OpinionSavvy Survey Conducted with InsiderAdvantage for Fox5/Atlanta Morris News –
A survey of 552 voters in Georgia conducted March 31-April 1 shows Governor Nathan Deal with surging approval ratings, and also shows support for the transportation funding bill passed by the legislature having increased substantially by the end of the legislative session. In addition, the poll also showed surprising increased support for the “Religious Freedom” bill, with indications that the approach taken by its opponents may have created unintended results. The poll was weighted for age, race, gender, and political affiliation and has a margin of error of 4.1%. Crosstabs can be found HERE
Deal Approval Rating
Governor Nathan Deal’s approval rating surged to nearly 60% as the legislative session headed to a close. This is Deal’s highest approval rating since 2012 and is evidence that his business-like approach to running state government is one that the pubic recognizes and appears to appreciate.
Approve of Deal’s Job Performance: 59%
Disapprove of Deal’s Job Performance: 34%
Legislative Approval Rating
The state legislature received better approval rating numbers than in past years.
Approve of Legislature’s Job Performance: 52%
Disapprove of Legislatures Job Performance: 40%
Public Approves of Transportation Bill in General
We measured the public’s opinion of the transportation funding legislation which passed earlier this week, as they understand it, from news reports and general sources of information. It appears that the combination of a shift in message from that of relieving congestion and economic development to that of maintaining roads and keeping infrastructure safe, along with the complexity of the bill and its sources of revenue, combine to make transportation funding far more popular than at the start of the session.
Approve of Transportation Funding Act: 67%
Disapprove of Transportation Funding Act: 23%
It should be noted that a more involved question concerning this legislation could yield lower approval numbers. However, the response to the more general question gauges the degree to which the public was engaged or enraged over the legislation, suggesting that the measure ended up non-controversial and unlikely to do significant political harm to its supporters.
Religious Freedom Bill Gains Support but Fades with Potential Boycotts
In a poll conducted earlier this year for Fox5, support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was tepid at best. Ironically, it appears that the arguments used to attempt to defeat the bill may well have resulted in an unintended result–the bill became more popular with Georgia voters.
Approve of Religious Freedom Act: 55%
Disapprove of Religious Freedom Act: 30%
Support among Republican voters was at 66% in the survey.
So what shifted attitudes? An internal follow-up survey for IA analysis purposes sheds some light in answering that question.
When asked of their opinion of the bill if “it allowed private businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian patrons” the results were:
The key here is that GOP support for the bill went slightly up to 67%. This suggests that the arguments related to the gay and lesbian community may ironically have caused the bill the bill to receive more attention and support among GOP respondents where less than 10% were undecided as to this question.
However, the last-minute threat of boycotts against the state by businesses, conventions, and other commercial enterprises seems to have the most impact in chilling support for the legislation. When asked their opinion of the bill if it were to result in such boycotts support dropped to:
Clearly the last-minute dustups in Indiana and Arkansas and the possibility they could spread to Georgia throws cold water on the legislation with Republican support dropping to below 50% in a legislature dominated by Republicans.