A poll released Thursday puts Nathan Deal slightly ahead of his Democratic counterpart in the race to be Georgia’s next governor.
The poll, conducted by InsiderAdvantage for WSB TV, shows Deal with the support of 45 percent of voters likely to cast a ballot in November’s election.
Roy Barnes, the poll shows, has the support of 41 percent of voters surveyed, while Libertarian John Monds has the support of 5 percent.
Barnes campaign spokesman said the Democratic nominee for governor does not comment on polls, whether they are good or bad news for his campaign, but Deal’s spokesman, Brian Robinson, didn’t miss the opportunity.
Robinson said the poll showed Republicans have been able to mend fences fairly quickly after a brutal primary nearly split the party in half in a decision between Deal and former Secretary of State Karen Handel as the Republican nominee.
Deal secured the nomination with fewer than a 3,000-vote lead over Handel.
And while Deal and Handel sparred over the nomination throughout July and August, Barnes had his sights set on November.
He released his first television advertisement for the general election before the Republican nominee was even decided.
Deal has yet to release an advertisement for the general election.
“This is great news for the Deal campaign, because Nathan is maintaining a lead even after going through a brutal primary and withstanding a week and a half or more of negative ads running all over Georgia,” Robinson said.
But Robinson said the early poll won’t be anything the Deal campaign will use as an excuse for a break.
“We’re going to run this race as if it’s going to be tight,” he said. “We’re going to run as if we’re five points down.”