Political Insider

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Georgia 2018: A Republican race for No. 2 sharpens

The contours of the Georgia race for governor are beginning to get a little more definition.

A poll released late Tuesday by 11Alive News shows Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle leading the GOP field with 35 percent – and Secretary of State Brian Kemp solidly in second-place with 17 percent.

It’s the first poll that doesn’t show Kemp bunched up with other rivals in the race for the No. 2 spot in next week’s vote. The poll of likely voters conducted by SurveyUSA has former state Sen. Hunter Hill at 10 percent and executive Clay Tippins at 8 percent.

State Sen. Michael Williams is within the margin of error at 3 percent. Roughly one-quarter of GOP voters are undecided.

According to the 11Alive/Survey USA poll, the Democratic side is starting to take shape, too. Stacey Abrams leads Stacey Evans 43-24, with roughly one-third of voters undecided.

It’s always a little iffy to compare two different polls conducted by two different outfits -- methods and the sampling pool won’t be identical.

However, a poll conducted by the AJC and Channel 2 earlier this month had Cagle with a commanding lead in the GOP race and Kemp and Hill in a statistical tie for second. That was before Kemp put $1 million behind two provocative ads that earned him national attention – and outrage from Democratic critics.

On the Democratic side, the AJC/WSB poll showed Abrams leading Evans 32-15 – with more than half of likely primary voters undecided.

Some other findings from the SurveyUSA poll:

-Cagle leads both Abrams and Evans in a head-to-head matchup by about four percentage points.

-Abrams leads Evans among black voters, the biggest bloc of the Democratic electorate, by a 47-17 margin. They are running roughly even among white voters.

-Cagle has the lion’s share of voters who identify as conservative (35 percent) while Kemp did best with younger voters.

--About one-third of voters said they were less likely to vote for Abrams because of the more than $200,000 in debt she owes. Of those, only 1 in 6 were Democrats. Two-thirds of Democrats and one-half of independents said it made no difference. One in 10 Democrats said it made it more likely they’ll back her.

Insider’s note: This item was ripped from the Morning Jolt.


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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.