Poll: Cagle leads GOP field in gov race, race for No. 2 wide open

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has a sizable lead over his Republican opponents, but the race for the second spot in an expected gubernatorial runoff next year is wide open, according to a Landmark/RosettaStone poll.

The poll of likely Republican primary voters showed Cagle with about 35 percent of support, followed by former state Sen. Hunter Hill at 9 percent and Secretary of State Brian Kemp at 7 percent. State Sen. Michael Williams trailed with 4 percent, while business executive Clay Tippins didn’t register.

A whopping 44 percent of voters said they were still undecided. The poll of 800 voters was conducted on Oct. 16-17 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

Pollster Mark Rountree released the poll to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after conducting it privately for his firm. Rountree, who often conducts polls for WSB-TV and other outlets, has not been hired by any gubernatorial campaign. You can see the crosstabs here.

Cagle aims to win the May GOP primary without a runoff, but even his internal polls show him short of the majority-vote threshold he needs. If no candidate tops 50 percent, the top two vote-getters will square off in a June runoff.

The surprise in this poll is the narrow margin between Kemp, who was twice elected to statewide office, and Hill, a combat veteran who represented an Atlanta-based district in the state Senate.

The crosstabs showed Cagle earned the lion’s share of support among voters older than 40. But he and Hill split the field among younger voters. Hill also scored in the double-digits among male voters, outpacing Kemp and Williams.

The winner will face one of two Democrats – Stacey Abrams or Stacey Evans – in the race to succeed a term-limited Nathan Deal.

More recent AJC stories about the governor's race:

Georgia governor race: Who is running in 2018

Familiar foes clash over voting rights in Georgia governor race

Rural Georgia attracts a lot of attention in governor's race

Why Cagle may have less reason to fear Trump-inspired pitchforks

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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.