PPP's first poll of the Georgia Senate race finds incumbent Johnny Isakson ahead, but below the 50% mark generally considered safe for an incumbent. Isakson's at 47% to 35% for challenger Jim Barksdale. Voters are pretty evenly divided in their feelings about Isakson- 40% approve of the job he's doing to 37% who disapprove. Barksdale is relatively unknown- 59% of voters have no opinion about him one way or another- but among voters who are familiar with him he actually leads Isakson 50/43 which bodes well for him as voters become more familiar with him.
Isakson is certainly the favorite, but there are several issues that shape up well for Democrats in this race:
-58% of voters in the state think there should be hearings on Merrick Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court, to only 28% opposed to them. Democrats (79/9) and independents (58/24) overwhelmingly support hearings, while Republicans (40/45) are pretty evenly split on them.
-69% of voters in the state support increasing the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, compared to 17% who think it should stay where it is and 12% who would prefer to eliminate the minimum wage altogether. 98% of Democrats, 57% of independents, and 55% of Republicans are in support of an increase to at least $10.
-87% of voters in the state support background checks on all gun purchases, to only 8% who are opposed to them. There's little partisan division on that issue, with 93% of Democrats, 87% of Republicans, and 81% of independents in support of expanded checks.
Moving to state politics, voters are pretty evenly divided on Nathan Deal's job performance as Governor, with 39% of voters approving of him to 44% who disapprove. Deal's numbers are a little unusual in that he has relatively weak numbers within his own party (50/35) but stronger than usual crossover support from Democrats (30/56). One reason for those unusual splits might be his recent veto of the campus carry bill. Overall voters stand with him on that- only 37% support the bill to 52% who oppose it. But Republicans support it 57/29, which may explain part of his weak numbers with them, and Democrats oppose it 12/80, which may explain part of his unusually strong numbers with them.
One state issue where we continue to find voters standing with the Democrats is Medicaid Expansion. 54% support it to only 30% who are opposed. Democrats are much more unified in their support of it (85/6) than Republicans are in their opposition (28/46), and independents pretty closely mirror the overall support (54/35).