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Georgia: Deal, Cagle, Olens all enjoy substantial lead in latest IA poll

Compiled from InsiderAdvantage and Southern Political Report staff

October 12, 2010

The latest InsiderAdvantage survey shows the Republican candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general in Georgia all are enjoying substantial leads.

In the race for governor, Nathan Deal leads former Gov. Roy Barnes by eight points – 49 percent to 41 percent. The Libertarian has dropped to 3 percent, and 7 percent are undecided.

In the race for lieutenant governor, incumbent Casey Cagle has a 50 percent to 36 percent lead over Democrat Carol Porter. The Libertarian is receiving 3 percent and some 12 percent are undecided.

In the race for attorney general, Republican nominee Sam Olens has 50 percent to Democratic rival Ken Hodges’ 40 percent. The Libertarian is at 2 percent, while 8 percent (when rounded down) have no opinion.

The survey was conducted Sunday evening utilizing Insider’s IVR telephone system. It includes results from 522 registered voters who said they were likely to vote in the November elections. It is weighted for age, race, gender and political affiliation, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

Analysis from InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery:


Nathan Deal continues to enjoy a reasonably strong lead over Roy Barnes. However, as I indicated last week, the poll does show improvement from our last poll among independent voters. The problem for Barnes is that independent voters are now making up their minds and they have reached nearly 50 percent for Deal with only 10 percent undecided and Barnes at 36 percent. For Barnes to have a chance to win this race or force a runoff, the Libertarian must hold to at least 3 percent and Barnes must improve his numbers among independents and male voters, where he is now trailing 56 percent to 34 percent.( Barnes leads among female voters 46 percent to 43 percent.) This explains why we have seen so many commercials recently in which Roy Barnes is surrounded primarily by white males in delivering his message. Republicans should be careful to not be overly confident, in that any movement among male voters in Barnes’ direction would likely also be a shift in independent voters, making the race much closer. However, the results of the other two races tell us something about the mood of Georgians with regard to Republican nominees versus Democrats in this very tough year for Democratic candidates.


In this race, Casey Cagle is already at 50 percent of the vote without having run significant television. Carol Porter is at 36 percent. The undecided vote is relatively low to be this far out from voting at only 12 percent. For Porter to make a race of it she would also have to overcome the substantial male vote of 54 percent for Cagle versus 37 percent for her, and a female gap in which Cagle enjoys a 48 percent to 38 percent lead. It will take a substantial effort on Porter’s behalf to make this race competitive. 


Once again the Republican – in this case, Sam Olens – is at 50 percent but his competitor, Ken Hodges, is performing a bit better with 40 percent of the vote. Again, what is keeping Democrats competitive in the race is the female vote, where Olens enjoys only a 46 percent to 45 percent lead.  However, among male voters it’s the same old story – 53 percent support Olens; 34% are for Hodges. 


I expect all of these races to close a bit and if Barnes were to continue a strong appeal to male voters - particularly to white male voters who are making up the bulk of independents and who are otherwise leaning Republican in this cycle - then this race could become much closer. However, it is clear to me that it must be issues which connect with these male voters, and that means they must go beyond those of  ethics (which they have clearly discounted) to move into a position for either a runoff or a win.

Keep in mind that this survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent, which means that Deal could be leading by as little as 4 points or by as much as 8 points.  My guess is that the reality of the circumstances put it somewhere in the middle and the next few weeks will be critical for Barnes in trying to improve the categories mentioned previously as well as one other, in which he is making some progress … white voters. Currently, Barnes is at 27 percent of the white vote. In order to have a shot at winning the governor’s race he must get to 30 percent or above. Clearly, his ads are aimed in that direction but as for now (and on the heels of another national polling firm’s numbers just last week) the consensus of polls is pretty uniform.


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