Georgia: The Unlikely New Frontier


Greenberg Quinlan Rosner

Democracy Corps

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner

Democracy Corps

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Executive Summary

Barack Obama has no business winning in Georgia this year. Neither does U.S. Senate candidate Jim Martin. Yet both Democrats are within striking range in a state President Bush carried by 17 points in 2004, and where in the last six years Republicans replaced Democrats in both Senate seats, and won the governor’s office for the first time since Reconstruction. John McCain leads Barack Obama by just two points (44 - 46 percent) and Jim Martin trails incumbent Senator Saxby Chambliss by just 4 points, 44 - 48 percent.

Key Findings

  • A tarnished Republican brand. After six years of ascendancy, the Republican Party brand is losing its strength in Georgia. In fact, voters in Georgia now hold the Democratic Party (41 - 39 percent favorable-unfavorable) in higher regard than the Republican Party (41 - 42 percent favorable-unfavorable).
  • Economic focus and desire for change make Obama competitive with the popular McCain. John McCain’s standing is quite strong in Georgia (54 - 30 percent favorable-unfavorable compared to 47 - 39 percent in the latest national Democracy Corps survey). Obama leads McCain by 14 percentage points on standing up for the middle class, by 5 on which candidate will better handle the economy and 6 on the economic crisis. He only trails by 3 points on taxes, which is remarkable for a Democrat in Georgia given the centrality of tax cuts to the Republican identity. Obama trails by 31 points on national security and 11 on Iraq, but those are not the issues that define this election.
  • Jim Martin is being carried by a national wave. Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss faces a real battle against little known challenger Jim Martin. Chambliss suffers from a lackluster 38 percent excellent/good job performance rating, while 39 percent view him favorably and 28 percent view him unfavorably personally.

Methodology

Democracy Corps Georgia survey of 600 likely voters conducted October 16 - 19, 2008. Survey is subject to margin of error is +/- 4 percent.