New HEG Poll On Abortion, Gay Marriage, And Voting Rights Act

From our good friend Fred Hicks:

ATLANTA— A new poll in Georgia was conducted by HEG, LLC in the wake of the US Supreme Court rulings on the Voting Rights Act and gay marriage and the failed high profile abortion legislation in Texas. Voters across the state were asked their gender, political affiliation and a battery of three questions on the issues of the Voting Rights Act, abortion and gay marriage.  The poll reveals a moderate streak among Georgians, except on gay marriage.

“We stepped gingerly into the fire with this poll.  After the Supreme Court decisions and the statements issued by Attorney General Olens, we decided to look at what Georgia voters think,” said lead pollster Fred Hicks.  “We found Georgians to be surprisingly moderate on two issues and predictably conservative on the third.”

Among the key findings:

  • A strong majority, 61%, of Georgians oppose legalizing gay marriage
  • On the Voting Rights Act, a slight majority (51%-49%) say that it is no longer necessary
  • By a margin of 54%-46% a majority of Georgians oppose abortion, however, 47% of all polled believe in exceptions.  Less than 10% of Georgians believe in outlawing abortion completely

“The perception on gay marriage is that Republicans are opposed and Democrats are in support; we found that to be partially true. Republican voters overwhelmingly oppose legalizing gay marriage, but Democrats do NOT overwhelmingly endorse it.  The combination of very conservative Republican voters and conservative Democrats leads to a huge block opposing legalizing gay marriage,” said Sociologist Dr. Omar Nagi who consulted on the project.

HEG is a non-partisan full service consulting firm.  The survey was conducted by IVR on June 26, 2013.  The 531 responses were derived from a random sampling of likely voters statewide.  The margin of error is +/- 4.2%


    • sockpuppet says:


      1. Crosstabs
      2. What Chidi said.
      3. Georgia is a center-right state. It was a more centrist state when the state was still run by moderate Democrats. But after 1994, when the political leaders moved from the Democrats to the GOP, the electorate shifted with it. Zell Miller, Sam Nunn, Joe Frank Harris etc. couldn’t get elected to Georgia today, and the Georgia that elected folks like Thurbert Baker, Cathy Coxand Michael Thurmond to statewide office no longer exists either. And neither does the RPOG that used to be dominated by (oft-race baiting) social liberals like Bob Irvin, Mitch Skandalakis, and at one time Newt Gingrich (who was a moderate on social issues before his reinvention) etc.

      But even the moderate Democrats dealt with social issues by ignoring them. Miller, Nunn and company didn’t get elected by proclaiming their support for gay marriage, unrestricted abortion etc. from the rooftops. As a matter of fact, back then even the congressional black caucus types like Andrew Young and John Lewis weren’t exactly out in front attending NARAL fundraisers and marching in HRC parades either. Do you think that Bill Clinton wins Georgia in 1992 had he not promised to sign a late term abortion ban bill, or if he had the same public opinion on gay marriage that he has now? Not a chance. And that was then when the state was more moderate and less polarized, not now.

    • Napoleon says:

      Crossroads? Any particular crossroads you’re interested in? Maybe Lenox and Peachtree. Those are some nice crossroads. West Paces Ferry at Peachtree is nice too.

    • NorthGAGOP says:

      I’m no polling expert, and may have read the crosstabs incorrectly. If I read them correctly.

      62.1% of people who Lean Republican are for exceptions
      60.1% of people who are Strong Republicans are for exceptions.

  1. Dave Bearse says:

    From the survey: As you may know, the Voting Rights Act was designed to prevent state and local governments from using rules and procedures which prevented many blacks from voting. Yesterday the Supreme Court struck down a provision of the Act. Do you think the Voting Rights Act is still necessary to make sure that minorities are allowed to vote, or do you think the Voting Rights Act is no longer necessary?

    I can understand a majority opposed to various VRA elements, but good gosh, the entire act. It’s Exhibit A that Georgia ought to be subject to additional scrutiny.

