Ga. Senate poll: Perdue, Kingston lead tight Republican field

Businessman David Perdue and Rep. Jack Kingston hold the top two slots in Georgia's crowded Republican Senate primary, according to poll results released Thursday, but it's still anyone's race.

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Perdue pulls 19 percent to Kingston's 15 percent in the automated InsiderAdvantage poll, conducted for Fox's Atlanta affiliate. Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel has 13 percent support, with Rep. Paul Broun at 11 percent and Rep. Phil Gingrey at 9 percent.

The poll shows that with one month to go before the May 20 primary, any of the five candidates has a real chance to make the two-candidate runoff.

Establishment Republicans are hopeful that they don't nominate Gingrey or Broun, candidates they worry could put the seat at risk. Democrats are excited about their candidate, Michelle Nunn, who has been competitive with her GOP opponents in other polling.

Perdue and Kingston have the most money for the race and have been spending heavily on TV ads for the past month, likely boosting their numbers.

But things could shift quickly. Gingrey has been sitting on a large warchest and only recently began running ads.

Handel has little money for the race, but has been scoring hit after hit in earned media, attacking Perdue over a leaked video of him criticizing her for not having a college degree and touting the endorsement of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), who campaigned with her earlier this month.

The poll's methodology also could lead to some questions. It uses both phone and Internet, a practice that some in the polling industry have questioned, and any minor over- or under-sampling in a field as close and crowded as this could lead to major variation.

The automated poll of 804 likely Republican primary voters was conducted April 13-15 by combined telephone and online surveys, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.