Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Poll Shows Barnes Leading Top GOP Candidates in Race for Governor

The Public Policy Polling Firm shows Roy Barnes leading the top three republicans here in Georgia as he attempts to regain the governorship he lost back in 2002.

Barnes is up

40-39 on John Oxendine

41-36 on Karen Handel

43-38 on Nathan Deal

He leads because he's winning more of the Republican vote than Oxendine, Handel, or Deal is of the Democratic vote. That's a pretty unusual thing for a Democrat in a time when Republicans are super unified and some conservative Democrats, particularly in the South, are leaning toward supporting the GOP this year. Barnes gets 10% of the GOP vote to Oxendine's 8% of the Democratic vote, 10% of the GOP vote to Handel's 7% of the Democratic vote, and 12% of the GOP vote to Deal's 7% of the Democratic vote.

Barnes actually trails with independents by anywhere from 5-14 points in each of the match ups, mirroring the trouble Democrats nationally are having with those voters.

The early advantage for Barnes is somewhat attributable to superior name recognition. 69% of voters in the state know who he is, compared to 63% for Oxendine, 38% for Handel, and 29% for Deal. One way that imbalance manifests itself is that there are a lot more undecided Republicans in the horse race contests (23% on average) than there are Democrats (15%). The odds are those voters will move toward the GOP once the party has a nominee, making the race more or less a tossup.

Attorney General Thurbert Baker was to somehow upset Barnes for the nomination he'd start out at a disadvantage to the Republican candidates. He trails Deal 40-29, Oxendine 42-33, and Handel 40-33

Even Barnes’ name recognition seems to have faded a little. 69% of voters have an
opinion about him, followed by 63% for Oxendine, 41% for Baker, 38% for Handel, and
29% for Deal.

This race definitely qualifies as a toss up right now,” said Dean Debnam, President

of Public Policy Polling. “There aren’t a lot of states McCain won where Democrats can
say that right now but Barnes is one of their stronger candidates.

PPP surveyed 596 Georgia voters from February 26th to 28th. The survey’s margin of
error is +/-4.0%. Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may
introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify.

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