AJC poll: Republican Burt Jones leads in lieutenant governor race

Republican state Sen. Burt Jones's candidacy for lieutenant governor drew support from 41% of respondents to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll,. That put him ahead of Democrat Charlie Bailey at 36% and Libertarian Ryan Graham at 7%. (Photo: Troy Stolt / Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Credit: Troy Stolt/Chattanooga Times Fre

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Republican state Sen. Burt Jones's candidacy for lieutenant governor drew support from 41% of respondents to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll,. That put him ahead of Democrat Charlie Bailey at 36% and Libertarian Ryan Graham at 7%. (Photo: Troy Stolt / Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Credit: Troy Stolt/Chattanooga Times Fre

Republican candidate Burt Jones is slightly ahead in the race for lieutenant governor, according to a new poll by The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Jones, a state senator from Jackson who’s been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, received support from almost 41% of those polled. Democrat Charlie Bailey, an attorney who lives in Atlanta, was not far behind, receiving support from about 36% of those polled. Ryan Graham, a Libertarian and Atlanta resident who works in software development, got the support of about 7% of those polled.

About 16% said they were undecided.

When contacted by the AJC, some voters who participated in the poll said they still didn’t know whom they would support in the lieutenant governor’s race.

“I’m still formulating my opinions,” said Bruce Sullivan, a Berkeley Lake resident who retired from the music industry. “I like to read up on people and keep my options open until the last minute.”

Sullivan, who said he is a fiscal conservative and social moderate, said while he does not think the election was stolen from Trump, as the former president falsely claims, a candidate’s stated belief or disbelief on the topic doesn’t sway his opinion.

Sullivan, 77, was one of the nearly 36% of those polled who said someone’s stance on the 2020 election made no difference in which candidate they would support. Nearly 49% of those polled said if a hopeful expresses a belief that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, it would make them less likely to support the candidate. About 13% said they would be more likely to support someone who believed the 2020 election was stolen.

Bailey has made criticizing Jones’ role on a phony slate of GOP presidential electors designed to help Trump’s failed effort to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election a centerpiece of his campaign. Jones was among the 16 Republicans who served as “alternate” electors for Trump in December 2020. All 16 were recently sent letters alerting them that they could be indicted.

The poll of 902 likely voters was conducted July 14-22 and has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points. It was conducted by the University of Georgia’s School of Policy and International Affairs.

All three candidates touted the poll results as evidence of the strength of their campaign. The candidates are vying for the job being vacated by Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who is not seeking another term.

“Our campaign is focused on the issues — fighting for lower costs, more jobs, better schools, and safer communities. It’s clear that message is resonating, and it’s why we’re going to win in November,” Jones said on Twitter.

Bailey continued to focus on Jones’ role as a fake Republican elector.

“This campaign is going to teach Burt what it looks like to be held accountable for his actions. Burt actively led an attempted overthrow of the United States government,” Bailey said in a statement. “Voters are going to hold him accountable.

Graham noted that polls typically show Libertarian candidates in general elections getting backing from about 2% of those questioned and cited his nearly 7% support — and 28% from those who identify as independents — as “strong support.”

“We’re leading among voters that consider themselves independent, a group that has been growing steadily year over year,” Graham said. “What that tells me is there is a large voting bloc that feels underrepresented by the two old parties and they’re looking for more choices on their ballot.”