WSB poll: Ossoff leads Democrats in Senate race; many still undecided

Amico, Tomlinson, Ossoff

Amico, Tomlinson, Ossoff

Jon Ossoff has a commanding lead in the Democratic primary to challenge U.S. Sen. David Perdue, though he’s still short of the majority-vote he needs to avoid a runoff, a WSB-TV poll released Wednesday shows.

The poll pegs Ossoff, an investigative journalist, at 42% of the vote with less than a week before the Tuesday election. Former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson netted 14% and Sarah Riggs Amico, the party’s 2018 lieutenant gubernatorial nominee, was at 9%.

About 28% were undecided and the remaining 7% indicated they would support one of the four lesser-known candidates in the race. The poll of 500 likely Democratic voters was conducted on Monday by Landmark Communications. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

It's the first public survey of the race against Perdue in weeks, though several internal polls have showed Ossoff with hefty advantages over his rivals, thanks in part to his nationally-watched campaign for the 6th Congressional District in 2017. He lost that bid to Republican Karen Handel in a bruising runoff.

His high poll numbers have triggered speculation that he could aim for an outright win Tuesday to avoid an unpredictable head-to-head matchup against Amico or Tomlinson. He recently wrote a $450,000 check to his campaign, further fueling that prospect.

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Ossoff’s advisers insist he’s not maneuvering for a clean victory next week, saying it’s a dim possibility in a crowded field featuring three candidates that have aired TV ads and one, Amico, who has spent more than $1 million of her own cash on her bid.

They say the cash infusion is meant to demonstrate he’s got momentum going into an August runoff against Tomlinson or Amico.

Republicans, meanwhile, have eagerly pushed the line that the contest to challenge Perdue is his to lose, thanks to the roughly $35 million he’s spent since 2017 boosting his profile mostly in the metro Atlanta market.

The crosstabs of the Landmark poll show Ossoff with large margins in nearly every category. He leads among older voters (50%), white voters (40%), black voters (43%), male voters (36%) and women (46%) voters. The candidates are roughly even among voters under 39, with 45% of the bloc undecided.

>>More: Ossoff applies lessons from 2017 loss to bid this year for U.S. Senate

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