Perdue 2006 v. Barnes 2002.

In 2002 Roy Barnes sought reelection with an intimidating war chest of almost twenty million dollars and a solid lead in the polls. In 2006 Roy Barnes is back in private practice and his 2002 opponent Sonny Perdue seeks reelection with a large war chest and a solid lead in the polls. There are some similarities between Barnes in 2002 and Perdue in 2006, but Perdue does not have that air of invincibility that surrounded Barnes in the fall of 2002. As I recall, Barnes was even touted as a 2004 Presidential candidate, and nobody is publicly talking about Perdue in those terms.

Considering what happened to Barnes, it is fair to ask if Sonny Perdue is headed for a November 7 upset? Only time will tell, but I thought it might be interesting to compare the public opinion polls Barnes enjoyed in 2002 with the data Perdue enjoys today.

I did an archive search at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to see just how large Barnes’ lead was in September and October of 2002 and could not find any poll results reported by the AJC in September. The polling data as reported in October and November are listed below. For comparison purposes, I’ve listed the most recent polling data for Perdue v. Taylor.

I also could not find any data showing Barnes with as big a lead as Perdue has now. As you can see, in the days leading up to the 2002 election, Barnes had a solid eleven point lead over Perdue. However, I found no evidence that Barnes had a 19 point lead as Mason-Dixon says Perdue has now. Furthermore, if Barnes had a 19 point lead in September and then only a 11 point lead in October, one would think the storyline would have been Perdue’s late surge – which as we all remember was not the case. Therefore I’ve concluded that Barnes never had that large a lead. If someone has information to show otherwise, please post it.

It will be interesting to track the poll results in October to watch for a Taylor surge, but the polling data certainly looks favorable for Perdue at this point.

Insider Advantage Mason-Dixon Strategic Vision
9/19-9/20/06 9/23 – 9/27/06 9/22 – 9/24/06
Perdue 52 53 51
Taylor 32 34 38
Hayes 6 2 4
AJC/WSB Mason-Dixon AJC/WSB
10/05/02 10/xx/02 11/04/02
Perdue 42 39 40
Barnes 49 48 51
Hayes 2 ? ?

9 comments

  1. LymanHall says:

    I think the key for the upset to work is getting Sonny under 50%. The earlier polls show that Barnes, while he had a commanding lead, was not over 50 in the polls until days before the election. If MT can muddy the waters with negative ads, October surprises, etc, and Sonny gets under 50, I agree that anything will be able to happen come Nov. 7 (or in a run-off for that matter).

  2. Even if he ends up winning, Sonny’s support is a mile wide and an inch deep, as the saying goes. I don’t think he’ll have built up any political equity to spend on anything but his most popular sounding reforms.

    In that scenario, the interesting thing is what do Republicans in the legislature do…obviously they will view Sonny as a lame duck and there will be a marathon to determine who is the best (most conservative) Republican to run in 2010.

    At that point, would Georgia be headed down a South Dakota like path sure to alienate moderate Atlanta voters. Remember, the Republicans built their majority on rural party switchers, and those districts and their influence on statewide politics are waning, not growing.

  3. Mad Dog says:

    Laughing. Can’t help myself.

    So Mark Taylor has to win one, tie one, and win one to be Governor?

    It was funnier when I thought he had two run off elections in there.

    My bad.

  4. defnotrep says:

    Sonny’s been on the airwaves continuously since April, and he is only in the low 50’s.

    This race is going down to the wire.

  5. defnotrep says:

    Yes Mad Dog. I do indeed. That mailer is such garbage. Too bad we can’t have a serious debate, about serious issues, with serious people.

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