Democrats Look to Target Chambliss

Posted August 12, 2008 at 3:00pm

Just one week after their preferred nominee emerged from a runoff to face Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), national Democrats released a new survey Tuesday that indicated they are taking a serious look at trying to move the Peach State race into the competitive column before November.

In the Democratic poll, Chambliss garnered 42 percent while former state Rep. Jim Martin (D) garnered 36 percent. The Mellman Group survey was conducted for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Martin’s campaign. It was taken Aug. 6-10 and had a 4-point margin of error.

The poll also found that 66 percent of respondents said the country is on the wrong track. Additionally, 31 percent said Chambliss is going a good job, 24 percent said fair and 14 percent responded poor.

Martin, who was widely viewed as the best general election candidate, handily defeated DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones in the Aug. 5 runoff.

Although Chambliss has a massive cash-on-hand advantage, the DSCC could complicate things for the first-term Senator if it decides to put resources into the contest.

While Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is not expected to win the state in the November presidential race, an increase in turnout among Georgia’s large black population is viewed as a potential factor that could help Democratic candidates downballot.

Chambliss defeated then-Sen. Max Cleland (D) in 2002.

Chambliss’ campaign said the poll had little merit. Other public polls have shown Chambliss with a wide lead.

“This poll is as bogus as the endorsements Martin made up in the primary and had to retract,” Chambliss campaign spokeswoman Michelle Grasso said.