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Poll: Could Georgia swing voters be problematic for state GOP candidates?

Georgia GOP House members were given talking points from a poll on what to say to swing voters before November’s election.

Many citizens who vote tend to vote for candidates that align with their values.

However, it is election season and many who are up for re-election in the Georgia House of Representatives were given results from a poll in August about what to say or not to say when talking with potential swing voters.

The Georgia House Republican Caucus, which includes Republican members of the Georgia House of Representatives, sent out a “cheat sheet” of what to say to swing voters before the November General election. Interestingly, the poll includes some stats about what those potential voters think of President Trump and the candidates for Georgia governor.

In a survey completed by Cygnal, the company made phone calls to various Georgia House Districts in the northern arc of the Atlanta Metro area of 602 likely general election swing voters.  The poll looked at how voters would respond to specific issues and political leanings about the overall direction of the state, what they think of President Trump and both candidates for Georgia Governor (Abrams vs Kemp), or if voters like to vote against the party “in charge of you” – which is the GOP.

So what did the poll say?

The results of the poll said that 46 percent of the swing voters think Georgia is moving in the right direction, but the poll warns House Caucus members that Georgia’s direction is “decent but not where we need it to be.” The poll mentioned that swing voters tend to vote against the party in charge of them (the GOP) if the state is too far off track. Conversely, the poll says that 33 percent of swing voters polled in the northern tiers of Atlanta think Georgia is on the wrong track.

How do swing voters view President Trump and the candidates for Georgia governor?

  • Trump – According to the swing voter poll, “Trump looks to be in bad shape” amongst the northern State House Districts of Atlanta with 31 percent favoring Trump while 58 percent report an unfavorable rating. Almost half of the respondents have an unfavorable rating of President Trump, according to the Cygnal poll.
    • In terms of “weak GOP voters”, 48 percent find the president favorable with 42 percent giving an unfavorable rating. “This could be a hurdle for Republicans in securing and turning out their base on Election Day,” says the Cygnal poll to Caucus members.
  • Kemp – According to the potential swing voters polled, “Kemp’s image is under water”. The poll states that 27 percent report as favorable while 44 percent report as unfavorable. The poll states at Kemp’s favorable to unfavorable ratio is weaker than Trump’s.


  • Abrams – Abrams appeared to have the better results in the poll where 44 percent of the swing voters find her favorable with 23 percent finding her unfavorable. However, the poll states that most of Abrams’ favorable support is “soft” with a 25 percent favorable rating.

The poll also found that the respondents think Trump is a polarizing figure where 77 percent polled said they would support a Democratic candidate. In addition, the poll stated that 88 percent would vote for a Democratic candidate to “send a message to Trump”.

What do the potential swing voters say about issues?

The issues of background checks, road funding, school security, environmental conservation, mass transit, education funding, school choice, gun control, income tax cut, open carry, and Medicaid expansion were polled.

Strengthening background checks on guns and mental health services showed amongst potential swing voters to be the biggest issue they cared about the most, 85 percent are “more likely” to favor such measures.

Road funding, school security, and environmental conservation came in second place with all three receiving 75 percent “more likely” to support a candidate favoring those issues. School security had the strongest measure out of all three with a measure of 39 percent of “much more likely” to support a candidate.

For environmental conservation, those polled said they would like to see a large portion of the state budget (88 percent “more likely”) fund such efforts. Interestingly, the voters polled for this area said they would likely oppose local Republicans who would not support such funding (88 percent likely).

Other issues – 

  • Only 55 percent of weak Republicans are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports fully funding education.
  • School choice only resonated with voters who would support Brian Kemp as governor (81 percent “more likely”).
  • Strict gun control is a divisive issue but is strong with Democratic-leaning voters in the poll.
  • A $5 billion state income tax cut polled well among weak Republican swing voters (61 percent “more likely”) and it was split among weak Democratic swing voters (46 percent “more likely and 36 percent “less likely”).
  • 75 percent of who think Georgia is on the wrong track are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports Open Carry. According to the poll to GOP House Caucus members, it recommends “this is not an issue you want to discuss if you want to win in November.”
  • 49 percent of potential GOP swing voters said they would not vote for a candidate opposed to Medicaid expansion in Georgia (which is Obamacare). A negative sentiment is higher among Democratic swing voters for candidates who oppose Medicaid expansion.

What is being recommended for House Caucus members to say to swing voters?

The poll told House GOP Caucus members to talk about strengthening background checks and mental health services followed by investing more in school security measures, and funding billions of dollars “is a hit” with swing voters when discussing road building. Spending money on environmental conservation appears to be a good talking point with swing voters that are not supportive of Republicans.

What should they NOT say to swing voters? 

The poll states that if they want to lose, talk about Open Carry and oppose Medicaid expansion. “These issues fire up weak Democratic voters against Republican candidates, and they don’t work well with weak Republican or swing voters either,” according to the poll.

School choice and state income tax cuts are said not to be issues to campaign on. However, funding education fully sits well with weak Democrats but is “middle-of-the-road” with weak GOP voters.

So what about Stacey Abrams and should House members pivot away from those favorable issues indicated in the poll? 

The poll says that Abrams will play to her left-leaning base. The poll says:

Stacey Abrams will try to make the governor’s race about gun control, Medicaid expansion, tax cuts for the rich, and syphoning resources way from our schools. This fires up her base and resonates with the middle. Therefore, pivot your messaging on these topics instead to: strengthening background checks and mental health services, investing more in school security, being responsible in government while investing $10 billion in infrastructure, and taking important steps to conserve the environment.

Below is the poll  –







Jeremy Spencer grew up in rural South Georgia and has served as a healthcare provider, high school science teacher, school administrator, and state education official. Jeremy is currently the market and content manager for All on Georgia-Camden and Glynn Counties. Jeremy’s focus is local news, statewide education issues, and statewide political commentary for the All on Georgia News Network. Jeremy has served as an education policy analyst for local legislators and state education leaders as well as a campaign strategist for local and statewide political campaigns. Jeremy holds degrees in science and education from the University of Georgia, Piedmont College, and Valdosta State University. Jeremy has lived in Camden County for over 17 years.

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