By Greg Bluestein
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll that rolls out Saturday finds Democrats in an especially close race for the state’s top offices in November.
The poll has Gov. Nathan Deal three percentage points ahead of Democrat Jason Carter, and finds that the governor’s approval ratings have fallen firmly below the 50 percent threshold.
Michelle Nunn, the Democratic front-runner in the Senate race, has built leads against each of the five top GOP Senate contenders in a potential November matchup, though her lead against businessman David Perdue is particularly narrow.
The poll is good news to state Democrats trying to erode the Republican Party’s grip on the highest political offices. The party hopes that it can harness a rising number of minority voters and other newcomers to make inroads in November rather than waiting for future election cycles.
But it’s important to note that GOP candidates have yet to unleash the brunt of their considerable resources at Democratic rivals. Deal’s campaign has so far ignored Carter in its feel-good ad campaign, and Republican Senate candidates are busy battering each other ahead of the May 20 primary.
It found that Deal’s approval ratings have lodged at 44 percent, below the 50 percent threshold incumbents aim to reach, and his disapproval rating is at 43 percent. Deal is tracking at 46 percent to Carter’s 43 percent.
The poll doesn’t involve a horse race matchup for the GOP Senate race, as our editors determined we couldn’t get results with a low enough margin of error to be valuable. (We’ll have a deeper explanation from our bosses on that later.) The findings, though, provide a telling glimpse at the bigger prize – the November elections.