Landmark poll shows tight race for Georgia gov, a divide over Kavanaugh

New polling released Monday showed Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp in a tight contest for the state's top job, mirroring other recent surveys that showed a razor-thin race.

The poll by Landmark Communications showed Kemp leading Abrams 48-46 among likely Georgia voters -- a statistically insignificant difference that’s within the poll’s 3 percent margin of error. Libertarian Ted Metz had about 2 percent of support while only 3 percent of voters were undecided.

The poll also found a plurality of Georgia voters – 49 percent – believed the U.S. Senate should vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, while 43 percent opposed. Eight percent were undecided on Kavanaugh, whose nomination could be derailed by sexual assault claims.

In the lieutenant governor race, Republican Geoff Duncan and Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico were also in a close race. Duncan led Amico 48-46 in the bid to succeed Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, with 6 percent of voters undecided.

The poll, which was funded by Landmark, involved 964 likely voters and was conducted on Monday. It's the first public survey to be released in the race for governor since a September poll from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed the candidates in a 45-45 dead heat.

It reinforced a yawning gender gap that's formed in the race, with Abrams leading Kemp 51-42 among women while the Republican had a 55-41 advantage among men. Kemp has tried to narrow the divide with a new call for a $600 million teacher pay raise and TV ads that distance himself from provocative spots in the past.

Abrams also has a sizable lead among independents – 58-25 – who traditionally make up Georgia’s largest voting bloc. But she struggles with another reliable group of voters, trailing Kemp among the 65-and-older set by a 56-38 margin.

The poll found Kavanaugh's Supreme Court bid to be uniquely polarizing, with 90 percent of Republicans supporting his nomination and 90 percent of Democrats against it. The gender gap is also stark: About 56 percent of men support him, while just 43 percent of women do.

Landmark pollster Mark Rountree, a GOP strategist, predicted that the “publicity and partisan display” surrounding Kavanaugh’s nomination could sap some Democratic support in Georgia.

More recent AJC coverage of the Georgia governor’s race:

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