    “You know, if minorities live where they always have to wait longer in line to vote that’s their problem. It’s a free country and they can move to another precinct.”

    • sockpuppet says:

      Dave Bearse:

      The VRA is no longer needed. Right now the attempts to keep blacks from voting are not due to their being black, but due to their voting 95% Democrat. You progressives would love to pretend that they are one and the same but they are not. The Constitution protects race based on the Reconstruction amendments, plus there is a body of court decisions and legislation including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which itself is based on the Reconstruction amendments) but it does not protect partisan activity. Basically, it protects the right of blacks to vote, but it does not protect the right of the Democratic Party to use the voting patterns of blacks to maximize their own partisan advantage.

      Another thing: the VRA is being expanded into areas that it was never intended. Progressives have attempted to expand it to include blocking efforts to prevent unregistered voters from illegally voting based on the spurious logic that it amounts to profiling certain groups of voters and has a disparate impact on certain groups. The problem is that they haven’t proven either. Again, the motivation is not legitimately securing the voting rights of citizens, but maximizing the effectiveness of get out the vote efforts of the Democrats.

      Basically, black (and Hispanic) voter participation has climbed with each passing election, and actually has been the highest in the years when black voter suppression tactics have been most alleged (i.e. 2000 and 2012). Also, some allegations of voter suppression has been alleged in places not covered by the VRA. So alleged voter suppression tactics in places like Arizona, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin have been used to justify the continued existence of the VRA in Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Mississippi.

      Also, the absence of the VRA wouldn’t change much anyway because its provisions are still the law. Why hasn’t Arizona, for example, tried to impose literacy tests even though it has never been covered by the VRA and its political leadership would (allegedly) have as big an interest in keeping Hispanics from voting as Mississippi would blacks? Or why didn’t the Scott Walker regime use poll taxes to make voting prohibitive for black voters in Milwaukee even though that state was never under VRA? Simple: they’re still illegal. So were the states covered by the VRA to return to their old tricks, voters and their advocates could take them to the DOJ and to federal court and in those cases, the legal body of work established by the Reconstruction amendments, court decisions and civil rights laws – including the VRA – would still be in effect.

      Progressives want black voters to think that it is only their activism and vigilance that secures their right to vote. It keeps blacks voting Democrat. Progressives also want to believe this themselves, and as a result it is a great source of pride, honor and motivation for progressives. But it isn’t true. Hasn’t been true in years (I want to say decades but will refrain). Progressives need to get past using the victories of the previous era to hold onto voter loyalty and feel better about themselves and get back to addressing the actual needs and interests of black people. You want to get back to helping black people like the civil rights leaders of old, and earning the support of black voters? Then go start an Urban Prep academy style charter school in every urban or majority minority school zone in this state. You won’t do it, will you? Why? Because the feminists (Urban Prep academy is all male as that is where the greatest need is, among a population that is more likely to go to jail than college) and the teacher’s unions would absolutely freak out.

      So, you defend the VRA to re-fight the battles of the past because you are unwilling to take on real issues of today.

      • DavidTC says:

        Right now the attempts to keep blacks from voting are not due to their being black, but due to their voting 95% Democrat.

        That’s right, black voters: The Republicans aren’t trying to keep you from voting because you’re black, they’re trying to keep you from voting because they don’t like how you vote.

        …wait, I was supposed to be humorously rephrasing that. Instead of just actually repeating it.

        Basically, it protects the right of blacks to vote, but it does not protect the right of the Democratic Party to use the voting patterns of blacks to maximize their own partisan advantage.

        How dare the Democratic party assert it has some sort of ‘right’ to be elected, just because voters have a ‘pattern’ of voting for it.

        You are correct, the ‘VRA’ does not protect that ‘right’. The _entire premise of a democratic form of government_ protects that right.

        the VRA is being expanded into areas that it was never intended. Progressives have attempted to expand it to include blocking efforts to prevent unregistered voters from illegally voting based on the spurious logic that it amounts to profiling certain groups of voters and has a disparate impact on certain groups. The problem is that they haven’t proven either.

