Stacey Abrams takes the stage to claim the Democratic nomination for governor of Georgia on Tuesday. Jessica McGowan/Getty Images
Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images
Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Abrams’ poll points to sharper November focus on ‘diverse economy’ 

A poll released by Democrat Stacey Abrams offers hints at how she’ll wage a general election campaign for governor.

The poll, funded by her campaign, was made public to show how her name recognition and favorability ratings have soared after last week’s dominating primary victory over state Rep. Stacey Evans. Like any internal poll, it should be taken with the requisite grain of salt.

But what caught our eye was the section of the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group poll that seemed to suggest her November course against the winner of the July 24 GOP runoff. 

Georgia Election 2018: Stacey Abrams wins Democratic Primary Former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams won the Democratic nomination for Georgia governor Tuesday. She defeated ex-state Rep. Stacey Evans. Abrams will face the Republican nominee in November in the race to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal. If she wins, she could become the nation's first black female governor.

It showed 54 percent of likely voters say they prefer a candidate for governor “focused on building a diverse economy with good-paying jobs and expanding opportunities for families to thrive.” That includes a majority of independent voters, the pollsters say.  

That’s compared with 36 percent who prefer a candidate “focused on cracking down on illegal immigrants, protecting Georgia values like the right to bear arms and cutting government waste.”

Abrams focused her message during the primary campaign on being an “unapologetic progressive,” which included pledges to push for gun control and block socially divisive legislation. 

She seems likely to pursue a sharper general election focus on two issues she also long emphasized on the road to the Democratic nomination: the economy and her vow to expand Medicaid. 

“Every election is about something, not just someone. And it looks like the electorate in Georgia is much more focused on the economy and healthcare, and not as much on other issues,” said Fred Yang, a partner with the pollster. “They seem to be what’s foremost on voters’ minds in 2018.” 

Here are some other details from the poll, which you can find here. Again, a reminder that the poll was funded by the campaign, and that it should be viewed from that prism. 

  • Abrams is recognized by roughly three-quarters of likely Georgia voters. Those roughly mirror both the GOP candidates – Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp - who each have several statewide victories under their belts.
  • She leads both Cagle and Kemp in head-to-head matchups – Cagle by 5 points, Kemp by 9. Her favorability ratings are higher than both, and her negative ratings are lower, according to the campaign’s poll.
  • About 39 percent of independents – a generally conservative-leaning bloc of voters in Georgia – have a positive view of Abrams, compared to 15 percent with a negative view.

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About the Author

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

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