According to recent Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey, the 2014 Senate race in Georgia to replace senior Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga) could end with a first major victory for Georgia Democrats in several years.
PPP tested five Republicans, asking the respondents if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of each:
Paul Broun – 14% favorable, 34% unfavorable, 52% unsure
Phil Gingrey – 21% favorable, 31% unfavorable, 48% unsure
Karen Handel – 21% favorable, 33% unfavorable, 46% unsure
Jack Kingston – 18% favorable, 23% unfavorable, 59% unsure
Tom Price – 18% favorable, 25% unfavorable, 56% unsure
And three Democrats:
John Barrow – 14% favorable, 27% unfavorable, 59% unsure
Jason Carter – 10% favorable, 18% unfavorable, 71% unsure
Max Cleland – 48% favorable, 29% unfavorable, 23% unsure
Cleland is the last Georgia Democrat to serve in U.S. Senate. The current Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission, Cleland served in the Senate from 1997 to 2003 and lost the 2002 election to current senator Saxby Chambliss.
Chambliss announced his 2015 retirement last month.
Cleland, who is 71-years old, has not expressed any desire to run again.
The other candidates, both Republicans and Democrats, have very low name recognition state-wide.
Barrow says he is focused on the 2014 race in his own district and is not planning on the Senate run “at this point.”
State Senator Jason Carter also hasn’t announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate, but he might be the most likely candidate for Democrats. He’s not polling very well so far, but probably few respondents know he is the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter or that he’s already a member of Georgia Congress. Carter is just 37-years old.
Among Republicans, only Paul Broun announced his candidacy for the Senate seat, although Kingston made an unofficial announcement last week that he will run.
All the Democratic potential candidates are either neck and neck or beating the Republican candidates, according to the poll. Click here to view the results of person by person match ups.
While Democrats showing signs of revival in Georgia might be worry-some for Republicans, it certainly should be no surprise in a state with rapidly changing demographics.
According to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s Office, majority of first-time voters in 2012 were African-Americans and Hispanics. During the early voting period in the Peach State, only 15 percent of first- time voters were white. Minorities are generally Democratic voters.
Considering that a very large percentage of whites in Georgia, who generally vote for Republicans, are seniors who will be passing on within the next few years, the Peach State is set to turn into a swing state in 2016.
The PPP poll surveyed 602 Georgia voters and has a +/- 4% margin of error. The poll was conducted from February 15th to 18th. Click here for full results.