The poll findings reflect recent media surveys showing the contests too close to call.
Conducted by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, a Catholic school based in Florida, the poll found retired businessman David Perdue leading the primary with 26 percent. Second place is essentially shared by Jack Kingston, a Savannah congressman, and Karen Handel, Georgia’s former secretary of state. He has 16 percent to her 15, with the spread smaller than the survey’s 4 percent margin of error.
Congressmen Paul Broun of Athens and Phil Gingrey of Marietta have 13 percent and 8 respectively, and 21 percent remain undecided in the final week of the primary.
In head-to-head matchups before general-election voters against likely Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn, all but Perdue would be behind if the general election were held today. Perdue beats her, 41 percent to her 37, but that range falls within the margin of error resulting in a toss-up.
Nunn leads the other Republicans by 1-6 percentage points.
“Whoever emerges from the July runoff will face the very popular Michelle Nunn, who, like Perdue, has never held public office, but benefits from the fact that her father is former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University.
At this point in the campaign, the Republicans and outside groups have been airing attack ads against each other that may have dampened support for the GOP field while Nunn’s opponents have too little money to air spots blasting her. However, she had been targeted already by one super political-action committee so far, but probably just a smidgen of the negative ads coming after the primary.
Also in the general election will be Amanda Swafford, the Libertarian nominee who was not included in the poll.
Nevertheless, Nunn’s campaign was buoyed by the survey.
“Georgians are clearly tired of the hypocrisy and political bickering coming from our leaders in Washington and are rallying behind Michelle -- someone who has spent 25 years bringing together individuals from all backgrounds and points of view to improve their lives and the lives of those around them,” said her spokesman Nathan Click.
The automated phone survey was conducted May 5-6 among 689 likely primary voters, supplemented by 15 percent who answered an online survey.
It found that all of the major Republican candidates are known to voters, from Kingston who is known by 86 percent of them to Broun’s 72 percent.
“They are also well liked,” Orlando notes.
Perdue has the highest favorability among primary voters at 64 percent positive and just 17 percent negative. Subtracting the negative from the positive leaves him with a 47 percent net favorability ratio. Kingston’s ratio is 40, Broun’s 26, Handel’s 24 and Gingrey’s is 21.
Among 1,000 likely general-election voters, Perdue’s favorable/unfavorable ratio drops to 41/28 for a net of 13. The net for Kingston and Handel are each 8, Broun 1 and a -8 for Gingrey with more voters holding an unfavorable view of him than favorable.
Nunn is known by 77 percent of the general-election voters with a 46/31 favorable/unfavorable rating that nets at 15.
“It remains to be seen how the runoff campaign will play out for the Republicans as Nunn can sit back and build on her already impressive visibility and favorability, Orlando said.