Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp are about even roughly one month ahead of the runoff, according to a private poll from a conservative-leaning firm.
The survey of likely GOP primary voters by Alabama-based Cygnal, a consulting firm that’s neutral in the July 24 runoff, found Cagle leading Kemp 44-43. That’s within the poll’s 3.5 percent margin of error. Only 9 percent of respondents were undecided.
The telephone poll was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday and involved 812 voters. It was released as both campaigns step up their attacks – and gear up for a three-week early voting period that begins Monday.
It’s one of the first public polls released since Cagle and Kemp landed in the runoff in May, and it’s the first since the release of a secret recording capturing Cagle saying he supported “bad public policy” to undercut a rival.
Leveraging a huge fundraising advantage, Cagle and his allies have poured at least $2.5 million into TV airtime boosting his campaign and attacking his rival. Kemp has spent roughly $1 million, and recently unveiled his first ad declaring him a “hardcore Trump conservative.”
“Primary runoff elections are often a battle of inches not miles,” said pollster Brent Buchanan. “The 2018 Georgia Republican primary runoff for governor is setting up to be just that.”
Some of the key findings of the poll:
- Kemp has apparently grown his base of support from the primary faster than Cagle, shooting up roughly 20 points above his May total. Cagle, meanwhile, has increased his vote share by about 5 percent.
- Cagle has a 3-point edge over Kemp among men, while women are evenly split. Cagle leads Kemp by double-digits with voters who are over 70, while Kemp dominates among younger women.
- The highest-propensity voters favor Kemp by 10 percentage points, while Republicans who indicate they are less likely to vote are breaking for Cagle. That means lower turnout would help Kemp if the election is held today, said Buchanan, while higher turnout would favor Cagle.
- The two are essentially tied in the massive Atlanta media market, and Cagle has a 10-point lead in the Macon market.
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