Last week we asked Peach Pundit readers to go to PPP and vote for Georgia to be included in their weekely poll. We won, and we were. Courtesy of that effort, we have some polling numbers showing Saxby Chambliss has some shoring up of his base to do. But that those who have expressed interest poll behind one who has said he’s happy at WSB. No, not Erick, but Herman Cain:
Only 38% of Republican primary voters say they want Chambliss to be their nominee next year, compared to 43% who would prefer someone more conservative. But Chambliss stomps most of the people who’ve shown the most interest in taking him on. He leads Congressman Paul Broun by a 57/14 margin in a head to head, has a 50/22 advantage over Congressman Tom Price, and leads former Secretary of State Karen Handel 52/23.
By far and away the Republican who would pose the greatest threat to Chambliss in a primary, if he changed his mind about running, is Herman Cain. Cain would lead Chambliss 50-36 in a hypothetical match up. Cain has a 68/20 favorability rating with GOP primary voters, which compares quite favorably to Chambliss’ 45/36 approval spread. Other long shot candidates we tested against Chambliss were Allen West, who trails 47/26, and Erick Erickson who trails 51/22.
Chambliss is extremely weak with Republicans describing themselves as ‘very conservative.’ 61% of them would like to replace him, compared to only 23% who would like to see him nominated again. He would trail Cain 68/19 with that group of voters.
And let’s assume that Chambliss is the nominee. He’ll then have a likely Democratic challenger. Who fares best in this hypothetical matchup?
he only Democrat who comes particularly close to Chambliss is 2002 foe Max Cleland, who despite being quite popular with a 50/27 favorability rating, only musters a tie at 45. Chambliss leads former Governor Roy Barnes 48-40, Congressman John Barrow 50-37, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed 52-37, and State Senator Jason Carter 52-34. Those folks are all of a higher caliber probably than who the Democrats will be able to get to run, and they still don’t come all that close.
The reason Chambliss does so well against all of those folks is that he actually has a fair amount of appeal to Democrats. 28% approve of him, a lot more crossover support than we see for most politicians these days. If Chambliss was taken out in the primary, it’s likely the Republicans would end up with a nominee who doesn’t have that going for them. We tested Tom Price against all the Democrats as well and he would trail Cleland 47-39 and Barnes 46-40 while leading Barrow only 40-38, Reed 43-38, and Carter 42-36. It could have the potential to be a race if Chambliss does get primaried.
So, Chambliss isn’t the favorite of Republican primary voters except for everyone else that may be running. And he’s liked by enough Democrats that he would likely survivie re-election when nominated. That’s the snapshot for today. Just 20 months until the primary and 23 months until the general to watch these numbers change.