Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren (left) looks on while Georgia Gov.r Brian Kemp (right) addresses the crowd during the 30th annual Cobb Sheriff's Corn Boilin' at Jim Miller Park in Marietta on Monday. Christina Matacotta/Christina.Matacotta@ajc.com
Photo: Christina R. Matacotta
Photo: Christina R. Matacotta

The Jolt: Among 50 governors, Brian Kemp ranks No. 22 in popularity, new poll shows

The Morning Consult is out today with a massive poll that ranks the popularity of the nation’s governors and senators. It shows both Brian Kemp and David Perdue in tolerably good shape.

The survey involved 487,624 interviews, conducted from April 1 through June 30, 2019.

Among 50 governors, Kemp finishes in the upper half. His 52% approval ranking (29% disapproval) puts him at No. 22 – a gentleman’s C+ when grading on a curve. Only last January, two months after a bitter contest with Democrat Stacey Abrams, an AJC poll put his approval rating at 37.2%.

An April poll by the AJC had shown his favorability rating rising to 46 percent.

One caveat on these most recent numbers: Kemp signed Georgia’s strict new anti-abortion law on May 6, mid-way through the MC polling window. The resulting rancor may not be fully measured by the survey.

(In neighboring Alabama, where Gov. Kay Ivey signed more restrictive legislation that did not include exceptions for victims of rape or incest, her rankings took a sharp tumble, falling 17 percentage points between the first and second quarters.) 

David Perdue, who comes up for re-election next year, finishes in the upper third of his class of 100 U.S. senators with a 48% approval rating (26% disapproval). Once upon a time, any statewide-elected politician in Georgia polling under 50% was considered “in trouble.”

But in the current, hotly contested climate, 48% isn’t bad.

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By now you’ve no doubt heard that U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., has been hospitalized after a fall in his D.C. apartment resulted in four fractured ribs. Isakson is 74, and up for re-election in 2022.

There are times when an outsider’s perspective is valuable. From the Washington Post:

Isakson is the only Georgian to be elected to the state’s House and Senate as well as the U.S. House and Senate, according to his website. He was the first Georgia Republican ever to be elected to three terms in the U.S. Senate.

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The consulting firm hired by Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration to explore new health care options released a report Thursday that underscores the challenges the Republican faces in crafting a plan to provide more healthcare coverage to uninsured Georgians without expanding Medicaid.

The Deloitte report found that an estimated 1.5 million residents lack health insurance. When it comes to covering low-income residents, the report found that Georgia trails other states, even those that -- like Georgia -- have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

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Nearly every member of Georgia's House delegation, Democrat and Republican alike, joined together to kill a non-binding impeachment resolution against President Donald Trump last night.

The single Georgian who voted to pursue impeachment surprised us: U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta. 

Scott generally aligns with the centrists in his party, but has stayed publicly quiet about impeachment over the last few years. Every inquiry we've sent to his staff has been answered by silence.

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The Sandy Springs City Council on Tuesday approved a hate crime ordinance that allows judges to give heavier sentences to those who commit offenses that have roots in bias. The measure was proposed by Council Member Andy Bauman.

The significance of the ordinance is in its scope. It addresses offenses committed “because of the actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental disability, or national origin of such victim or group of victims.”

“Sexual orientation” and “gender identity” have been the sticking points in efforts to pass a statewide hate crimes measure in the Legislature.

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Qualifying began today (and ends Friday) for the Sept. 3 special election to fill the vacated seat of state Rep. David Stover, R-Newnan.

On Wednesday, Sam Anders, one of four Republicans who had already announced for the contest, withdrew and endorsed another GOP candidate, Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison. The press release from the Sakrison camp, quoting Andres:

“If we are to continue to achieve conservative policy victories here in our great state, then we must fight the left with a united front.”

Anders’ decision came just two days after Democrat Jill Prouty, a library administrator for Peachtree City, announced her entry into the contest. The race is formally nonpartisan, but a four-way split of the GOP vote in House District 71 could guarantee Prouty a spot in a potential Oct. 1 runoff.

Anders’ withdrawal reduces the chances of that happening.

The two other Republicans in the contest are Nina Blackwelder and Philip Singleton. On Wednesday, Singleton picked up an endorsement from former gubernatorial candidate Hunter Hill.

Keep a close eye on this race. Given the narrowing gap between Republicans and Democrats in the House, each side will want to cite the contest as a bellwether for 2020.

***

We've been keeping an eye on Sonny Perdue's U.S. Department of Agriculture, which announced plans last month to relocate hundreds of employees from Washington to Kansas City. 

Employees of the two research agencies being moved unionized in order to block the relocation, but they weren’t able to put a dent in Perdue’s plans. Now The Kansas City Star is reporting that only about one-third of current employees plan on taking the transfer. 

Opponents have warned of a brain drain and framed the move as a backdoor way for Perdue to drastically shrink the size of the agencies, which on occasion have produced scientific reports that run counter to White House priorities. 

Perdue and his allies say the move will save the federal government millions and ultimately lead to better quality of life for employees given the lower cost of living. Click here for the backstory. 

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