        No one’s tried to stop _unregistered_ voters from voting, nor has anyone fought that.

        What has happened is that the right has literally made up, out of whole cloth, a theory that lot of people are voting under other people’s name. So people should be forced to show ID to vote.

        This literally happens…never. Ever. Never ever.(1)

        The closest is when people are living under fraudulent names (On the run from the law or whatever.) and decide to vote…but, uh, those people usually _have_ fake ID of some form or another, so, uh, showing ID doesn’t actually stop them.

        When people _actually_ wish to commit this sort of voter fraud, voting in someone else’s name, you know how they do it? They vote _absentee_.

        Remember, according to sockpuppet, when the government keeps people from voting, there’s no requirement to prove anything there’s any reason for what you’re doing. And this is after he has just admitted the Republicans are trying to keep black, sorry, I mean ‘Democratic-leaning’, people from voting.

        He literally just admitted that Republicans would rather certain people would not vote (Although we are assured this is not racist! So I guess it’s perfectly fine to deny people the vote as long as you’re doing it on something besides race?) and then he thinks it’s strange that people are objecting to Republicans passing voter ID laws that accomplish _nothing_ except make it harder for certain people to vote. I wonder why people object to that.

        Anyway, apparently according to him, when just randomly blocking certain people from voting, no one needs any evidence a new law will stop any fraud. But when _fighting the new rules_ set up to keep people from voting, however, you must demonstrate actual harm. (And, without section 4 of the VRA, you can, of course, only sue _after the fact_. Or at least after the law is passed.)

        1) There’s a comprehensive study out there claiming that there were only ten instances in the decade from 2000 to 2010. This study is ‘correct’, but what most people fail to notice is most of those don’t even result in ‘multiple votes’, it was people living under false names or whatever. And most people living under false names _have photo ID with those names_ (Either fake, or they tricked the government into issuing it.), so photo ID wouldn’t even stop _that_. So the number isn’t even actually ‘one a year’.

        Please note that in the same decade, we had 75 _ineligible felons_ register and cast a vote. (Who, of course, have perfectly valid ID, so ID laws won’t catch.) Many of them were not even aware they were not allowed to do so. And hundreds of cases of absentee ballot fraud.

        • Dave Bearse says:

          There is a significant history of fraudulent absentee ballots in Georgia (a currently pending case in Brooks County involves 1,000 fraudulent absentee ballots), and little is any history concerning ID-related fraud. That the General Assembly GOP loosened restrictions on absentee ballots at the same time it sought unconstitutional photo ID requirements (poll tax in the form a charge to obtain an ID, no place to obtain to obtain an ID within dozens of Georgia counties) is evidence that Georgia’s voter’s photo ID legislation was instigated to disenfranchise.

  2. Jane says:

    Interesting, IMHO over weighted for females and no data broken out by age. If you do not weight by age you sometimes get too many old white women and the poll is not valid.

  3. saltycracker says:

    Words or phrases to intentionally mislead to manipulate the outcome.

    Today´s word: Equality
    Used to gain membership in a classification with preferential government treatment/tax benefits.
    Not much excitement for equality of individuals.

  4. Baker says:

    Very surprised the VRA question is that tight and surprised that the majority against abortion isn’t a little bigger.

  5. northside101 says:

    Maybe a coincidence, but the 54-46% pro-life percentage in the poll was very close to the 53-45% Romney win over Obama last year. If the 54/46 split is correct, then likely what you have overall is metro Atlanta (now a 28-county region) being pro-choice and the remaining 40%+ (in population) part of Georgia on balance being pro-life.

