PG A.M.: Trump verdict swings few Georgia voters to Biden, poll shows

Your daily jolt of news and analysis from the AJC politics team
President Joe Biden (left) trails former President Donald Trump in Georgia, according to a new poll.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

President Joe Biden (left) trails former President Donald Trump in Georgia, according to a new poll.

Most Georgia voters agree with the New York jury’s verdict that found former President Donald Trump guilty of hush money charges. But Trump is still narrowly leading President Joe Biden in the first post-conviction poll in Georgia.

The latest Quinnipiac Poll shows the former president with a 49-44 edge over Biden in a head-to-head race with a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points. Throw third-party candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Chase Oliver, Cornel West and Jill Stein in the mix, and Trump’s edge is 43-37 over Biden.

Equally noteworthy is the sharpening divide among independent voters, who in recent Georgia elections have played a decisive factor. According to the poll, about 45% back Biden and another 45% back Trump. The rest are either undecided or lean toward a third-party contender.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. faces an uphill climb in his bid for president.

Credit: TNS

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Credit: TNS

Georgia voters are in predictable corners over the felony conviction — most Democrats agree with the New York verdict, most Republicans don’t. But independents are split. Roughly 52% say they support the verdict, while 42% disagree.

Notably, 18% of independents say it makes them less likely to vote for Trump in November, while 21% say it cements their support. Nearly two-thirds say it doesn’t make a difference at all.

The poll also found key leaders from both parties enjoy rising approval ratings. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s job approval has grown from 42% in January 2022 to 55% this month. Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff’s approvals have inched up from 42% to 47% over the same frame.

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Former President Donald Trump has endorsed the opponent of U.S. Rep. Bob Good, R-Va.

Credit: Frank Franklin II/AP

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Credit: Frank Franklin II/AP

NOT GOOD.  One unusual thing about the current Congress is how many incumbent Republicans are backing challengers to other sitting GOP lawmakers in this year’s primary elections.

For example, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, is leading the charge to get rid of U.S. Rep. Bob Good, R-Va. since he endorsed Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida over former President Donald Trump in the GOP primary. Good is the chair of the House Freedom Caucus.

“We don’t need more untrustworthy liars in Washington,” Greene said of Good as she campaigned for his GOP challenger, Virginia state Sen. John McGuire. McGuire has also been endorsed by Trump.

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Participants march in a ceremony today at Utah Beach in France.

Credit: Jeremias Gonzalez/AP

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Credit: Jeremias Gonzalez/AP

D-DAY. On this day 80 years ago, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy in a definitive turning point in World War II. The D-Day invasion eventually led to the Allies driving the occupying Nazis from France.

President Joe Biden is at Omaha Beach today to mark the somber occasion. And a large group of U.S. lawmakers will join veterans in France to commemorate the decisive battle, too. Among them is Georgia U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick, the thrill-seeking Republican from Suwanee who will take part in a paratroop jump reenactment.

A military plane flies over a U.S. cemetery today near Colleville-sur-Mer in Normandy.

Credit: Laurent Cipriani/AP

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Credit: Laurent Cipriani/AP

“It’s awe inspiring to see what kind of terrain these men had to go up,” McCormick said from Pointe du Hoc, a high point taken by Army Rangers between Omaha Beach and Utah Beach.

Several of McCormick’s colleagues plan to do a parachute jump onto the Normandy beaches, too.

“It’s not without risk,” said Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, who will jump with McCormick, noting the GOP’s small majority in the House. “Someone could still vote with a broken leg.”

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WATER WOES. Amid the flood of criticism aimed at Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and other city leaders over the water crisis this week, an influential voice was notably quiet: Gov. Brian Kemp.

The Republican governor wasn’t shy about slamming Dickens’ predecessor, former Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, throughout her term in office. They traded barbs over gun policies, pandemic restrictions and public safety concerns.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (left) has been conciliatory toward Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens (right), even amid the water crisis.

Credit: City of Atlanta

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Credit: City of Atlanta

Kemp’s restrained reaction to the water breaks that left parts of the city dry highlight his more conciliatory approach to Dickens, who has worked to repair city-state ties since his 2021 victory.

“My office remains in constant contact with city officials,” Kemp said, “and will continue to make state resources available as they are requested.”

It’s hard to imagine Kemp taking the same position if Bottoms was still in office. As one Kemp ally quipped, he might still be on Fox News talking about the city’s shortcomings if Bottoms had presided over the faltering response.

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Former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff  Duncan is a guest today on the "Politically Georgia" show.

Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC

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Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC

LISTEN UP. Speaking of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, he joins today’s “Politically Georgia” show for an update on the city’s water supply and infrastructure, as well as a look at how the crisis unfolded last week.

Later, former Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan discusses his latest AJC commentary on the political fallout of former President Donald Trump’s recent felony convictions. And immigration attorney Charles Kuck details President Joe Biden’s executive order limiting migrant crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Listen live at 10 a.m. on WABE 90.1 or follow “Politically Georgia” on Apple PodcastsSpotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

If you missed Wednesday’s show, we talked to Atlanta City Council President Doug Shipman about the city’s struggles with water main breaks and aging infrastructure.

We also spoke with 3rd Congressional District candidate Mike Dugan, the former state Senate majority leader who faces Brian Jack in a GOP runoff later this month. And Georgia State University law professor Dr. Anthony Michael Kreis explained the latest developments in the Fulton County case against former President Donald Trump.

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Republican Brian Jack picked up more endorsements in his bid for a seat in Congress.

Credit: Jason Allen/AP

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Credit: Jason Allen/AP

GEORGIA THIRD. Two of the also-rans in the race for Georgia’s only open U.S. House district, former state Sen. Mike Crane and ex-state Rep. Philip Singleton, each endorsed Republican operative Brian Jack for the 3rd District seat.

Jack’s rival in the June 18 runoff, former Georgia Senate GOP Leader Mike Dugan, on Thursday announced he’s picked up support from ex-Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.

“The people of the 3rd District need to know that you are not the man who wakes up in the morning and looks at your phone searching for a fight,” Black said of Dugan. “But if there is a fight to be had, I would certainly want you by my side.”

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President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden greet a World War II veteran during ceremonies today to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy.

Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

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Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

TODAY IN WASHINGTON:

  • President Joe Biden marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day from Normandy, France, with visits to the Normandy American Cemetery and Omaha Beach.
  • The House and Senate have recessed for the week and will meet again next Tuesday.

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Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark was recently named WNBA "rookie of the month" for her May performances.

Credit: AP

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Credit: AP

CALLING FOUL. Former U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler was also a high school athlete and the former owner of the Atlanta Dream women’s basketball team. So we weren’t surprised to see Loeffler wade into the recent controversy surrounding Caitlin Clark. The WNBA rookie was recently body checked to the ground during a game by Chicago Sky player Chennedy Carter.

Writing on social media, Loeffler said she’d never seen the same level of hostility toward a single player during her time with the WNBA.

“Caitlin Clark may be the best thing to happen to the league, ever,” Loeffler wrote. “Ten games in, and her stats are better than half the veteran players. Viewership is up. They’re on chartered flights.

“Instead of being welcomed, she’s physically and verbally attacked. They want the attention — but they don’t want it for a player like Caitlin Clark.”

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AS ALWAYS, Politically Georgia readers are some of our favorite tipsters. Send your best scoop, gossip and insider info to greg.bluestein@ajc.com, tia.mitchell@ajc.com, patricia.murphy@ajc.com and adam.vanbrimmer@ajc.com.