ATLANTA - Sonny Perdue has plenty to smile about. Not only have the governor's fellow Republicans captured a U.S. Senate seat and control of the state House, but a new poll shows that he's in good shape for his re-election contest in two years.
The survey, conducted for Morris News Service and other outlets by InsiderAdvantage/Marketing Workshop, shows more than half of those questioned approve of his job performance. An additional 31 percent disapprove, and 16 percent are undecided.
The poll of 400 likely voters was conducted Oct. 28-29, just four days before they handed Republicans resounding victories in statewide balloting in every statewide race Tuesday. The survey has a margin of error of 5 percent.
Mr. Perdue's approval and disapproval scores are comparable to Mr. Bush's 57 percent approval and 39 percent disapproval in the same poll.
Mr. Perdue also came out in front of his two most likely Democratic opponents in head-to-head matchups. He won support of 46 percent against Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor's 36 percent, and 44 percent against Secretary of State Cathy Cox's 38 percent.
Even this early, the poll is positive for Mr. Perdue, said Daniel P. Franklin, an associate professor of political science at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
"It means he's going to win re-election if he chooses to run," he said. "I would say things look pretty good, particularly considering how well President Bush and Johnny Isakson did."
Mr. Bush won 58 percent of the Georgia vote to Sen. John Kerry's 41 percent, and Mr. Isakson carried the day with 58 percent to Democratic Rep. Denise Majette's 40 percent.
Pollster Matt Towery of InsiderAdvantage said Mr. Perdue's approval level is about equal to that of his predecessor, Gov. Roy Barnes, at the end of his term.
"I think that's sort of good news for him in that he's starting out where Barnes finished," Mr. Towery said. "He has an opportunity to build."
Still, Mr. Towery said, Republicans shouldn't feel too confident because most of Mr. Perdue's strength compared to Mr. Taylor and Ms. Cox can be attributed to his office having a higher profile than theirs.
Reach Walter Jones at (404) 589-8424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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