ATLANTA — Karen Handel has ridden a wave of growing support to pass Jack Kingston in the GOP Senate primary race to take second place and come within the margin of error with front-runner David Perdue, according to a poll released Thursday.
Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, has steadily gained in recent surveys as Perdue has held the top spot. Kingston, a U.S. House member from Savannah, has enjoyed little benefit from major investments in TV spots.
U.S. Reps. Paul Broun, of Athens, and Phil Gingrey, of Marietta, remain rooted in fourth and fifth places, respectively.
In the latest poll, Perdue has the support of 22 percent; Handel, 21 percent; Kingston, 17 percent; Broun, 14 percent; and Gingrey, 12 percent. Three percent were split between underfunded newcomers Art Gardner and Derrick Grayson, and 11 percent were undecided.
The poll shows Gov. Nathan Deal dominating the GOP race for governor, with support from two of every three primary voters. Former Dalton Mayor David Pennington holds 11 percent of the support, and state Superintendent John Barge has 4 percent, with 19 percent undecided.
InsiderAdvantage conducted the survey by automated telephone calls and online with Opinionsavvy on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Responses by 737 likely primary voters were selected at random to yield a 3.5 percent margin of error. The pollsters weighted the results to reflect the age, race and gender of the expected turnout.
“Kingston has been losing metro-Atlanta female support with his ‘folksy’ TV ads for weeks,” said Matt Towery, InsiderAdvantage’s CEO. “Handel, who usually does not poll as well with female voters, is picking up significant female support and is starting to leave both David Perdue and Jack Kingston substantially behind with women.