PPP is out with the first poll
of the Georgia Senate contest since nonprofit executive Michelle Nunn announced her entry last month, and the numbers offer Democrats reason to be cautiously optimistic about their pickup chances in this blue-trending state. Nunn sports a 20-19 favorability rating out the gate, which is not bad, given the notoriously low favorables PPP typically finds for little-known candidates.
Perhaps more importantly, her famous father, ex-Sen. Sam Nunn, is still well-known and well-liked, with a 56-12 favorability score—and he actually does better with Republicans than Democrats. If the younger Nunn can trade a bit on the elder's crossover appeal, that could provide a real boost for her campaign.
But the race still has quite a ways to develop, as you can see from the high numbers of undecideds in every matchup between Nunn and the various members of the GOP field. Here's how share fares against each, with the Republicans' favorables in parentheses:
• 41-41 vs. Rep. Phil Gingrey (24-27)
• 40-40 vs. ex-Dollar General CEO David Perdue (17-27)
• 40-38 vs. ex-SoS Karen Handel (21-31)
• 40-38 vs. Rep. Jack Kingston (19-22)
• 41-36 vs. Rep. Paul Broun (15-29)
• 42-36 vs. conservative activist Derrick Grayson (5-22)
• 42-35 vs. businessman Eugene Yu (4-20)
As you'd expect, all of Nunn's potential opponents are recognized by only a quarter to half the state, so everyone has a lot of room to grow. For Nunn, who consistently scores in the 40-42 range, the question, as ever, is how far? Right now, as Tom Jensen points out, Democrats are more unified than Republicans, but that'll change, especially after the GOP picks a nominee—though the primary picture is also quite unsettled. Head below the fold for those results.
Democrats will be rooting hard for Broun, easily the craziest and most incendiary option, to pull out a victory, but he'll need serious grassroots enthusiasm to make up for his soft fundraising. The numbers show, though, that the nomination is very much up for grabs. The best news for Nunn is that regardless of who emerges from this Republican battle royale, she'll have a full year all to herself in which she can raise money and campaign without distractions. The GOP, meanwhile, will almost certainly have to contend with a runoff that will drain the eventual winner's coffers.
Will all that—a bloody Republican primary, a respected family name, and Georgia's shifting demographics—be enough for Nunn to ride to an upset? With so few Senate pickup opportunities this cycle, Democrats have to try. And PPP's initial data, at least, suggest that a win is indeed possible.