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YARBROUGH: Early poll in on Georgia's next top politician

Now that the legislative session is — drum roll, please — history, it is time to turn our sights to the governor's race.

The C. Richard Yarbrough Multinational Media and Pest Control Company is pleased to announce the results of the first comprehensive poll on the upcoming gubernatorial campaign by its subsidiary, Round or Square, Inc., one of the nation's leading opinion research firms located in a pool hall in Greater Garfield, Ga.

The poll results would have been announced sooner said Junior E. Lee, general manager of Round or Square Polls Inc. But he has been busy trying to get bumble bees out of Ida Mae Prupper's dresser drawers before there is some serious damage.

Junior says the first question in the poll concerned prayer — as in, I had better pray that Gov. George E. Perdue doesn't find a way to get himself re-elected. "The governor had some bond money squirreled away — Junior loves to use pest control lingo when explaining polling results — to finish off a horse barn in Perry and you wouldn't quit making fun of the project. The legislators decided to drop the idea before voters took it out on them next November.

"The governor is used to getting his way," Junior said, "and if I was you I wouldn't go around any concrete fish ponds. You could end up turtle bait."

Fully chastised, I asked Junior E. Lee what his polls say about the upcoming primaries. "Roy Barnes is supposed to be the leading Democratic contender but nobody has heard much from him since he went to Massachusetts and the Kennedys gave him an award for trying to change the Georgia state flag, which I don't believe was any of their beeswax. (Junior again using pest control terminology.) Our polls suggest he might want to return the award. Otherwise, he'll need to stay out of places like Hortense and Hahira. Those folks aren't big on the Kennedys."

How about the other Democratic candidates? "Rep. DuBose Porter, of Dublin, is a bargain. You elect him governor and his wife, Carol, as lieutenant governor and get two for the price of one. And you wouldn't have the name calling like we've had in the past. The governor says something ugly about the lieutenant governor and she will pinch his ear."

"David Poythress was the state's adjutant general," Junior reminded me. "There is a strong sense that if he gets elected, he may invade Alabama and Florida and get our drinking water back."

And Attorney General Thurbert Baker, I asked? "Our polls indicated nobody had ever heard of him until the Republicans started talking about him all the time. Now, he is a hero to Democrats but he won't win." Because of his race? "Because of his haircut," Junior said. "He has the worst haircut I've ever seen and nobody will listen to his campaign speeches because they'll be looking at his hair and wondering if he is wearing a toupee."

What about the Republicans?

"It's a pretty open primary. Nobody south of the Gnat Line knows who Nathan Deal of Gainesville is. Nobody north of the Gnat Line has heard of Eric Johnson, from Savannah. Karen Handel has the women voting for her. John Oxendine has all the insurance agents voting for him. State Rep. Austin Scott, from Tifton, said he was going to win by walking across Georgia and was last seen in the middle of I-20 near Oxford. State Sen. Jeff Chapman, of Brunswick, and Carl Camon, former mayor of Ray City, are only 12 percentage points behind ‘Who Cares?'

"Then there is the guy from Morgan County, Ray Boyd, who is putting up $2 million of his own money to run for a job that pays $140,000 and won't swear to being a Republican. Let's face it," Junior said, "Republicans can be as weird as Democrats sometimes."

I asked Junior if he had had time to analyze the upcoming congressional elections. "No sir," he said emphatically, "Not until I get the bees out of Ida Mae's drawers."

Criticize Junior E. Lee and his poll if you wish, but you have to admit he has his priorities in order.

E-mail columnist Dick Yarbrough at yarb2400@bellsouth.net.