Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Georgia Senate 2010

Johnny Isakson Approval

Approve 30
Disapprove 25
Not Sure 44

Isakson 45
Thurbert Baker 39

Isakson 47
Jim Marshall 38

New polling from PPP finds a high level of ambivalence toward first term Senator Johnny Isakson from Georgia voters. Only 30% of voters approve of his job performance but there isn't a large mass that disapproves either- a plurality have no opinion of him one way or the other.

Isakson has not done much to appeal across party lines during his first term. His approval among Democrats is just 8%. The problems with the economy may be hurting his appeal as well. Among voters who name it as their top issue just 27% approve of him with 29% disapproving.

In purely hypothetical match ups with Attorney General Thurbert Baker and Congressman Jim Marshall Isakson leads by six and nine points respectively. In each case there are at least twice as many undecided Democratic voters as there are Republican voters, an indication that the Democrats have more room to gain against Isakson once they line up behind a candidate.

Those leads for Isakson may seem solid but it is worth keeping in mind that early polling showed Jim Martin much further behind Saxby Chambliss than this poll shows Baker and Marshall behind Isakson. A June Strategic Vision poll showed Chambliss leading Martin 57-28 in what was then a hypothetical match up, and even as recently as September after Martin had been chosen as the nominee a SurveyUSA poll showed Chambliss leading him 53-36. It looks like at this very preliminary stage Isakson may be more vulnerable than Chambliss was.

The question of course is whether Democrats will strongly contest the seat. They don't have the deepest bench in Georgia, but Jim Martin's success has shown that even a relative obscure candidate can compete in the state under the right circumstances.

This data was derived from the same poll that showed Chambliss ahead of Martin 52-46 in the runoff yesterday.

Full results here.

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