Poll: Handel leapfrogs Kingston in Georgia

Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) has crept ahead of Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) for second place in Georgia's crowded Senate primary, according to a new poll.

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Businessman David Perdue (R) still leads the field with 22 percent, but it's Handel who's now just behind him at 21 percent, with Kingston at 17 percent, according to the poll conducted for Atlanta's Fox affiliate by InsiderAdvantage and Opinionsavvy. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) pulls 14 percent, and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) is at 12 percent. The top two vote-getters in the May 20 primary will move to the runoff.

Kingston released a poll of his own Thursday afternoon showing him in the lead with 20 percent support, with Perdue at 17 percent and Handel at 14 percent.

Perdue and Kingston have topped nearly every survey of the race so far, partly because they were the only ones who were able to go up early with big television ad buys to boost their name recognition. But Handel has been experiencing a bit of a surge as of late, earning free media by attacking Perdue for his remarks criticizing her for lacking a college degree and from her endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).

With less than three weeks until the election, the top two slots are still up for grabs, though -- just 10 percentage points separate first and fifth place, and no candidate's lead over the next closest is outside of the poll's 3.5-percentage-point margin of error.

The poll's methodology is unusual — it combines telephone and Internet samples. The survey of 737 likely GOP primary voters was conducted from April 27-29.

This post was updated at 2:45 p.m.