A trio of Georgia polls point to 2020 challenges for Dems

U.S. Sen. David Perdue speaks during the GOP state convention in Savannah on May 18, 2019. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Combined ShapeCaption
U.S. Sen. David Perdue speaks during the GOP state convention in Savannah on May 18, 2019. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Three separate polls released over the last week hint at the challenges ahead for Democrats aiming to flip Georgia in next year’s presidential contest for the first time in more than a quarter-century.

The first, conducted by Morning Consult, showed both Gov. Brian Kemp and Sen. David Perdue – who is seeking another term next year – hovering just above or just below the 50-percent mark. In today's political climate, that's tolerably good shape.

Then came a poll of 602 voters from left-leaning Public Policy Polls which showed President Donald Trump slightly underwater: A 45% approval rating and 49% disapproval. No margin of error was provided. In a head-to-head matchup with a generic Democrat, Trump trailed 50-46.

No presidential candidate wants to be below 50% in a must-win state- and Georgia seems like one for Republicans - but that rating soared past the last Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll that delved into Trump's popularity.

That April survey found about 40% of Georgia voters approve of the president, statistically unchanged from 38% in January.

We got even more nuance from an NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll that offered a few key findings.

  • First, the Democratic race for president in Georgia mirrors the national field. Former Vice President Joe Biden leads the pack with 31%, followed by three other candidates in a tight group: U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (15%), U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (13%) and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (12%). The rest of the hopefuls are in single-digits.
  • Second, this poll had Trump's approval rating at 48%, four percentage points higher than the same surveyors had him a year ago.
  • Third, though it didn't include a question on Perdue, the poll found Kemp earned a 61% approval rating (30% of those voters "strongly" approve), while 37% disapprove.

What’s more uncertain is how voter attitudes about Georgia’s new anti-abortion restrictions have gelled since Kemp signed the measure into law in May.

The NBC News poll found about 60% of Georgia voters oppose "completely" overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, slightly fewer than a similar question in an April AJC poll.

But the poll didn't ask specifically about Georgia's law, which includes several exceptions to the ban. The AJC poll found voters more closely split on the legislation in April, before the bill was signed and the court challenge that followed. 

ExplorePeruse the data and the crosstabs for yourself here.