Yesterday some polling came out in Georgia that really raises some eyebrows:


FEBRUARY 18, 2014 ATLANTA Candidate David Perdue gives opening remarks. Six candidates for the Republican primary were present for a panel at the 755 Club at Turner Field for a forum in conjunction with the 24th Annual Small Business Day at the Capitol, Tuesday, February 18, 2014.  KENT D. JOHNSON / KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM.
11Alive has a new statewide poll out this morning that shows businessman David Perdue moving ahead of the pack on the Republican side of the U.S. Senate race, trailed by another establishment favorite, Jack Kingston.

Credit those crying baby ads.

The straight-up numbers: Perdue, 29 percent; Kingston, 19 percent; Phil Gingrey, 12 percent; Paul Broun, 11 percent; Karen Handel, 10 percent; and 15 percent undecided.

With two months before the primary, Democrat Michelle Nunn is on the verge of winning her party’s nomination without a runoff, according to the automated SurveyUSA poll.

Straight-up numbers: Nunn, 48 percent; Todd Robinson, 14 percent; Steen Miles, 11 percent; and Branko “Dr. Rad” Radulovacki at 5 percent. - Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3/20/14

Here's some more details:


Perdue and Kingston are viewed as more solid general election candidates than Gingrey and Broun by establishment Republicans, who would be relieved to see both make a primary runoff.

The top two vote-winners will advance to a July runoff election, unless someone can win an outright majority in the May primary, which is an unlikely scenario.

Establishment Republicans have expressed serious worries about having either Gingrey or Broun as the nominee against former charity executive Michelle Nunn (D).

The poll suggests that Perdue's and Kingston's cash advantages over their opponents are starting to boost their campaigns ahead of the May 20 primary. The two have already been up regularly with TV ads, while the other candidates have had to save their smaller campaign funds for later in the race. When those candidates start spending what they have, the race might look a bit different.

There has been little public polling of the race. An early February poll released by Citizens United, which is backing Broun, found Gingrey and Broun in the lead.

The automated poll of 508 likely Republican primary voters was conducted from March 16-18. - The Hill, 3/20/14

Now I don't know if this poll is an outlier and how good SurveyUSA's track record is but this isn't great news for Tea Party Congressman Paul Broun (R. GA).  Grant it, Broun has been getting hit pretty hard in the press lately:


And for your main course, Rep. Paul Broun, who is, by our count, at least 37 kinds of stupid. He is not too fond of science, but only because it is “lies straight from the pit of Hell.” He has a hard time telling the IRS apart from Al-Qaeda, since they’re basically the same thing. He is also pretty sure that “the only Constitution that Barack Obama upholds is the Soviet constitution, not this one.”

However, Broun is fixing to sound more smarterer, and he’s using taxpayer dollars to do it, like any good fiscal conservative.

    So perhaps it’s not too surprising that Broun, now a leading U.S. Senate candidate, hired a rhetoric coach, though it does seem odd that he’s used our money to do so.

How much of our money? Oh, just $30,000 is all. But it’s a bargain at twice the price, considering his coach also worked with such geniuses as Michele Bachmann and George W. Bush, both noted for their excellent rhetorical skills. When asked why he felt taxpayers would absolutely want their money going into teaching him to talk more good, his official answer was, “Silence and a firmly slammed door.” But apparently someone on the Broun team thought a better explanation was in order.

    After Broun fled from the local reporter, his office issued a statement explaining that the congressman did use taxpayer money to pay a former debate coach, but the funds were used so “Broun can best communicate his legislative priorities, issues, and message with his constituents.”

Oh, well, in that case, please proceed, Rep. Broun. Lord knows your constituents would be far more receptive to your “message” if you use some big fancy SAT words to explain how the Earth is only about 9,000 years old and how Obama is basically Marx and Hitler but from Kenya probably maybe he’s just askin’.

It’s not that Broun says really stupid things that he actually believes; it’s just that he needs better “rhetoric” to express his beliefs. Which, hey!, is basically the new theme of the entire Republican Party, which keeps re-re-re-rebranding itself, insisting that its message is poorly articulated, but its policies are FAN-tastic. Chicks love being told they are slutty whiners who need to stop demanding free handouts from Uncle Sugar and go make some sammiches. Messicans love being called “wetbacks” who should be shot, but only the illegal ones, not all of ‘em, jeez. And of course The Gays can’t get enough of being told they will burn in hell because their gay is violating the religious freedom of Michele Bachmann’s marriage. - Wonkette, 3/19/14

So that might be why he's lost his frontrunner position in this poll.  Not to mention Broun's favorite punching bag, Rep. Jack Kingston (R. GA), has been touting his fiscal conservatism a lot lately:


Kingston in the ad, called "Responsibility," starts out describing the old station wagon he still drives.

"This car has been with the Kingston family for almost 20 years," Kingston said. "I drive it because it still runs. And growing up my parents taught me the value of every hard-earned dollar."

Kingston goes on to taught how he helped cut his office budget and "returned over $1 million to taxpayers." Kingston also said he helped cut President Barack Obama's budget by $3 million.

Keep in mind about Kingston that an investigation by Georgia's WSAV 3 found that the congressman had expensed $4,182 worth of lunches for his office over the past three years. The news channel also found that Kingston also expensed $145,391 worth of meals for campaign events. - TPM, 3/20/14

Here's a little more info:


Kingston is one of five serious contenders for the GOP Senate nomination in Georgia. He has been using his big edge in fundraising to hit the air earlier than most of his opponents.

