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Handel catches Oxendine in Georgia GOP governor's poll

By Dick Pettys
InsiderAdvantage Georgia

July 5, 2010

A new InsiderAdvantage poll conducted this week for WSB-TV shows the Republican gubernatorial race in Georgia is now neck-and-neck between Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, for months the unquestioned king of the polling hill in this campaign, and former Secretary of State Karen Handel.

Former Congressman Nathan Deal is in third place in our latest poll. Eric Johnson, the former top Republican in the Georgia Senate, is fourth.

The poll was conducted the evening of July 1 and includes responses from 914 individuals who identified themselves as likely voters in the July 20 Republican primary. The results are weighted for age, race and gender and the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent. The poll took early voting into account.

The results

Oxendine, 18%

Handel, 18%

Deal, 12%

Johnson, 8%

Jeff Chapman, 6%

Ray McBerry, 3%

Otis Putnam, 1%

Undecided, 34%

Matt Towery’s analysis:

“Basically, because the candidates have just now started going on TV, this is not a substantial change from the last poll, which had Oxendine at 23% and Handel in second. I was a bit surprised Oxendine had not increased. However, as I noted earlier, it is my impression his two ads may be doing him more harm than good. They fail to have his name said aloud and that means he is not gaining as much name ID advantage as he might. Secondly, most observers view the ads as failing to portray Oxendine in the “man of action” style he has sought to present to the public over the years.

“The one person who appears to be benefitting from a TV buy is Johnson, who now appears to be moving up in the polls. But as is the case with Oxendine, it usually takes about a two-week cycle before the TV advantage begins to kick in. Handel is benefitting from her base in north Fulton County, as well as from a mailer which happened to hit just before this poll was conducted. Deal is holding his own with a respectable 12% and is very much in the hunt.

“We have an unusually high undecided factor. This tells us the candidates have not had the resources to introduce themselves as candidates normally would have done at this point in the race. And it also tells us that turnout on primary day – as is reflected in the early voting numbers – may be substantially lower than we originally expected. This would mean that the most likely voter would be an activist Republican who may already be familiar with many of the candidates. So my guess is that a certain percentage of the so-called undecideds are individuals who probably will never make it to the polls or cast a vote.”



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