The Democrats running for lieutenant governor and secretary of state appear to be picking up ground on their GOP opponents as they head into next week’s election, according to an Atlanta-Journal Constitution/Channel 2 Action News poll.
Including the race for governor, where poll results have Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp deadlocked, the top three offices are in play as voters head to the polls Tuesday.
In the lieutenant governor’s race, Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico chipped away at Republican Geoff Duncan’s lead, according to the poll released Thursday. Of those polled, 46.9 percent plan to support Duncan, with 44.8 percent planning to vote for Amico. The difference of 2.1 percentage points falls within the poll’s 3 percentage point margin of error, making the race a statistical tie.
Also too close to call, according to the poll, is the race for secretary of state. Of those surveyed, 42.1 percent responded that they would vote for Democrat John Barrow, and 41.2 percent said they would support Republican Brad Raffensperger. An additional 5.4 backed Smythe DuVal, the Libertarian candidate, and 11.3 percent were undecided.
The poll was conducted Oct. 21 to Tuesday by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs. It surveyed 1,091 likely general election voters who said they had voted in recent contests and were definitely or probably going to vote in November.
It showed increases for both Amico and Barrow.
Duncan, a small-business owner and former state representative from Cumming, had a 6.1 point lead over Amico in the AJC/Channel 2 poll released last month. In the same poll, Raffensperger, also a former state legislator and the CEO of an engineering firm, held a lead of about 5 percentage points over Barrow, a former member of the U.S. House.
Jennifer McCoy, a political science professor at Georgia State University, said the state’s changing demographics and the polarization of the country’s politics have both contributed to Democrats faring better in the polls heading into Election Day.
“People have been predicting that, because of a demographic change, eventually the Democrats would have a better chance and be able to outpoll Republicans,” McCoy said. “So now it shows even polls when Republicans have been dominating the last 20 years in Georgia.”
Amico, a Marietta business executive, said the new poll “reflects the turnout and enthusiasm we’re witnessing at the grassroots (level) on our statewide ‘We Are Georgia’ bus tour.”
Duncan campaign spokesman Dan McLagan said he expects the race to be close.
“Anyone who hits the gym or orders a pizza instead of voting will get hit with the same multithousand-dollar tax increase as everyone else to pay for their liberal promises,” he said. “That’s an expensive slice of pepperoni.”
With about 8 percent of voters still undecided, the lieutenant governor’s race remains up in the air.
Many voters contacted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said they didn’t have strong feelings about either race, with most saying they already voted — or planned to vote — along party lines.
Very few said they knew much about the candidates other than that they would get their votes.
Carolyn Arnold, a retired registered nurse from Canton, said while she wasn’t very familiar with Duncan and Raffensperger, she always voted for the Republicans on the ballot.
“I’m pretty conservative,” she said. “I don’t believe in a lot of politically correct opinions that are out there in the Democratic Party.”
On the other side, Norcross resident Elizabeth Hartman said while she supports Democrats “more often than not,” it was important she voted the straight party ticket this year.
“At this point, I feel like I need to support Democrats as much as possible,” she said. “I feel very uncomfortable supporting anyone who feels like they need to toe the (President Donald) Trump line.”
The strong party support mirrors the AJC/Channel 2 poll.
According to Republican voters polled, 92.2 percent said they plan to vote for Duncan, and 84.1 percent lined up behind Raffensperger.
Of those who identified as Democrats, 91.7 percent said they planned to vote for Amico, and 85.9 percent said they would vote for Barrow.
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