BREAKING NEWS: InsiderAdvantage FOX 5/Morris News Service Poll:  Deal Has Big Lead Over Carter with Many Not Yet Focused on the Race; Awareness of Allegations Related to Deal and Ethics Fairly High, Impact Questionable


An InsiderAdvantage/ FOX 5 News survey of 529 registered voters in Georgia conducted the evening of January 6 (registered voters, weighted for all demographics and political affiliation, margin of error plus or minus 4.6%), indicates that incumbent Nathan Deal leads his likely Democratic opponent, Sen. Jason Carter by a huge margin. But the internals in the poll suggest that the race could likely tighten considerably by next November.


Results: Deal: 44%

                Carter: 22%

                Undecided: 34%


Analysis from InsiderAdvantage CEO/Fox5 Political Analyst Matt Towery: “Deal has a considerable lead as one would expect. Polls showing this race close at this point would be more wishful thinking than reality. In all of my years polling for news affiliates, I have never seen a race this far out without a healthy 30% or so who state they are undecided. That is the case in this race as well.


Carter has yet to put an ad on television, thus having little statewide name identification. Deal is actively on TV and holds the incumbent’s advantage. That said there are reasons, based on the poll, to believe this race could tighten considerably. They include:

  • As is almost always the case, about 25% of African-Americans polled say they will vote for the Republican. In my experience this number almost always shifts to the Democrat.
  •  Independent voters are far less likely to support Deal at this time, with nearly half undecided.
  • As expected female voters support Deal at about 10 points under the level of support by men. Deal and the entire GOP will have to seriously address the female vote in Georgia as we have indicated from prior polls
  • The fact that in some five polls conducted by IA and in numerous others by broadcast/print media pollsters, Deal has yet to crack 45% among voters.


The good news for Deal is that Carter is nowhere near the level published by Democrat-affiliated pollsters late last year. And the 17% GOP vote for Carter provides a general mark for the level of opposition Deal can expect in a primary. Based on weighting of voter turnout it appears that the likely combined vote for his two opponents in the primary would be expected to remain well under 40% which should give Governor Deal a strong win in the fight for the nomination.


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. If Carter can move female voters and find a way to increase African-American turnout over past years, the race could be very close.”


As for the swirl of stories over alleged past ethics allegations against Deal and current ones related to his appointees or those working in commissions and agencies, it appears the impact has been somewhat less than expected.


Aware of ethics allegations:

                Aware: 57%

                Unaware: 38%

                No Opinion: 5%

Towery: “While the endless stories related to Deal, the Ethics Commission, and past allegation stemming from the 2010 campaign are relatively well known by voters, those who follow the story most (men) are also those who most strongly support Deal. 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. 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 allegation and their vote could make the race a closer one in November.”


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