August 6, 2013: The Day Democrats Were Optimistic About Winning a Senate Race in Georgia

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 6 2013 2:30 PM

August 6, 2013: The Day Democrats Were Optimistic About Winning a Senate Race in Georgia

Public Policy Polling dives into Georgia and comes back with numbers that are almost unbelievably promising for Democrats. The party's recruit is Michelle Nunn, son of former Sen. Sam Nunn (it's "his seat," actually, though Sen. Saxby Chambliss has held it since 2003), who runs the Points of Light foundation but has never run for anything. Her appeal as a candidate was rooted in just those two things -- her connections to charitable givers, and her name.

Start with the name. This poll gives Sam Nunn a 56-12 favorable rating, 18 years after he left office. (He hasn't quite disappeared, and was mentioned off and on as a possible 2008 running mate for Barack Obama.) Compare that to the favorables that PPP found for Dick Cheney in Wyoming: 54-36. So, Nunn's name has nothing but good associations for now.

On to the crosstabs. Nunn is competitive every possible Republican candidate, leading most of them, tying Rep. Phil Gingrey and former Dollar General CEO David Perdue. Hang on -- that's not great for Nunn! Gingrey is seen by national Democrats as one of the beatable extreme candidates, and Perdue, like Nunn, has never run for anything. (Dollar General also lacks some of Points of Lights's positive sheen.) This is good enough for Democrats to keep looking at Georgia, and they are, looking at Nunn as the sort of candidate to rebuild the state party around.

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So far she's good at dodging questions. That's important!

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.