Georgians are likely to split their ballots across party lines. Most say abortion rights will figure into their voting decisions. A majority are pleased with the Biden administration’s decision to cancel some student debt. Few are happy with where our democracy is going — but most would encourage a friend or family member to move to Georgia anyway.
The Georgia News Collaborative is a group of more than 100 Georgia-based print, digital and broadcast news outlets serving the state. It includes nonprofit sites like The Current GA, larger multimedia groups such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia Press Association, Capitol Beat news Service, Mundo Hispanico, Southern Community Newspapers, Georgia Public Broadcasting/GPB and WABE. The poll was coordinated through members of the GNC, conducted by UGA and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution managed the process for the collaborative.
These data points come from a comprehensive survey of Georgians released today by the Georgia New Collaborative, a consortium of Georgia news outlets including The Current.
While the survey also asked the horse-race questions about the marquee political candidates running for office in November, it went deeper to see what’s motivating the state’s voters and what’s moving the needle — or not.
One major trend stands out: The majority of respondents do not agree with major decisions made by the Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp in the spring, including ballot drop box limits, abortion limits and the open firearms laws. Most respondents, however, support photo IDs for absentee ballot requests.
Here’s a link to the poll documents so you can read all of it for yourself. Below, we’ve linked poll coverage from other GNC partners and some charts to show some of the basic splits.
First: Here’s how the poll was conducted.
The Georgia News Collaborative Poll surveyed 1,030 Georgians Sept. 25-Oct. 4 who said they were likely to vote in the November General Election. The University of Georgia School of Public & International Affairs Research Center randomly surveyed voters who had voted in the 2018 or 2020 general elections or the 2021 statewide runoff or the 2022 primary in May. The group consisted of 90% cell phone numbers and 10% landline numbers. Results weighted to ensure the sample was representative of the electorate in terms of age, sex, race and education. The margin of error is +/-3.1% — so a percentage of 10% could be as much as 13.% or as little as 6.9%.
Questions that were head-to-head candidate matchups were independently verified. Three stories today break down the state office races
- Georgia Recorder reports that the poll shows Sen. Raphael Warnock edging ahead of challenger Herschel Walker in poll and Gov. Brian Kemp solidifying lead against Stacey Abrams.
- A story from GPB’s Stephen Fowler looks at the undecided vote and what those numbers can mean — runoff?
- Here’s a story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Greg Bluestein about the status of the campaigns as tracked by the poll. One note: 93% of the polling was complete before the most recent stories that about Herschel Walker and a former friend’s abortion. It is not likely to have affected the results, according to Dr. M.V. Hood, III, director of the survey research.
Breaking down the issues
Some questions below are abridged. Read the entire poll with full questions and results here.
HOW THINGS ARE GOING
- Would you recommend to out-of-state friends or family that they move to Georgia? 67.2% said yes. Only 5.6% said they didn’t know. Almost all scores were high, but respondent groups giving the state the highest ratings were male, while, people with some high school, those who identify as conservative and/or Republican and Independents, and those who earn more than $75,000 annually.
- Is the nation on the right track or wrong track, in general? 66% say we’re all on the wrong track. That breaks down nearly across a segments except among respondents who are Black. Only 35% of those respondents said the nation is on the wrong track.
- Satisfaction with the way democracy is working? Most groups said Somewhat Satisfied with percentages hovering around 40% on this topic.
- If the election were today, which party would you want to see control Congress? A statistical tie, with 5.5% who said they don’t know. Numbers: 50.4% said Republicans, and 44.1% said Democrat.
- Do you approve or disapprove of how President Biden is handling his job? 49.3% strongly disapprove, but responses such as somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove and strongly approve are mixed. Biden’s work scored worst among respondent groups who are male, white, older than 65, have some high school or some college education and identify as conservative, earn between $75,000 and $149,999. His work fared best among women, people ages 18-29, people with college degrees and those who say they are Democrats.
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - support or oppose? 39.1% said they strongly or somewhat support protection of children brought into the US illegally. 45.3% said they strongly or somewhat opposed the move. Noteworthy: 15.6% said they don’t know.
- Do you approve or disapprove of how Brian Kemp is handling his job as governor? Again the result is mixed with 29.3% who strongly approve and 24.5% somewhat approve. Meanwhile, 30.3% strongly disapprove and 11.8% somewhat disapprove. Kemp is strongest among white, older, conservative and Republican groups. The strongly disapprove numbers topped more than 50% for Black, Liberal, Democratic groups.
- How should the state use its record budget surplus? A clear majority of voters — 58.5% — said the state should increase spending.
- Legalize casino gambling: 59.7% support it. Only one group’s percentage fell below 50%: People who earn less than $25,000 a year.
- Legalize online betting on sports events: A tie: 45.6% support and 42.6% do not while 11.8% don’t know. Betting fever was higher among Males, people ages 18-44 and those who earn $100,000-$149,000 a year.
- Support or oppose requirement for a copy of a photo ID or other documentation for a mailed absentee ballot? 67.7% support.
- Support or oppose limiting absentee by mail ballot drop boxes? 53.3% oppose limits. 40.4% support limits.
- Do you support or oppose the new law that allows those 21 and older to carry a concealed weapon in public without a license? 62.2% strongly or somewhat oppose the new law, while 36.1% support it. Only 1.7% said they didn’t know.
- Support or oppose the 2019 Georgia law that bans most abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected? 61.6% strongly or somewhat oppose the law; 32.3% support it; 6% say they don’t know.
- Are you more likely to vote for a candidate who wants to protect access to abortion, wants to limit access to abortion or does a candidate’s position on abortion not make a difference in your vote? 47.1% said yes, they are more likely to vote for someone who says they’ll work to protect abortion; 29.2% said they will choose someone who wants to limit abortion. 18.6% said it makes no difference, and 5% said they don’t know.
READ: A story from news partner Georgia Recorder explains the numbers and talks to those who are weighing the abortion topic before they vote.
- How much of an impact have rising prices had on your daily life? 54.1% said a significant, negative impact. 34.3% said it’s noticeable but does not feel a significantly negative impact. 11.1% said they see little impact. Groups who overwhelmingly said they feel a significant negative impact are: female, white, ages 30-65, have some high school or college education, are conservative, Republican and annually earn $25,000-$99,000.
- How does the current cost of living impact your vote? Only 7.9% said it was not at all important. 38.7% said it was extremely important, 30.4% said it was very important and 22.7% said it was somewhat important.
- Forgiveness for some student loan debt? 53.9% strongly or somewhat approve, 38.8% strongly or somewhat disapprove, and 7.3% don’t know. Groups who strongly approve identified as Liberal and/or Democrat, Black, have some college or a college degree. Younger respondents also approve. The respondent groups who strongly disapprove are white, have a high school diploma or less, are older than 45, say they are conservative and/or Republican.