Republican Johnny Isakson is safely outside of runoff territory in Georgia's U.S. Senate race, according to a new poll out Friday.
Quinnipiac University shows the two-term incumbent comfortably leading Democrat Jim Barksdale among Georgia voters, 54 to 40 percent. Those numbers, should they hold through Election Day, mean Isakson would be able to avoid a costly nine-week runoff, which would occur if no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 8.
Recent surveys -- including our own-- reported similar levels of support for Isakson over Barksdale, but said the Republican was within runoff territory.
The Quinnipiac poll notably did not include Allen Buckley, who's presence on the ballot increases the likelihood of a runoff. The Libertarian was able to force an overtime battle between Republican Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin after securing 2.1 percent of the vote on election day in 2008.
Thesurvey reported that Barksdale held a slight advantage over Isakson among voters who cast their ballots early, 47 percent to 46 percent.
“Sen. Johnny Isakson looks like a cinch for reelection November 8," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "But today he’s locked in a too-close-to-call race with challenger Jim Barksdale among likely voters who cast early ballots."