November 8, 2019 Atlanta: A supporter rolls a video on her cell phone while President Donald Trump speaks at the Black Voices for Trump Coalition Rollout on Friday, November 8, 2019, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

THE JOLT: Has Trump support in Georgia waned – or just gone underground?

With a first public hearing on the impeachment of President Donald Trump only a day away, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll shows Georgia voters reflecting the national mood:

The poll found that nearly 54% of registered Georgia voters approve of the impeachment inquiry into whether Trump tried to enlist Ukraine to open investigations into his political opponents. That’s compared with 44% of voters who oppose and 2% who don’t know or refused to answer.

Asked whether he should be removed from office, Georgians were almost evenly split: About 47% say he should be removed, about 47% say he should not, and about 6% did not answer or didn’t know.

Crosstabs on those two questions reveal the fissures among Georgia voters: Women (58%), African-Americans (87%) and younger voters were more likely to approve of the investigation.

Men (48%) and white voters (62%) were more likely to disapprove. Age 45 appears to be a dividing line as well. While those under 45 were more disposed toward impeachment hearings, those over 45 were less enthusiastic.

But Republicans also might want to note some evidence of support bleeding away from President Trump as he pushes toward re-election.

In 2016, Trump won Georgia with 51% of the vote. Hillary Clinton came in at 46%. In the AJC poll, 43% said they voted for Clinton, within this survey’s three-point margin of error. But only 42% said they voted for Trump three years ago.

Moreover, 9% of those who said they voted for Trump now support the impeachment inquiry, although only half that number support removal.

One might call this gap a Disenchantment Index, but there’s another possibility – that a certain portion of Trump voters haven’t disappeared, but have gone to ground.

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Former President Jimmy Carter is back at Emory University Hospital, this time for a procedure to relieve pressure on his brain, the Carter Center confirmed late Monday. Bleeding due to several recent falls the president experienced required the procedure scheduled for this morning.

Carter, who recently turned 95, has had a series of bad spills this year. He is also a cancer survivor after undergoing treatment in 2015. 

Still, the former president built Habitat for Humanity houses in October and was back teaching Sunday School at Marantha Baptist Church in Plains on Nov. 3.

“President Carter is resting comfortably, and his wife, Rosalynn, is with him,” the Carter Center’s statement said.

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Republican Rich McCormick, a candidate in the Seventh District congressional contest, released a campaign ad that highlights his background as a U.S. Marine, emergency room physician -- and American Gladiator competitor.

“I’ve never, ever backed down from a fight,” he says. “Heck, I even took on Laser.”

The screen then cuts to a jousting match from the classic 1990s TV show between McCormick -- nicknamed “The Captain” -- and Laser. 

McCormick then says he’ll “stand up to the squad” and fight to prevent “socialist fantasies.” 

“And I’ll never let the liberals remove our president,” he said. Check it out here.

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More evidence that Republicans aren’t yet giving up on Gwinnett County: State Rep. Gregg Kennard of Lawrenceville was part of the Democratic wave that struck the county last year.

He now has a GOP opponent: Soo Hong, a South Korean immigrant, businesswoman and attorney. From the press release:

“My background will allow me to bring people together, build consensus, and enact an agenda that creates limitless economic and educational opportunities and builds upon our unmatched quality of life.”

***

The political calendar before and after next week’s presidential debate in Atlanta is fast filling up. 

Along with the spate of visits from Democrats, Republicans have started to arrange their own rival events. 

Women for Trump announced an “Empower Hour” for next Tuesday with Kimberly Guilfoyle and Katrina Pierson to boost the president’s re-election campaign. The venue? A Sandy Springs site around the corner from the concert hall that Democrats had considered, then rejected, for the debate. 

***

The Georgia Chamber, which in the past has been critical of the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid, said this week it supports Gov. Brian Kemp’s dual waiver program. 

“As we have stated before, helping Georgians should be an incremental non-partisan pursuit focused on innovation, compromise and financial soundness,” the group said. “Our organization views these proposals as a promising step in addressing the health care needs of our state, especially in rural areas and for small business.”

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The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today on the Obama-era program for children who entered the country illegally with their parents. Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, set into policy by a 2012 executive order, say the president is allowed to set enforcement priorities for immigration officials. But Republicans have described it as an illegal use of power.

The AJC’s Jeremy Redmon explains how immigration remains a hot topic at the U.S. Capitol:

All nine Georgia Republicans serving in the House voted against a Democratic bill this summer that sought to provide a path to citizenship to more than 2.5 million unauthorized immigrants. It passed largely along party lines, 237 to 187, and is unlikely to be taken up in the GOP-controlled Senate. Congressional Republicans insist that any plan offering legal status must be accompanied by measures to tighten security on the southern border and eliminate “loopholes” in existing immigration laws.

“President Obama’s 2012 decision to disregard the law and circumvent the legislative process went far beyond his constitutional power,” said Gainesville Congressman Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over immigration-related issues. “I am hopeful the Supreme Court will once again take a stand against the previous administration’s unlawful move.”

The court is not expected make its ruling until next year, putting the issue at front and center in the 2020 presidential campaign. Georgia Republicans outside of metro Atlanta have been in lockstep with Trump on immigration issues, especially U.S. Sen. David Perdue, who’s up for re-election next year. But the administration’s hard-line stance could prove to be problematic in well-off suburban areas that have shown resistance to the president over the last two years.

President Donald Trump weighed in on the matter online this morning. He appeared to be responding to criticism that his administration had not done enough over the past three years to address DACA.

“Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels,’” Trump said on Twitter. “Some are very tough, hardened criminals. President Obama said he had no legal right to sign order, but would anyway. If Supreme Court remedies with overturn, a deal will be made with Dems for them to stay!”

***

Former state Supreme Court justice Conley Ingram, one of the friendliest judges ever to sit on a Georgia bench, has died at age 89. More details can be found here. Among them:

His first order of business after joining the high court in 1973 was a heartwarming one, officiating at the marriage of Judy Comer and Ronnie Gay. The bride served as Carter’s executive secretary and the groom was a state trooper. They exchanged vows on the grounds of the state Capitol.

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