PPP Poll: Georgia’s a toss-up in White House race

Also: Most Democrats plan to vote early

A poll commissioned by Stacey Abrams’ voting rights group found President Donald Trump and Joe Biden are neck-and-neck in Georgia and that most Democrats plan to vote early rather than cast their ballots on Election Day.

The survey released Monday by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling firm mirrored other recent polls that show a close race in a state that’s long been reliably Republican, and found Trump’s disapproval rating (52%) in Georgia outweighs his approval numbers (46%).

The survey also showed that far more Biden supporters than Trump backers plan to vote by mail in Georgia, including a plurality of the state’s Black voters. It pegged Biden at 47% of the overall vote and Trump at 46% - within the poll’s margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

Trump has tried to stir doubts for months about an election that’s conducted largely by mail with false claims about rampant voter fraud, even as his allies have simultaneously urged Georgia Republicans to use absentee ballots.

After a public outcry warned that postal slowdowns could undermine the election, a Trump-aligned official announced he would suspend changes to the service.

The poll was conducted Aug. 24-25 – the first two days of the Republican National Convention – and involved 782 registered Georgia voters. It was conducted on behalf of Fair Fight, the voting rights group Abrams launched shortly after she lost the 2018 race for governor to Republican Brian Kemp.

Democrats are racing to carry Georgia in a White House race for the first time since 1992. Republicans have intensified their efforts to defend Georgia, mindful that a Trump defeat here could spell doom for his re-election chances.

Among the other findings:

- About 40% of Georgia voters approve of Kemp’s job performance compared to 49% who disapprove. When asked specifically about how Kemp’s handled the coronavirus, the numbers are nearly identical: About 41% approve, 51% disapprove. Nearly 60% of voters say Kemp deserves at least a portion of the “blame” for the state’s pandemic situation.

- Biden leads the Republican 56-30 among independents, a bloc of voters that once was a reliable bastion of GOP support in Georgia.

- Roughly two-thirds of voters – 70% - say Kemp should require that masks be worn by teachers and students at schools if they’re reopened for in-person learning, which he has long opposed on a statewide level. About one-quarter (23%) disagree. Democrats and independents overwhelmingly support a school mask mandate, while Republicans are split. About two-thirds of Georgia voters also say masks should be required in all public places.

- Georgians are about evenly divided on how they plan to vote this fall, though there’s a stark political distinction in who votes when. About 35% of Georgians say they’ll vote early in-person, 30% say they’ll vote by mail and 27% say they plan to participate in-person on Nov. 3.

- Trump leads by a gaping 75-20 margin among Georgians who plan to vote on Election Day, while Biden has a 72-17 edge among those who plan to vote by mail. Of those, a plurality of Black voters – 45% - plan to cast their ballots by mail compared to 18% of white voters. The tally for early-in person voting is more closely divided, with 53% of those voters backing Trump and 45% for Biden.

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