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Monmouth poll: Biden, Trump deadlocked in Georgia; tight US Senate races

FILE - In this combination of file photos, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on March 12, 2020, left, and President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington on April 5, 2020. The University of Notre Dame has become the second university to withdraw as the host of one of this fall's three scheduled presidential debates amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this combination of file photos, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on March 12, 2020, left, and President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington on April 5, 2020. The University of Notre Dame has become the second university to withdraw as the host of one of this fall's three scheduled presidential debates amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo, File)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

Also shows most Georgia voters back mask requirements

President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are deadlocked in Georgia in a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday – the latest in a string of surveys that shows the state is up for grabs in November.

The poll pegs both Biden and Trump at 47% of support from registered voters. About 3% say they’ll vote for Libertarian Jo Jorgensen and just 3% say they are undecided. The poll, conducted between July 23-27, has a margin of error at 4.9 percentage points.

See the findings here.

It showed close races in Georgia’s two U.S. Senate contests. Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue held a 49-43 lead over Democrat Jon Ossoff. Libertarian Shane Hazel logged 1% of the vote and 7% were undecided.

In Georgia’s other U.S. Senate race, the free-for-all special election for U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s seat, showed the Republican incumbent with a narrow advantage. Loeffler led the pack with 26% of support, followed by fellow Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Collins at 20%.

Matt Lieberman was the top Democrat with 14% of the vote, trailed by Raphael Warnock at 9% and Ed Tarver at 5%. Libertarian Brian Slowinski netted 3% and other candidates got 5%. Another 18% of voters are undecided.

That contest will feature 21 candidates all on the same ballot with no primary to filter out nominees. If no candidate gets a majority of the vote – a highly likely scenario – the two top finishers head to a January runoff.

Nearly two-thirds of Georgia voters – 63% – say individual cities should be allowed to establish face mask rules that are stricter than statewide regulations. That issue is at the center of a lawsuit by Gov. Brian Kemp seeking to block Atlanta and other cities from enforcing mask mandates.

A broad majority of voters – 79% – approve of requiring people to wear masks indoors in public spaces when they come within six feet of other people, and 63% back a similar mandate outdoors. Overall, voters give Kemp higher marks on his coronavirus strategy, with 54% approving his approach and 45% disapproving.

Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, meanwhile, has closely divided Georgians. A narrow majority of voters – 51% – said the president has done a poor job of responding to the crisis, while 48% approved of his approach.

Republicans have carried Georgia in every presidential contest since 1996, including Trump’s 5-point victory in 2016, but Democrats have steadily narrowed the gap and Biden’s campaign this week announced a slate of new hires to boost his candidacy in the state.

“There is a lot of parity between the two candidates,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “Trump has a lock on his base, but Biden is performing much better than Clinton did in key swing areas.”

Other findings:

· About 45% of Georgia voters say the state should erect a statue or another prominent monument to the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, while 37% disagree. A majority of voters - 53% - have a favorable opinion of the civil rights icon, who died earlier this month, and just 8% have an unfavorable view of him. Another 38% have no opinion.

· The poll found Biden and Trump performed very strongly among their party bases, while the Democrat led 53-31 among independents. Trump led Biden with white voters without a college degree by a 73-22 and held a 59-36 advantage among white college graduates.

· Biden performed particularly well in 14 counties where the vote margins were closest in the 2016 election. He led 58-38 among registered voters in these counties, which include the metro Atlanta suburbs of Cobb and Gwinnett. Both candidates have solid margins in counties their parties handily won four years ago.

· About 37% of Georgians say voter fraud is a “major problem” and about one-third say it’s a minor issue. Republicans (47%) are more likely than Democrats (28%) and independents (34%) to see voter fraud as a major concern, while Democrats (69%) and independents (52%) are more likely than Republicans (25%) to see voter disenfranchisement as a major concern.

· While just 7% of Georgia voters report usually voting by mail, over 4 in 10 say they are either very (26%) or somewhat (17%) likely to do so in November. Democrats (60%) and independents (46%) are more likely than Republicans (28%) to indicate they will vote by mail this fall.

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