Democrat Michelle Nunn leads tight U.S. Senate race in Georgia: poll

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 24, 2014 12:52 PM

By Colleen Jenkins

(Reuters) - Democrat Michelle Nunn has a narrow lead in the U.S. Senate race in Georgia, according to a poll released on Friday, ensuring the state's open seat will remain a key national focus as Democrats and Republicans fight for majority control of the chamber.

Nunn, the daughter of Georgia's former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, drew 47 percent support from likely voters compared to 44 percent for Republican David Perdue, a survey by CNN/ORC International showed.

Her edge is within the 4 percent margin of error for the poll conducted October 19-22.

Democrats consider Nunn, a first-time candidate, among their best chances to pick up a Senate seat in an election year when several of the party's incumbents, especially in the U.S. South, are considered vulnerable.

The Georgia seat is held by Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss, who is retiring. Republicans need to gain at least six seats to take the majority of the Senate, which Democrats currently control by a margin of 53-45, with two independents.

Georgia has not elected a Democratic senator since 2000. Nunn trailed Perdue, a former Fortune 500 executive, for much of September but in recent weeks has been gaining ground in polls.

Perdue, also making his first run for political office, may have been hurt by comments in a 2005 deposition, when he said he had spent most of his career outsourcing jobs.

The CNN poll showed one of Nunn's biggest advantages was with likely women voters, who backed her 56 percent over 38 percent for Perdue.

Georgia's gubernatorial race also remains tight, according to the survey. Democrat Jason Carter, a state senator and grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, led 48 percent to 46 percent over incumbent Republican Governor Nathan Deal.

That contest could end up in a run-off, too, if no one gets at least 50 percent of the vote.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Bill Trott)