Poll shows Ca­gle, Kemp neck and neck in GOP race

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - REGION - BY GREG BLUESTEIN

AT­LANTA — Lt. Gov. Casey Ca­gle and Sec­re­tary of State Brian Kemp are neck and neck in Ge­or­gia’s Repub­li­can race for gov­er­nor less than two weeks be­fore the vote, ac­cord­ing to an At­lanta Jour­nal Con­sti­tu­tion/Chan­nel 2 Ac­tion News poll.

The poll of likely vot­ers in the July 24 GOP runoff showed Kemp with a lead of 44 per­cent to 41 per­cent over Ca­gle, within the mar­gin of er­ror of 3.5 per­cent.

The poll of­fers only a snap­shot of the race at this stage, and much could change with about 15 per­cent of vot­ers still un­de­cided.

The tight race is a trou­bling sign for Ca­gle, who has strug­gled to im­prove on the 39 per­cent of the vote he earned in the May pri­mary, de­spite hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant fundrais­ing ad­van­tage.

The poll shows Kemp has built slight leads among men and older vot­ers, while Ca­gle has the edge with younger vot­ers.

Ca­gle has been dogged by a se­cretly made record­ing of him telling a for­mer Repub­li­can op­po­nent he sup­ported “bad pub­lic pol­icy” to un­der­cut an­other ri­val, and many vot­ers said trust-re­lated is­sues were driv­ing their choice for gov­er­nor.

Of Kemp’s sup­port­ers, roughly 15 per­cent said the main rea­son they’re backing him is be­cause they see him as more trust­wor­thy. About one-third said they’re vot­ing for Kemp be­cause he shares their val­ues.

About one-fifth of Ca­gle’s sup­port­ers said they will vote for him be­cause he’s the “right choice” to be gov­er­nor. And 9 per­cent said they backed him over Kemp be­cause he’s more likely to de­feat Demo­crat Stacey Abrams in Novem­ber.

Both can­di­dates have played up their loy­alty to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, and he re­mains a prom­i­nent fac­tor in the race.

About 21 per­cent of Repub­li­cans said their main rea­son for vot­ing is to sup­port the stronger ally to Trump. Vot­ers who said they were most mo­ti­vated by Trump were evenly split between Ca­gle and Kemp.

The poll was con­ducted July 5-12 by the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia’s School of Pub­lic and In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs, and 769 likely Repub­li­can runoff vot­ers re­sponded.

Casey Ca­gle Brian Kemp

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