In addition to Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ polling across six key swing states (Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin), we have recently extended our state-by-state polling to Georgia. The state could also be pivotal in the 2020 Presidential Election and the battle for control of the Senate. Although President Trump won Georgia by a margin of more than 5% four years ago, Democrats believe that Stacey Abrams’ narrow loss in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race highlights the party’s progress there.
At this stage, the candidates are currently neck and neck with Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by just 1%, a gap which falls well within the margin of error of this poll. Currently, 45% of respondents in Georgia say they are going to vote for Joe Biden, while 44% think they will vote for Donald Trump. While Joe Biden’s level of support has not changed from a fortnight ago, Donald Trump’s share of the vote has dropped by 2 percentage points, with undecided voters increasing by the same amount, now up to 8%.
Across our national and swing state polling, research has consistently indicated that likely Donald Trump voters are significantly more enthusiastic about voting for Trump than likely Biden voters are about casting their ballot for Joe Biden. In Georgia, both candidates have seen surges in their supporters’ enthusiasm in the past fortnight, with the proportion of Donald Trump voters who are ‘very enthusiastic’ about voting for the Republican rising by four points to 65%, while 53% of Joe Biden’s supporters are now ‘very enthusiastic’, a rise of 10 points. Thus, in keeping with our findings across the nation, the ‘enthusiasm gap’ between the two candidates has narrowed from +18% in favour of Donald Trump to +12%.
Our research highlights that the public perspective on which candidate will handle economic and healthcare issues more effectively will be central in determining the outcome of the election. In Georgia, a plurality (31%), consider the economy to be the key policy area which will determine how they vote in November, a fall of just one point from last week. Healthcare appears to be increasingly important to voters, rising by five points to 23% as the second most key issue.
The public continues to consider that Donald Trump’s is the more likely to lead a strong economic recovery out of the coronavirus pandemic, with 44% backing the President and 39% backing Joe Biden. However, the President’s lead over his opponent on this metric has dropped slightly from +8% to +5% in the past fortnight.
Joe Biden has made gains on securing public trust in his ability to be the candidate who would do the most to see an end to the pandemic, now enjoying a +6% lead over the President, having trailed by one point a fortnight ago. At this stage, 43% back Joe Biden, while 37% back Donald Trump.
While the 2020 election cycle has been dominated by the presidential race, there are multiple key U.S. Senate races across the country, including in Georgia, that will be crucial in determining which party will enjoy a Senate majority for the next cycle. Both Senate seats in Georgia are being contested in this election cycle. Democrat Jon Ossoff is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Senator David Perdue, who was first elected in 2014. Ossoff is running as an anti-corruption candidate and has referred to Senator Perdue as “the embodiment of a corrupt system” while Perdue’s campaign has focused on delivering aid during the coronavirus pandemic, including billions for hospitals and Congress’ creation of the small business loan Paycheck Protection Program.
While David Perdue and Jon Ossoff were neck and neck a fortnight ago, the Democrat Ossoff (47%) now enjoys a 5% lead over his Republican opponent (42%). 9% remain undecided.
As for the second seat, Republican Senator Johnny Isakson’s retirement from the Senate last year initiated an open special election race, including multiple Democrats and Republicans. Unless a single candidate wins an outright majority, the race will go to a runoff in January. The two competitive Republicans are Kelly Loeffler, the incumbent Senator who was appointed when Isakson stepped down for health reasons, and Doug Collins, a pastor. For the Democrats, Matt Lieberman and Raphael Warnock are the key candidates. Lieberman is the son of former vice-presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, while Warnock was the pastor of the late Congressman John Lewis.
The Democrat Raphael Warnock (26%) has also made gains here, now leading by 1% despite having trailed by five points to Republican Kelly Loeffler (25%) a fortnight ago. Republican Doug Collins (16%) remains in third place, having fallen by three points, but is now tied with Democrat Matt Liberman (16%). As 14% of the electorate still ‘don’t know’ who they will vote for, all four of these candidates have a possibility of getting into the top two for a run-off in January.
Overall, Democrats will be encouraged that the Party remains very competitive across all races in Georgia, having made gains across the board in the past fortnight. With mail-in voting difficulties and many voters still undecided, the race is set to be close.