Polls show Chambliss with narrow lead in Georgia runoff

The race between incumbent Republican Saxbe Chambliss and his Democratic challenger Jim Martin is very tight with Chambliss leading narrowly in most polls.

The two are in a runoff for the seat with a vote scheduled for December 2.

The poll results are nearly the same as the numbers for both candidates put up on election day. The poll was conducted by Politico:

The poll shows Chambliss leading Martin by three points, 50 to 47 percent, with three percent of respondents undecided. The first-term GOP senator's lead is within the poll’s four-point margin of error. The Politico/InsiderAdvantage poll surveyed 523 likely voters on November 23.

The poll numbers are almost identical to the general election results, when Chambliss fell just short of the 50 percent necessary to win the seat outright on Election Night. He led Martin 49.8 to 46.8 percent, with a Libertarian candidate taking three percent of the vote.

“This thing’s going to be a nailbiter. We don’t know who’s going to turn out and we don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but it’s going to be a close race,” said InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery.

With Chambliss barely at 50% this is not good news for the GOP. These runoff races have historically low turnout so only the most committed would probably be going to the polls. Since a lot of conservatives are disgusted with Chambliss for his vote for the bailout, this could tip the scales in Martin's favor.

Insider Advantage's Towery believes that if Obama makes an appearance in Georgia right before the vote, it may prove to be decisive. But Obama has been very careful so far about getting too involved in this race. He has sent some of his operatives to Georgia but beyond that has kept something of a hands off approach.

If Obama were to get out front in backing Martin and the Democrat were to lose, it would take a little bit of luster off his own victory and signal that his influence may not be as big as some experts assumed. Obama is going to need every bit of his personal popularity to get his program through Congress so there is a chance that he may stay away - especially if it appears that Chambliss is going to win.

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