The two polls capture the shifting views of the GOP electorate ahead of a May 24 runoff dominated by Trump-backed candidates magnifying his election lies — and others who have echoed similar falsehoods.
Former U.S. Sen. David Perdue opened a debate Sunday by falsely claiming the 2020 election was “rigged and stolen,” and he attacked Gov. Brian Kemp for not calling a special legislative session to overturn the results. Other GOP contenders have touted Trump’s phony narrative.
The election wasn’t stolen. Three separate tallies of the roughly 5 million ballots upheld Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow victory in Georgia, court challenges by Trump allies were quashed, and bipartisan election officials have vouched for the results.
The poll was conducted April 10-22 by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs and involved 886 likely Republican primary voters. It had a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.
The shift could signal trouble for Perdue and other Trump-backed candidates who have put the 2020 election at the center of their campaign.
The poll showed Perdue trailing Kemp 53% to 27%. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a favorite target of Trump after refusing his demands to overturn the election, is holding his own against U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, who has Trump’s blessing. The poll has the two neck-and-neck.
Interviews with respondents indicated their confidence was buoyed after the Republican-backed Legislature passed a 2021 law that reduced drop box availability, required more ID for absentee voting and allowed the state to take over county election boards. Democrats fiercely opposed the changes, saying they imposed new obstacles at the ballot box to appease Trump’s lies.
“I like what they did as far as tightening things up and eliminating the dead voters off the rolls,” said Tom Walters, a Suwanee retiree.
An election investigation found just four absentee ballots cast in the names of voters who had died, all of them returned by relatives during the 2020 election.
Walters, however, was among several Republicans who expressed concerns that lawmakers went too far in the changes.
“I didn’t understand why they were so concerned about the drop boxes and cutting back on those,” he said, “because I used one of those up here in Suwanee where I dropped mine off.”
Juanita Gibson, a retired health care worker in Marietta, said she didn’t agree with those who had a “knee-jerk reaction that Georgia’s elections were racist or biased.”
“If you can’t vote in Georgia, you’re not trying. They have a lot of days you can vote, and you can do absentee voting without having a reason,” she said. “The ease of casting your ballot in Georgia is top of the line.”
Ben Williams, a first responder in Thomaston, said Raffensperger has proved his mettle over the past four years.
“I’m confident. I just know that Raffensperger isn’t going to do anything underhanded,” he said. “Everything was done with integrity.”
AJC Republican primary poll
The poll was conducted April 10-22 for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs. It questioned 886 likely Republican primary voters and has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.
Overall, how confident are you that this year’s elections will be conducted fairly and accurately?
Very confident — 18%
Somewhat confident — 42%
Not so confident — 26%
Not at all confident — 13%
Don’t know; refused to answer — 2%
If the election to choose a Republican candidate for secretary of state were being held today, for whom would you vote?
Brad Raffensperger — 28%
Jody Hice — 26%
David Belle Isle — 5%
T.J. Hudson — 4%
Undecided — 37%
Overall, do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Brad Raffensperger?
Favorable – 34%
Unfavorable – 36%
Don’t know; refused to answer – 30%
Overall, do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Jody Hice?
Favorable – 37%
Unfavorable – 9%
Don’t know; refused to answer – 54%
Poll information: The survey was administered by the School of Public and International Affairs Survey Research Center at the University of Georgia. The AJC-SPIA Poll was conducted April 10-22 and included a total of 886 likely Republican primary voters in Georgia. The calculated margin of error for the total sample is +/-3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Some totals may not equal 100% because of rounding.