New Georgia U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler has caught up to her main Republican rival, according to a University of Georgia poll released Tuesday, while their top Democratic opponent in the jumbled November race lags farther behind.
The poll found that Loeffler, appointed to the job in December, is on roughly equal footing as U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a four-term congressman who announced his campaign in January.
About one-third of voters had favorable opinions of both Republicans, and 40% said they didn’t know enough yet to make up their minds.
Collins had a slightly higher approval rating among Republicans than Loeffler, a political newcomer who has vowed to spend at least $20 million on the race and has already financed the first volleys of ads to introduce her to voters.
MORE: See the crosstabs here.
It’s a sign that Loeffler’s expensive media blitz was paying off. A poll in January conducted by UGA showed the former financial executive’s favorability ratings in January lagged roughly 12 percentage points behind Collins.
The poll did not ask about a potential head-to-head matchup between the candidates. The last public poll to do so, a December survey of Republicans by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling firm, found Collins leading Loeffler 56-16.
It also indicates challenges ahead for the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church who entered the race in January.
About one-fifth of voters had a favorable impression of him and roughly the same proportion had a negative view.
Nearly two-thirds didn’t know enough about the pastor, who has never run for public office before, to form an opinion. That includes more than half of Democrats and independents and three in four Republicans.
In Georgia’s other Senate race, Republican David Perdue’s approval rating was pegged at 48%, including three-quarters of Republicans.
Another one-fifth of GOP voters didn’t know, while 60% of Democrats gave him a negative review. None of his Democratic rivals were included in the survey.
The poll was conducted by UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs from Feb. 2-14 and included 922 registered Georgia voters. The margin of error is 3.2 percentage points.
It’s the same polling outfit that has conducted previous Atlanta Journal-Constitution polls, most recently in January, though this one wasn’t commissioned by the newspaper.
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