Handel within striking distance of Perdue in internal poll

Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) has almost pulled even with businessman David Perdue (R), according to an internal poll for Handel's campaign obtained by The Hill.

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Perdue leads Handel by 22 percent to 20 percent with 18 percent for Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), 11 percent for Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and 7 percent for Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), according to automated poll conducted by Rosetta Stone.

The top two vote winners in the May 20 primary will face off in a July 22 runoff, but the new poll shows it's really become a fierce battle between Perdue, Handel and Kingston for those top slots to advance. 

Candidates' internal polls should always be taken with a grain of salt, and this poll was conducted on one day, not the best methodology, but its results aren't far off of other public polling in the race.

Perdue has had a slightly larger lead, and Handel and Kingston have battling for second place in most public surveys. This poll's results are similar to a poll Handel released last week that had Perdue at 23 percent, Handel at 21 percent and Kingston at 15 percent.

Kingston, meanwhile, is out with a new ad touting his budget-cutting acumen. He and Perdue have been deluging the airwaves, while the poorly funded Handel hasn't been able to put up many ads.

"There's only one. Only one candidate cut over $3 billion from Obama’s budget. Only one has a plan to require able-bodied adults on welfare to work for their benefits," the narrator says in the ad, first obtained by The Hill. "Only one fought to make President Obama live under ObamaCare himself. And only one is endorsed by Sean Hannity with a perfect lifetime rating from Right to Life and the NRA. Jack Kingston — the only one we need in the Senate."

The automated Rosetta Stone poll of 800 likely GOP primary voters was conducted on May 12 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.