AJC survey: Nathan Deal has lead; no front-runner in Senate race

Democrat Jason Carter has plenty of work ahead if he wants to oust Gov. Nathan Deal. And all the U.S. Senate candidates have work to do to remind voters there's an election in November for an open seat.

You can find all the details of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's poll on myajc.com and in Saturday's print edition, but here are some highlights:

  • Deal has 47 percent support in a head-to-head matchup against 38 percent for Carter, his likely Democratic opponent. Deal's support hit 50 percent when voters were asked whether they leaned toward either candidate.
  • Deal's approval rating hovered around a healthy 54 percent, and a plurality of Democrats gave him high marks. But Georgians are still uneasy about the economy. Less than a third said their finances were better off than they were five years ago -- and Carter leads in metro Atlanta and among younger voters.
  • The Senate race still has no front-runner. And at least 40 percent of voters either offered no answer or said they had never heard of the candidate when polled on four of the highest-profile Republicans and the leading Democrat in the contest.

  • The exception is former Republican Secretary of State Karen Handel, who had slightly higher favorability ratings than the rest of the GOP field, but also had among the highest negative ratings of any of the candidates.

The survey, conducted by SRBI Inc., polled 802 registered voters between Jan. 6 and Jan. 9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Some 44 percent of the respondents identified themselves as a Democrat or Democrat-leaning, while 43 percent identified as Republican or Republican-leaning. Another 7 percent identified themselves as independent.