Georgia poll: Kingston leads Perdue 49% to 38% for July 22 runoff

Rep. John H. "Jack" Kingston (R.-Ga.)

The June 11-12 Human Events/Gravis poll of 1,140 Georgia Republicans shows Rep. John H. “Jack” Kingston leading businessman David Perdue 49 percent to 38 percent, as the two men close in on the July 22 primary runoff.


“Kingston has a strong lead and it looks like it is his race to lose,” said Doug Kaplan, the president of Gravis Marketing, the Florida-based polling company that conducted the poll, which carries a 3 percent margin of error.

“In the May 20 primary, the vote was tighter,” he said. “Kingston got 31 percent to Perdue’s 26 percent, but that was in a crowded field of seven candidates.”

Kaplan said part of his confidence in the poll is that number of likely voters. “Seventy-nine percent of the respondents reported being very likely to vote, in addition to another 16 percent told us they are likely to vote.”

Derrick Dickey, the press secretary for the Perdue campaign, said he is confident the voters will choose the former CEO of Reebok.

“Georgians understand that you can’t trust the same politicians to fix the problems that they created,” he said. “On Election Day, we believe they will give a conservative outsider with the right experience a chance.”

In the final stretch the Perdue campaign will focus on Kingston’s record in Washington, he said.

“During his 22 years in Washington, Congressman Kingston’s liberal spending has added $13 trillion to our crushing federal debt,” he said. “David presents a clear alternative to the career politicians that got our country in the mess we are in today.”


After reviewing an executive summary provided to both campaigns, Kingston told Human Events he is running on his record.

“I am proud to have the support of so many conservatives all across Georgia uniting behind my plan to cut the budget, strengthen our national defense, and encourage robust private sector job creation,” he said.

“These trying times call for principled resolve and unyielding determination, not moderate flip flopping,” he said. “If elected, I will always work to take Georgia values to the U.S. Senate and not the other way around.”

Chris Crawford, Kingston’s campaign press secretary, said as the campaign enters its final days, the congressman’s record is their strong suit.

“Our focus is on communicating Jack’s record as the consistent, proven conservative in this race who has the ability and the plan to change the status quo in the U.S. Senate,” he said.

“We will continue connecting with grassroots conservatives all across Georgia to ensure their voice is heard on July 22,” he said.

Crawford said the Human Events/Gravis poll results are consistent on his own internal polling.

“Public polls as well as our internal numbers reflect what we are seeing on the ground and that is conservatives from all across Georgia rallying around Jack Kingston’s vision for the future of our country,” he said.


“He has put forward a plan that unites conservatives behind the ideals of bolstering national defense, balancing the budget, and encouraging private sector job creation,” he said.

“The recent endorsements of Karen Handel, Phil Gingrey, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, and conservative commentator Erick Erickson are clear signs that Jack Kingston can build the conservative coalition necessary to win in November,” he said.

“Thousands of grassroots conservatives from all across Georgia, more than 400 locally-elected officials, and leaders in the national conservative movement like Sean Hannity, Fair Tax architect John Linder, conservative businessman Steve Forbes and even legendary running back Herschel Walker,” he said. “It’s clear Jack Kingston is the right candidate for the right time.”

James Kahrs, a Washington-based political consultant with strong ties to Georgia, said Kingston is one of the few conservatives on Capitol Hill, who has mastered how to get-along with other members of Congress without sacrificing his ideals.

Professor Charles S. Bullock III, the Richard B. Russell professor of political science at the University of Georgia, said he sees voters moving to Kingston after the initial primary vote.

“The 11-point Kingston advantage that your poll reports is right in line with 2 other recent surveys,” he said.


“Each of these surveys has Kingston right around 50 percent, meaning that he has doubled the support that he received on May 20. A reasonable interpretation is that supporters of candidates eliminated in the first round of voting are more likely to rally to Kingston than Perdue,” he said.

“Four months ago, Perdue was completely unknown,” he said. “He surged to the top of the crowded primary field with extensive TV advertising.”

Bullock said Perdue raised his name recognition, but one commercial backfired against him.

“His most heavily used ad showed his four leading opponents as crying babies,” he said.

“It was a tactical mistake to lump them together since that reduced the likelihood that supporters of the three candidates no longer in the hunt will turn to Perdue,” he said. “It was a rookie mistake – not thinking that if you make it into the runoff you will then hope to attract supporters of the eliminated candidates.”

The professor said in the runoff primary system, there is a process for winning.

“The first priority in a runoff is to get those who voted for you in the first round to go back to the polls,” he said. “Both candidates are working on that.”

After convincing your supporters to show up to the polls one more time, the candidate must expand their base, he said.

“The second priority is to win over those orphaned voters whose first preference is no longer available and it is here that Kingston seems to be winning the day,” he said.


“The outcome will be settled in metro Atlanta and Kingston did poorly there in May.  He needs to make inroads among those who backed Handel and Gingrich and those two have endorsed him,” he said.

Kingston also needs to energize his base, he said.

“He also needs to have strong turnout in the southern Georgia counties he has represented in his 22 years in Congress,” he said. “He ran exceptionally well there in May. Georgia’s Coastal Empire, as it likes to call itself, does not often have one of its own in the Senate so those voters have an added incentive to return to the polls in July.”

The June 11-12 Human Events/Gravis poll of 1,140 Georgia Republicans shows Rep. John H. “Jack” Kingston leading businessman David Perdue 49 percent to 38 percent, as the two men close in on the July 22 primary runoff.

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