The state of Georgia this year is, by any reasonable political metric, a swing state – one where Democrats are salivating over the prospect of finally turning it blue. On the heels of their dangerously impressive gains in the 2018 election, Democrats’ dreams of a Blue Georgia could very well morph into reality this year if Republicans are not careful – up-and-down the ballot.
The stakes in Georgia couldn’t be higher or clearer. A presidential battleground, two highly competitive U.S. Senate races (with at least one likely going to a runoff in January 2021), two top tier congressional races, and control of the Georgia state House on the line, with redistricting in jeopardy if the Democrats assume control.
COVID-19 has further complicated navigating Georgia’s political environment. In the wake of the pandemic and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s decisive leadership to re-open the state’s economy, much of the political and media elite seized on a narrative that his actions put Republicans in a precarious position in an already difficult federal and down-ballot battleground state.
Spoiler alert: they got it wrong – again.
Data in a recent poll commissioned by the Republican State Leadership Committee paint a much different picture: State Republicans are, in fact, in a stronger position to win up-and-down the ballot this fall, thanks largely to Governor Kemp’s targeted, data-driven response to keeping people safe and healthy, while doing what’s necessary to get hardworking Georgians back to work.
Governor Kemp earns the highest approval rating overall of any statewide political figure right now, with 56% of Georgians approving of his performance as governor, 52% approving of his handling of the pandemic, and only 39% disapproving of his job as governor. These facts run counter to the media-driven narrative and shows other states can follow suit with strong actions that protect health and safety, but also protect people’s livelihoods and way of life.
The poll is also one of the first in the nation to show that the public is now more concerned with the economic fallout of the public health crisis and its impact on daily life (47%) than they are about the public health risk (40%).
Down-ballot Republicans have likewise earned high marks, with voters selecting Republicans by a 47-42% margin on the generic ballot for the state House. Georgians also realize that Democrats aren’t prepared to lead the state, with only 39% of Georgians saying the state would be better off if Democrats were in charge of state government.
Among those earning low marks: the media. A whopping 69% believe that the media is responsible for the level of fear and panic in our country. And a combined 46% already blame China and the World Health Organization for the impact of the virus on daily life in Georgia, while just 6% cast blame on Governor Kemp and other state Republicans.
Additional Key Findings
Democrats have been making gains in Georgia for years. The 2018 results were no fluke. If Republicans convince themselves otherwise and don’t take the threat seriously, we will quickly see big wins for the Democrats. Georgia is absolutely a swing state in 2020 – up-and-down the ballot, everything is in play. The RSLC is completely invested in doing whatever is necessary to hold the state House and put state Republicans in a strong position ahead of redistricting.
This survey was conducted by BK Strategies from May 11-May 13, 2020. It surveyed 700 likely voters in the state of Georgia, with an additional 100 voter over-sample in Cobb and Gwinnett counties. Survey was conducted via live telephone calls to both landlines and cell phones (40%). Data has a margin of error of +/- 3.7%.