He and businessman David Perdue (R) are the only ones who've been spending much on TV, with about two months to go before the primary. Kingston was in second place behind Perdue in a nonpartisan poll released Thursday.

A July runoff is expected as no candidate is likely to win a majority in the race.

Kingston's campaign wouldn't disclose exactly how much it is spending on the ad but said it's running statewide on broadcast and cable TV and has a mid-six figure ad buy behind it. - The Hill, 3/20/14

Now of course it's still early so it might be a bit until we know who will be the GOP nominee:


Georgia represents Republicans’ biggest fear of the cycle. The nomination of the rigidly ideological Reps. Paul Broun or Phil Gingrey would provide Democrats with reams of opposition research to assist their presumptive nominee, Michelle Nunn.    

The threshold to avoid the July 22 runoff in the Peach State is 50 percent, a number none of the five major candidates is expected to reach. A SurveyUSA poll taken this week found wealthy former Fortune 500 CEO David Perdue vaulting into the lead with 29 percent support, a result of his early broadcast advertising campaign.

But “the real fight is to be in the runoff,” says Todd Rehm, author of the Georgia Pundit blog.

If Broun scraps his way into the final two, he shouldn’t be underestimated.

“His supporters would crawl over broken glass in order to vote for the guy,” Rehm says.  

Additionally, Republicans expect Democrats to meddle in the primary, propping up Broun or Gingrey with a menacing advertising campaign, much like they did in 2012 with Akin. - Gnomes National News Service, 3/20/14

And this primary fight is far from over:


“Whoever we nominate, they have to make sure that they are appealing to a broad base,” said Eric Tanenblatt, a top adviser to former Gov. Sonny Purdue, the late Sen. Paul Coverdell and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

“The Republican primary electorate is very different from the electorate you’ll see in the general election. If all you are going to do is try to appeal to the most conservative elements of the Republican primary electorate, it’s going to make it very difficult for you to move to the center to win independent voters.”

The off-year Republican primary in Georgia has recently rewarded the candidate who is best known, best financed, and most conservative. The 2010 Republican primary drew fewer than 700,000 voters in the state of nearly 10 million, with now- Gov. Nathan Deal beating Handel in the Republican primary runoff by fewer than 3,000 before defeating former Democratic Governor Roy Barnes by 10 points.

A similar electorate should favor Kingston, who, like Deal, is a House member from outside of Atlanta whose appeal in the past has included business and social conservatives.

But GOP veterans say a combination of an unusually early primary, major winter storms and a late legislative session has combined to make the race “a wide-open crap shoot,” with the eventual winner anybody’s guess. While the business-friendly Kingston is assumed to be the safest bet to keep the seat in Republican hands, many leaders worry privately that Broun’s penchant for making headlines could win him the primary in the summer, but make him all but unelectable in November.

For Donny Graddy, it’s like a movie he’s seen before.

“I worry about how crowded the field is,” he said. “If you look back at the 2012 presidential primary, basically Republicans shot off all 10 of their toes before they ever ran against a Democrat. I don’t want to see that happen again.” - The Daily Beast, 3/20/14

And here's another thing to take away from the poll that should have Georgia Republicans like Governor Nathan Deal (R. GA) worried:


On other issues:

    59 percent of voters say Georgia's 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage should stay in place. 32 percent want it repealed and 9 percent weren't sure.
    Also, 59 percent say Georgia should expand Medicaid coverage in the state. Medicaid is the program that funds health-insurance for low-income people.

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, states have the option of expanding Medicaid coverage. The federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost for the first two years and 90 percent after that. Georgia Republicans oppose the health-care law in general, including the expansion.

SurveyUSA says 32 percent of Georgians opposed expanding Medicaid and 9 percent weren't sure.
The margin of error on that question was 2.1 percent.

15 percent of Georgians do not have health insurance. 84 percent say they do and 1 percent was not sure.

    Two out of three Georgians say marijuana possession should be de-criminalized.

The poll notes that people in Georgia caught with less than an ounce of marijuana face up to a year in jail and fines of up to $1,000.

The poll says 37 percent say marijuana possession should not be against the law at all; 30 percent say it should be a civil offense, with a fine of $100 or less; and 28 percent say marijuana possession should remain a criminal offense. - 13 WMAZ, 3/20/14

U.S. Senate candidate, Michelle Nunn (D. GA) and gubernatorial candidate, Jason Carter (D. GA), both have stated their support for expanding Medicaid.  Not to mention Nunn and other female Democratic candidates are emphasizing equal pay and other women’s issues:


Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn distributes a can of green beans to each volunteer as the walk through an assemply line to create bags of food for those in need at the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia in Athens, Ga., on Monday, Mar. 3, 2014. (Photo/Kendyl Wade, kwade731@uga.edu)
In Kentucky, Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes sent supporters a letter in November from Ledbetter, asking for $5 donations and highlighting Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell’s opposition to the 2009 bill.  This month, in a similar e-mail, the Grimes campaign highlighted McConnell’s opposition to the Violence Against Women Act. And Michelle Nunn, a Democrat who is running for Senate in Georgia, has called on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, highlighting statistics that show  women earn 81 cents for every dollar men earn in Georgia.

Here’s a look at how other states compare to Georgia, which ranks 12th.  The darker colored states are closer to gender parity:

- Washington Post, 3/20/14
Georgia is still ours for the taking.  If you want to donate or get involved Nunn and Carter's campaigns, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 08:17 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kos Georgia and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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