    I suspect of the 9 GOP-held congressional districts in Georgia, Tom Price’s 6th CD (east Cobb, north Fulton and north DeKalb) would be the least likely to be pro-life—or at least strongly pro-life—on that issue. Those areas are very affluent and more moderate to liberal socially (for instance, backing the state lottery back in 1992 when much of rural Georgia opposed it, in favor of Sunday alcohol sales, etc). Back in 1996, the 6th CD (under its configuration then and now) would have backed Isakson over Guy Millner in the GOP US Senate runoff—and Isakson ran a strongly pro-choice campaign that year (though later he switched to a “three-exception” pro lifer). 6th CD has people from all over the country, many Catholics and Jews for instance who are probably more liberal than Southern Baptists on many issues. Probably also some pro-choice sentiment in the affluent areas of Jack Kingson’s 1st District at St. Simons and, in Savannah, along the various islands like Tybee and Skidaway. On the other hand, probably much more pro-life in Doug Collins’ 9th CD based out of Gainesville and Tom Grave’s 14th CD in northwest Georgia, which have large fundamentalist populations.

    Still public confusion though on the Voting Rights Act decision from last week—the VRA was not abolished, and in fact the Section 2 provision (prohibiting dilution of minority voting strength) remains very much in effect. What changes is procedure/burden of proof–the burden now falls on the plaintiff, not the defendant (i.e., instead of the accused having to prove they are innocent, the plaintiff must prove the accused is guilty). The court’s decision does not give any southern state—or other states for that matter—the right to eliminate minority districts, such as Hank Johnson’s 4th CD (dominated by DeKalb) or John Lewi’s’ 5th CD (dominated by Fulton). Ban on literacy tests, “understanding tests” (interpreting the Constitution) remains.

    • sockpuppet says:


      You are engaging in fruitless speculation totally undermined by the facts.
      Fact 1: Johnny Isakson never became the standard-bearer for the state GOP (despite years of the AJC and the media and the Democrats desperately trying) precisely because of the abortion issue. Isakson was only able to get elected to an office that matters after the GOP already had the governor’s mansion, the winnable congressional districts and a Senate seat. The state GOP decided that giving the Senate seat to Isakson – and thereby leaving the DPOG without a leader and chief fundraiser – was more important than taking the risk of having the seat go to a Democrat. And even that is conditional. Make no mistake: Isakson knows that he has to vote to confirm pro-life federal judges in order to avoid a primary challenge.

      Fact 2: despite your unfounded wealth/education suspicions, none of the metro area GOP Congress seats has ever been held by anyone who declares himself to be anything less than strongly pro-life. There is no rural/suburban metro/outside metro split on the issue. The lottery and Sunday sales have nothing to do with the debate on when life begins. Keep in mind: virtually every Georgia GOP leader used to be a Democrat, and they were generally pro-abortion Democrats. If it were possible for them to remain pro-abortion and survive politically, they would have. Instead, they all switched positions on the issue, Nathan Deal on down, because they knew that they would have had no chance in a GOP primary otherwise.

      The AJC had a habit of endorsing pro-abortion GOPers in every race, but of course failing to mention that abortion was the reason for the endorsement (claiming that their candidate was “more qualified” or “more ethical” or “had a better track record of enacting legislation” or “a more impressive background outside politics” or whatever other nonsense they could find). Of course, none of the AJC-endorsed candidates ever won a thing, including in the metro area, and there was a reason for that. It had the opposite effect: GOP primary voters in the metro area began to associate “AJC endorsement” with “pro-abortion” and it pretty much became the kiss of death.

  6. northside101 says:

    So sock puppet says I’m engaged in fruitless speculation and have unfounded wealth/education suspicions, and none of the metro areas GOP congressional seats have ever been held by anyone who is less than strongly pro-life?

    Hmmm…well lets take a trip down Memory Lane to refresh memory on some things.

    First of all, the state GOP did not “give” the Senate seat to Isakson. There is something called a “primary” that, uh, determines who the nominee is in a statewide contest—not the smoke-filled or smokeless rooms of today. Isakson actually had a primary in 2004 against Herman Cain and Mac Collins. Was Isakson the most right-wing on abortion in that contest. Not by a long shot.

