ATLANTA -- Gov. Nathan Deal is leading his Democratic challenger in a poll conducted for Morris News and WAGA-TV that was released Thursday, and it also shows that 57 percent of voters are aware of ethics allegations against the governor.
Two Republicans hope to defeat Deal in the primary, but the survey done Monday of 529 registered voters didn’t ask about them. It posed a matchup between Deal and Sen. Jason Carter in the general election.
The governor had the support of 44 percent while Carter had 22 percent. The remaining 34 percent were undecided with a 4.6 percent margin of error.
Pollster Matt Towery, a former GOP legislator, notes that the incumbent has a large lead but that Carter hasn’t begun advertising and has yet to crack 45 percent in any poll since taking office.
Deal’s support among women is 10 percent lower than his backing from men.
“At the moment Deal needs only six more points to assure reelection, so he remains a strong favorite. But as is usually the case, the race is not a cakewalk,” Towery said. “If Carter can move female voters and find a way to increase African-American turnout over past years, the race could be very close.”
Deal is likely to be attacked for allegations related to campaign spending in his first gubernatorial campaign and claims his staff manipulated an ethics commission into the spending. Male voters, who are most aware of the allegations, are also Deal’s strongest supporters, Towery notes.
“The largest demographic that responded that they were unaware of ethics stories were African-American voters, who are likely to fall into the Carter camp by next November,” he said.
“It appears, absent some knockout blow, that the stories related to Deal and ethics will not cost him reelection -- with one cautionary note: that being that independent voters and females appear less aware of the stories and allegations, and their vote could make the race a closer one in November,” Towery said.