Kingston, a Savannah congressman, came in second place to Perdue during the May 20 primary. Since then, he has picked up the endorsements of Karen Handel who came in third and Phil Gingrey who came in fourth.
Other members of the state’s Republican congressional delegation have also fallen in line, as have former members like Newt Gingrich and Mack Mattingly.
The poll represents a big swing in support since the primary when Perdue’s total was about 4 percentage points more than Kingston’s. Perdue, the former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok, benefitted then from an expensive television ad campaign with crying babies that was so effective that even his opponents copied it. A new volley of ads from him could swing the support back in his favor.
The poll shows 19 percent of the likely runoff voters questioned still haven’t made up their minds.
It was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday by InsiderAdvantage and Opinion Savvy for Morris News and WAGA-TV in Atlanta via a combination of automated telephone and online surveys. After being weighted for age, race and gender to reflect the turnout in past runoffs, the poll shows Kingston with 46 percent and Perdue with 35, given a 4.9 percent margin of error.
“Kingston has a comfortable lead at present, but it has the potential to become a precarious lead,” said InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery. “Key demographic groups, such as female voters and voters age 65 and over, are much more evenly split. Also, contrary to some earlier surveys, our poll suggests that there is a larger undecided vote.”
He notes that the survey was conducted in the middle of the vote counting in Virginia where House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was upset in a primary.
“Whether the Cantor loss will somehow impact the Georgia race remains to be seen. The July 22 primary race has many more weeks to go, so the numbers could change substantially as we get closer to the actual vote,” Towery said.
In recent days, Perdue has attacked Kingston for accepting and then refunding $80,000 in contributions from a felon, Khalid Satary, which prompted a federal investigation over Satary’s money handling. Kingston denies knowing or having been influenced by Satary. Perdue also attacked Kingston for accepting $20,000 from the family of Dale Critz Jr. and then lobbying successfully for him to get a presidential pardon.