A new Zogby Interactive poll of likely voters in Georgia shows less than 40% of likely Georgia voters believe incumbent Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss deserves re-election.
The survey also shows that he is locked in a statistical dead heat with former Senate staffer and new Democratic challenger Josh Lanier when their names and party affiliations are stripped from the question and just their biographies and key positions are provided to likely voters.
Asked whether Senator Chambliss deserves to be re-elected or whether it is time for someone new, just 38% said he deserves another six-year term in Washington. Nearly half—49%—said they think it is time for someone new to represent Georgia in the United States Senate, while 13% said they were unsure on the question.
When Chambliss’ biography is matched against the bio and positions of Lanier, the survey shows Lanier’s bio wins 47% support, compared to 45% who would favor Chambliss’ bio. Another 8% said they were uncertain whom to support.
The “blind bio,” a common tool of the public opinion research profession, measures the qualities that individual candidates bring to a political race by eliminating name identification from the equation. Of course, in real world politics, names are important features of every race.
The survey shows 90% of Democrats would support Lanier, while 82% of Republicans would support Chambliss. Among political independents, the Lanier bio leads by a 57% to 32% margin, with 11% undecided. Younger voters are much more attracted to the Lanier bio, while older voters favored that of Chambliss. Men heavily favored the Chambliss bio, while women heavily favored the Lanier bio.
The survey also found that Lanier’s desire to reform the campaign finance system resonates well with a strong majority of respondents, as 69% agreed with a statement that corporate and political action money has corrupted the election and political process, and the influence of special interests must be removed in order to make real progress on issues important to average Americans.
That support continues when respondents are asked if they would support a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate to create a system of voluntary public financing of elections in an effort to limit special interest group influence, as 62% say they support the bill, and 32% of those people say they would strongly support such a measure.
The Zogby Interactive survey, conducted online during the dates of Jan. 9-11, included 860 likely voters in Georgia, and carries a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points.
Georgians are mostly pessimistic about the direction in which the country is headed, the poll shows. One in four – 26% – said they think the nation is going in the right direction, while 61% said they think the country is off on the wrong track. Asked about the state of the U.S. economy, just 22% said it was in good or excellent shape, while 50% said it is in poor or very poor shape.
Asked what issue is the most important facing America today, a plurality said the economy was most important, while terrorism was rated the second most important issue. The war in Iraq was seen as the third-most important issue facing the country.