    “These two (Herman Cain and Mac Collins) claimed that U.S. Rep. Johnny Isakson’s three-exception stance on abortions made him pro-choice. Yet even their combined efforts failed to muster 50 percent of the vote.” —longtime UGA Professor Chuck Bullock, quoted in Insider Advantage July 23, 2004.

    “Isakson was repeatedly attacked by Cain and Collins for being pro-choice on abortion, but their charges did not stick, perhaps because Cain and Collins—both of whom oppose abortion even in cases of rape and incest—were seen as being too extreme on that issue among Georgia’s expanding GOP electorate.” —Marietta Daily Journal’s “Around Town”, July 27, 2004

    An isolated event, you might say? Well, lets look at another contest that summer, the 6th Congressional District primary between Robert Lamutt and Tom Price. Lamutt had backing from the pro-life side, who viewed Price as too liberal on abortion for (does this souind familiar?) having three exceptions, versus the now famous one exception embraced today by, well, I think we know whom (some group related to Dan Becker):

    “The abortion issue may also have tripped up Lamutt. The east Cobb senator’s position—opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest—might have been too conservative for a district that had supported formerly pro-choice Isakson in several elections. Price was also pro-life during the campaign but not as strict as Lamutt’s. He favored exceptions for rape and incest.” —Marietta Daily Journal, “Around Town”, August 14,2004

    And there have been plenty of other instances in which the most conservative candidate on abortion has not been nominated in this state. In 1992, Paul Coverdell was elected to the Senate on a pro-choice record (though supportive of minor restrictions); in third place in that GOP primary was John Knox, backed by 100-proof pro-lifers. Two years later, Guy Millner trounced Knox int he GOP runoff for governor—even though Millner had been accused of leasing space to an abortion clinic. In 1996, Clint Day, easily the most pro-life of the better known GOP candidates, finished third in the GOP Senate primary behind Millner and Isakson. In 1998, Day ran for lieutenant govenror and went after Skandalakis on social issues (too liberal on abortion, gambling and gays), and, uh, care to guess who won that contest?

    I don’t think it is really open for dispute that nationally—and yes,e ven in Georgia—affluent, well-educated areas tend to be more liberal on social issues. How else to explain some traditionally well-off suburban areas, like Fairfax County in Northern Virginia, going handily for Obama in 2008 and 2012? Was it because they thought Romney was not pro-life enough? Even in Buckhead/Sandy Springs and Smyrna, last year there was the high-spending primary for Senate District 6, featuring Hunter Hill, Josh Belinfante and Drew Ellenburg, certainly one of the most affluent districts in the state, including many top schools like Westminster, Lovett and Pace, and much of the ultra affluent 30327 zip code. Georgia Right to Life endorsed Drew Ellemburg, and he came in third place—a distant third at that. In the fall campaign, the GOP’s Hunter Hill was having to convince GOP women in the area that pushing for abortion restrictions was not on the top of his agenda: “I don’t believe that we need additional laws at the state level to address this very personal issue.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Political Insider, November 2, 2012). Hmmm…doesn’t sound like remarks one would hear in this affluent area if it were so strongly pro-life, does it?

    Obama was able to win last year not just because of the large cities, but also because he has cracked into traidtionally GOP suburbia. While Democrats have lost ground in rural America, that is a diminishing share of the vote nationally.

    But to finish, to some degree, where the Republican candidates stand on aboriton is irrelevant. It is easy to mouth opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest when voters know that Roe will remain in effect for years—maybe decades to come. And Georgia may get a test next year, depending on whom the GOP nominates. Could a Democratic candidate win the Senate seat next year if his or her opponent opposes abortion based on Georgia Right to Life standards?

    • saltycracker says:

      If I was on a jury I would agree to the death penalty of the sperm of a rapist (abortion) unless the victim felt otherwise.

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