 95 percent confidence level. The margin of error for primary election results is +/- 4 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.

To view the Saint Leo University Polling Institute’s political and policy results, including methodology, visit the polling institute’s website, http://polls.saintleo.edu. You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls. Saint Leo’s main website is www.saintleo.edu

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is a regionally accredited, liberal-arts-based institution known for an inclusive Catholic heritage, enduring values, and capacity for innovation. The school was chartered in 1889 by Catholic Benedictine monks in rural Pasco County, FL, making Saint Leo the first Catholic college in the state. Over its 125-year history, Saint Leo has provided access to education to people of all faiths, emphasizing the Benedictine philosophy of balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit.

Today the university welcomes learners from all generations and backgrounds, from civilian occupations and the armed forces, and from all 50 states and more than 60 nations. Saint Leo’s 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students may elect to study at the beautiful University Campus in Florida, at more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from other locations. The university’s degree programs range from the associate to the doctorate. Throughout these rich offerings, Saint Leo develops principled leaders for a challenging world.

Media Contacts: Kim Payne, staff writer and media coordinator, at kim.payne@saintleo.edu or (352) 588-7233/(717) 798-1508 or Jo-Ann Johnston, academic communications manager, at
jo-ann.johnston@saintleo.edu or (352) 588-8237/(352) 467-0843.