Survey USA shows GOP prospects brightening in Georgia

Democrats hoped to steal a march on Republicans in Georgia as they continue to assail the GOP’s lock on the South, but the project seems to be going in the other direction. Survey USA took a look at the ballot before the general election starts in earnest after Labor Day, and shows that the GOP has a comfortable lead in both big races. Michelle Nunn’s name recognition was supposed to give Democrats a lift in the Senate race to fill the open seat left by Saxby Chambliss’ retirement, but surprise GOP nominee David Perdue has quickly reached the 50% mark in its poll:

In an election today for US Senator, to fill an open seat vacated by Saxby Chambliss, Republican David Perdue defeats Democrat Michelle Nunn 50% to 41%. (Michelle is Sam Nunn’s daughter.) Libertarian Amanda Swafford gets 3% today. 6% are undecided. Perdue’s lead comes entirely from men, where he leads by 19 points. Atlanta votes Democratic. Northwest GA votes 2:1 Republican. South and East GA votes 5:4 Republican. The contest has national ramifications; Republicans need to hold the seat to have a chance to capture control of the U.S. Senate in the next Congress.

That’s a big shift for Perdue from Survey USA’s June poll, when he led by just 5 points at 43/38. Nunn leads among women, but only barely at 46/44, within the margin of error. She also barely leads among young voters (18-34YOs) by 45/41, while Perdue leads all other age demos by eight or more points, and by 17 in the next youngest demo of 35-49YOs, 54/37. Perdue has more than a 2:1 advantage among independents, 54/26, and leads all income demos above $40K annual income.

This isn’t a big surprise, as Nunn has been struggling even before the Republican primary in which Perdue beat the favored Jack Kingston for the nomination. The RCP average has Perdue up four points prior to this Survey USA poll, but only one poll had Nunn in the lead, and that was within the MOE. The last two polls prior to this had Perdue up six points (before the primary) and seven points (Insider Advantage last week).

The bigger surprise might be the gubernatorial race, where Democrats thought that Nathan Deal was vulnerable against Jimmy Carter’s grandson Jason Carter. That looks less likely now:

In an election today for Governor, incumbent Republican Nathan Deal defeats Democratic challenger Jason Carter 48% to 39%. (Jason is the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter.) Libertarian Andrew Hunt gets 4% today. 8% are undecided. Deal holds 83% of the Republican base. Carter holds 82% of the Democratic base. Independents break sharply Republican. Moderates provide some but not presently enough support for Carter to catch Deal. Libertarian Hunt takes more votes from the Republican Deal than he does from the Democrat Carter.

Democrats really doubled down on the royalty argument in Georgia, huh? How’s that working out for them?

Hunt may be taking away more votes from Deal, but he’s not taking away nearly enough to matter. That’s a problem for Carter, too, because those votes may come back home to Deal when it becomes clear that Hunt won’t stand a chance in the race as either a winner or a spoiler. The fact that Carter is slightly undercutting Nunn in the survey doesn’t bode well for his chances against Deal. Like Nunn, Carter only gets 26% of the independent vote, and unlike Nunn is losing the female vote. Carter had led earlier polls in July, but Deal now leads the RCP average before this poll gets calculated into it. This nine-point lead follows a four-point lead last week and another nine-point lead in July in the CBS/NYT/YouGov poll of nearly 2600 respondents.

Republicans look ready for a state-ballot sweep in Georgia, with double-digit leads in all of the other races. If Democrats wanted to roll back the South from GOP control, they picked the wrong state for the project, it seems.

Jazz Shaw Aug 17, 2022 11:01 AM ET