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The Shutdown Helps Michelle Nunn Beat Paul Broun

The government shutdown might help Democrats pick up a Republican-held Senate seat in Georgia, according to a new poll.

Public Policy Polling found that Georgians oppose the shutdown 61 percent to 31 percent, and that opposition is hurting Republican candidates to replace the retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

The Democratic frontrunner, Michelle Nunn, is tied with a generic Republican at 42 percent. 

Forty-seven percent of voters said they’re less likely to support Reps. Paul Broun (R-Athens), Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) or Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) due to their roles in shutting down the government. Only 32 percent said they’re more likely to support them.

All three have taken a hard line on the shutdown in a state where, according to PPP, 65 percent of GOP voters view the tea party favorably. Broun, for example, continues to oppose any bill to reopen the government that doesn’t defund Obamacare, even as many of his colleagues have moved on in an effort to cut a deal.

“I fear that we have taken our eyes off of the ball, and as a result, I will vote against any deal which does not stop Obamacare for all Americans, regardless of any promises made to compromise on the budget, tax reform, or changes to entitlement programs down the road,” Broun said Friday. “The cost of Obamacare’s massive new entitlement spending will vastly eclipse any savings from these potential reforms, and defunding it should remain our top priority.”

Not surprisingly, the poll revealed a deep partisan divide. Eighty-six percent of Democrats oppose the shutdown, while 54 percent of Republicans support it. So it benefits candidates in the Republican primary to be seen as shutting down the government to stop the Affordable Care Act.

But in a general election (assuming voters still remember a year from now), the issue hurts the GOP. When told about the congressmen’s positions on the shutdown, poll respondents gave Nunn a 48-42 edge.

Republicans need to win six seats next year to take the Senate, but PPP found similar results in other red-leaning and swing states with Democratic senators. Louisiana’s Mary Landreau, Arkansas’ Mark Pryor and North Carolina’s Kay Hagan are all ahead of their Republican challengers. Democrat Bruce Braley is also winning the race for an open seat in Iowa.