Republicans lead in top races, but Libertarians are wild card
by Don McKee
August 21, 2014 04:00 AM | 1957 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
Trends in the latest polls still favor Republicans in races for top offices in Georgia, but the wild card of Libertarian candidates might force some runoffs.

Gov. Nathan Deal won 48 percent of likely voters versus 39 percent for Democrat Jason Carter, with Libertarian Andrew Hunt drawing 4 percent in an Aug. 14 through 17 poll of 560 likely voters by SurveyUSA for WXIA-TV. Margin of error was 4.2 percent. Eight percent of voters were undecided.

Deal gained five points since just before the May primary when he had 43 percent of the vote, but Carter added only two more points between the SurveyUSA polls. That’s because Deal pulled in more undecided voters as their percentage dropped from 13 percent to 8 percent — among both white and black voters with 12 percent of Hispanics still undecided. Deal led among male voters, 51-37, among women 45-42 and among Hispanics 43-39. Deal took 61 percent of white voters to Carter’s 25 percent, while Carter had 74 percent of black voters to Deal’s 17 percent.

In the race for retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat, Republican David Perdue led Democrat Michelle Nunn 50 percent to 41 percent with Libertarian Amanda Swafford taking 3 percent, while 6 percent of voters remained undecided.

Coinciding with the latest poll, Georgia’s best-known political warhorse Zell Miller, 82, former governor and U.S. senator, a lifelong Democrat, endorsed Michelle Nunn on Aug. 14. In a TV ad he says he’s angry about “what’s going on in Washington. Partisanship over patriotism. They can’t stop themselves but we can stop them. Let’s send Michele Nunn to the Senate. She’s a bridge builder, not a bridge burner.”

But splitting his ticket, Miller — who has usually supported Republicans since he was in the Senate and endorsed George W. Bush for president — said he plans to vote for fellow north Georgian Deal in the governor’s race, citing Deal’s actions on the state’s economic problems and his effort to strengthen the HOPE scholarship program, Miller’s major legacy.

In the SurveyUSA poll, Perdue led among male voters 56 percent to Nunn’s 37 percent, while Nunn narrowly led among women, 46-44. Perdue had 65 percent of white voters and 16 percent of black voters, while Nunn got 77 percent of black voters to Perdue’s 26 percent. The candidates ran almost even among Hispanics, 46-43, in Nunn’s favor.

In other top races, Republicans led by more than 50 percent except for Attorney General Sam Olens, who drew 49 percent to Democrat Greg Hecht’s 36 percent with a large number, 15 percent, still undecided. Otherwise, it was Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle 52-36 over Democrat Connie Stokes, Secretary of State Brian Kemp 53-36 over Doreen Carter, and for state school superintendent, Republican Richard Woods 51-39 over Democrat Valarie Wilson.

The poll also asked about support for the hot-button issue of Common Core curriculum standards in public schools. The results were inconclusive with 24 percent supporting Common Core, 34 percent against and 42 percent not knowing enough to have an opinion.
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