(1) Poll finds Perdue, Cox dead even in race for governor; (2) Findings on Perdue show Democrats with reason for hope.
68 percent of poll participants said they had a favorable impression of Perdue, who has come across as a friendly everyman during his first 2 1/2 years in office, making up for legislative setbacks with a common touch.
Cox also had a high approval rating, 62 percent, while 47 percent had a favorable impression of Taylor.
The promising numbers could help Cox make up some of the fund-raising ground she has ceded to Taylor, who raised $1.3 million in the final nine months of 2004, while Cox didn't start collecting money until this year.
"This will really produce a new conventional wisdom about the Democrat primary," Emory University political scientist Merle Black said of the AJC poll.
Rick Dent, a consultant for Taylor's campaign, responded: "This poll is just another in a long series of polls that show Sonny Perdue is extremely vulnerable to our Democratic candidates. And we believe in the next 18 months, Mark Taylor's record of protecting HOPE scholarships, creating jobs and expanding family health care, and his ability to get things done, will prevail over both Cox and Perdue."
Black, the Emory expert, said the fact that fewer than half of the respondents say Perdue is doing a good or excellent job provides Democrats with reason for hope.
"If he were running with two-thirds of people saying he is doing a good job, it would look bleak for Democrats," he said.