A pair of polls on the Georgia Senate race continue to show a close race between Republican David Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nunn.
The first, from CNN, gives Nunn a 3-point lead at 47 percent to Perdue's 44 percent. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's poll, meanwhile, finds Perdue with a lead of 2 points, 44 percent to 42 percent.
The AJC poll ends a steady streak of Nunn leading or being tied in the polls since the beginning of the month. Nunn has a 1-point lead in the Real Clear Politics average of polls, a reversal of positions of the candidates from a month ago. The Democrat has cut into Perdue's support by casting the Republican as an out-of-touch businessman:
Yet Perdue finds himself in worse shape than Deal. His poll numbers have stalled in the mid-40s, and Nunn has led or tied him in the last five polls. That may be due to sustained ad campaigns from Nunn and the Democrats focusing on Perdue’s work for Pillowtex, a troubled North Carolina-based textile company. Perdue joined Pillowtex as CEO in 2002, earning more than $2 million in salary and bonuses while trying to manage the company out of decline. He left after 10 months, and Pillowtex went under shortly thereafter, laying off nearly 5,000 employees.
The Pillowtex story reared its ugly head with a report in early October about a 2005 sworn deposition in which Perdue says he “spent most of my career” doing outsourcing. A reporter asked Perdue to defend the outsourcing. “Defend it?” he said, on camera. “I’m proud of it.” The clip has featured in Nunn ads flooding the Atlanta media market. Suddenly, Perdue’s biggest asset—his business career—has become a liability.
And it’s one the Perdue campaign is trying desperately to avoid. Before my brief phone interview with Perdue, a campaign staffer called twice to confirm that I wouldn’t ask about the “outsourcing” comment. When I did, Perdue dismissed it as “right out of the Democratic playbook.”
“They’ve tried it since Day One,” he said. “It’s not sticking.”
The polls suggest otherwise. Only the most loyal Perdue Republicans still talk about winning outright on Election Day. More likely is that neither Perdue nor Nunn will win 50 percent of the vote (there’s a Libertarian party candidate running as well), and the race will proceed to a January 6 runoff. Republicans like their chances in the runoff, even with a flawed candidate. Georgia swing voters may not be in love with Republicans anymore, but they’re not enamored with Democrats, either.