The race for president in Georgia remains tight after the first presidential debate, according to a poll commissioned by Channel 2 Action News that showed President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden in a deadlocked contest.
The Landmark Communications poll released Thursday pegged Biden at 47% and Trump at 45% - within the margin of error of 4.4 percentage points. Another 2% of voters back Libertarian Joe Jorgensen and 6% are undecided.
“It’s a dead-even race in Georgia. Next week, Biden will do something to move some voters to Trump in a minor way,” said Mark Rountree, the president of Landmark, a Republican-leaning political firm that conducted the poll. “But no one has the edge here right now.”
It found that more than half of likely Georgia voters watched or listened to some of the debate, and one-third of voters caught the entire 90-minute showdown. A plurality of Georgia voters– 47% – said they believed Biden won the debate while 37% gave Trump higher marks.
Those views were sharply divided along partisan lines. About 71% of Republicans said Trump dominated the debate, while 85% of Democrats gave Biden the victory. About 55% of independents - generally a Republican-leaning group in Georgia - said the Democrat had the edge.
About 10% of voters said the debate prompted them to change their mind about which candidate they’re supporting. That included roughly 9% of Biden supporters, 9% of Trump backers and one-quarter of Jorgensen voters.
The poll was conducted by Landmark on Sept. 30 – the day after the debate – and involved 500 likely Georgia voters.
It echoed other recent surveys of Georgia voters, including an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll, that showed a too-close-to-call race in the state. It also marked a slight change from Landmark’s last survey, which pegged Trump with a slight lead shortly after the Republican National Convention.
The poll released Thursday highlighted challenges for each of the campaigns in the closing stretch of the race.
Though Biden had an overwhelming lead among Black voters – 82% – he’s still got work ahead consolidating support with the core constituency of the Democratic party in Georgia. About 10% of Black voters back Jorgenson or say they’re undecided; another 8% support Trump.
And the Landmark poll is the latest showing the Republican losing ground among independents and white voters in Georgia.
Biden has a 52-26 edge among independents and roughly 29% support of white voters. That would far outpace Hillary Clinton’s showing in 2016, when exit polls show she captured just 21% of white voter support in Georgia.
“It’s a close race – but it’s not a projection of who will win,” said Rountree. “It’s a snapshot of where this race is this week.”
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