Reasons Stacey Abrams is unquestionably the underdog in Georgia

Reasons Stacey Abrams is unquestionably the underdog in Georgia

So far, the 2022 elections are looking better than Democrats had hoped. They are now expected to keep the Senate, and it looks like they will limit their House losses to those that are below the typical midterm results for the party in power.

Additionally, they appear to be performing admirably in gubernatorial races. Democrats either have a strong edge (Michigan and Pennsylvania) or are in toss-up races (Arizona, Nevada, and Wisconsin) in five of the six states that President Joe Biden won by less than 5 points in 2020 and that are also having governor’s races this year.

Georgia is an exception, as Democratic hero Stacey Abrams is running for governor for the second time.

Georgia is where we start our examination of the political week that was.

Abrams faces challenges in the election for governor of Georgia

Three different Peach state surveys that match AWN’s requirements for publication were released last week. In their rematch from 2018, all three chose GOP Gov. Brian Kemp ahead of Stacey Abrams.

Kemp has a 52% to 46% advantage according to CBS News/YouGov.
Kemp increased from 44% to 50% at Marist College.
According to research from Monmouth University, 49% of Georgians would favour Kemp while 45% would support Abrams.

These polls support the average of recent polls, which has Kemp in the lead with almost 50% of the vote. This last point is crucial because avoiding a rerun in December requires winning in November with a majority of the vote.

Four years ago, Kemp was in a much worse situation than he is today. In late September, the two candidates were essentially tied. Kemp ultimately prevailed by a slim margin of 1.4 points, avoiding a runoff.

Kemp has an edge this year since he is an incumbent, in part. Georgia is the only state with a GOP incumbent running for governor this year among the six that barely supported Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Even if incumbents don’t get as much of an advantage at the polls as they formerly did, they still do.

Kemp is a popular governor, it’s true. In the polls released last week, he received positive net approval or favorability ratings (favourable minus unfavourable). It’s difficult to accomplish that in a swing state like Georgia.

It’s not all about Kemp, though. In the Marist poll, Abrams had a negative net favorability rating, but the Monmouth poll found him to have a break-even rating.

Not having loyal supporters isn’t the issue for Abrams. According to the Monmouth poll, 33% of voters said they would certainly support Abrams, while 34% said they would support Kemp. In the CBS News poll, more Abrams backers (74%) than Kemp supporters (58%) declared their support for their candidate with great fervour.

The problem for Abrams is that while being well known for her efforts to increase voter turnout, she appears to be trailing among swing voters. The average of recent surveys shows Kemp leading among independents by 10 points.

Kemp may have attracted some 2020 Biden voters by standing up to then-President Donald Trump and certifying the state’s presidential vote — 11% of them, according to the Marist poll — in 2020. According to the poll, 5% of Trump supporters are supporting Abrams. This makes a huge impact in a state where the presidential vote in 2020 was decided by 0.24 points.

Additionally, Kemp leads among all registered voters even though he performs best among individuals who are most inclined to vote. In other words, his advantage over Abrams goes beyond participation.

Abrams will probably need one of two things to occur in order to win. She will either need to persuade voters that Kemp is too harsh for Georgia or she will need the polls to be wrong.

Unfortunately for Abrams, Georgia polls have consistently outperformed swing states in accuracy over the past few election cycles.

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