The major-party candidates now running for Georgia governor: (top row, from left) Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, former state House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams, Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and former Republican state Sen. Hunter Hill, (bottom row, from left) Republican businessman Clay Tippins, former Democratic state Rep. Stacey Evans and Republican state Sen. Michael Williams.
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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