As Gov. Zell Miller last week launched his reelection campaign, a newspaper poll said his approval rating had risen to 62%, the highest since the Democrat took office in 1991.

According to the survey completed Tuesday by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia State University, Miller's popularity has risen 10 percentage points since a similar poll was taken in December.

On Monday, Miller kicked off his campaign from Young Harris College, the small college in north Georgia where he received his bachelor's degree in 1951. He then began a five-day tour of 30 cities in the state.

Miller is seeking the office despite a pledge made in 1990, when first running for governor, that he would not seek a second term.

"It was becoming increasingly obvious from the way that [Republicans] were talking that my programs that I've worked so hard at were at risk, and that if they had a chance, they were going to dismantle them," he said, explaining his reversal. "I'm not going to sit still and watch that happen." Miller's campaign is stressing crime prevention and the state's booming economy.

With the filing deadline now passed, Miller will be opposed by three Democrats in the July 19 party primary: state Rep. Charles Poag, D-Elston, Mark Tate of LaGrange, and Jim Boyd of Duluth. Four Republicans are seeking their party's nomination on the same day: Paul Heard of Peachtree City, John Knox of Waycross, Nimrod McNair of Tucker, Guy W. Millner of Atlanta, and Leonard Morris of Tifton.

The survey was based on telephone interviews with 805 adults in Georgia, 508 of whom were registered to vote, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4%.

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