Exit Poll Shows Neck and Neck Races in Georgia

Once again, whether Georgia voters have to endure a runoff over Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s will be up to a small group of voters who describe themselves as “Libertarian.” My firm partnered with Hicks Evaluation Group to poll folks who have already voted. (Nothing to disclose, really, as neither of us has a client in any of the races listed.) The full release is below the fold, but here’s the gist of what we found:

  • Support for Libertarian candidates is far smaller than previous polling has indicated
  • Democratic nominee Valarie Wilson is the best positioned Democrat to defeat a Republican on November 4th.
  • Carter is outperforming Nunn among African Americans. Nunn is outperforming Carter among women
  • Efforts by Perdue to reduce the “Gender Gap” among women (and widen it among men) appear to be working
  • Deal performs best with voters age 65 and over.

Release below. Release with Crosstabs available at this link.


(Atlanta, Ga)- The Hicks Evaluation Group and Apache Political conducted an exit poll of early voters in Georgia from October 28th-30th. Participants were surveyed about their selections for US Senate, Governor and State Superintendent of Schools. The survey found both Deal and Perdue in the lead and with slightly more than 50% of the vote and Richard Wood with a slight lead over Democratic Nominee Valarie Wilson in the race for Georgia’s top educator. Both Democratic candidates, Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter are within striking distance, however, it appears that support for the Libertarian candidates is falling and coalescing around Republicans.

“This survey is positive and troubling for both parties. What we are seeing is regular voters voting early, not new voters. This shows that the faithful in Georgia still lean Republican, but to a much smaller degree than in the past,” said lead pollster and President of the Hicks Evaluation Group, Fred Hicks.

Mike Hassinger, President of Republican consulting firm Apache Political said, “It appears that the support for Libertarians in the polls was a protest vote against Republicans. Now that actual voting has started, Republican voters are returning home and that’s the difference in whether there will be a runoff or not.”

The Hicks Evaluation Group and Apache Political have jointly tracked the Georgia election throughout the year. Their work early in the year indicated dissatisfaction amongst Republicans towards the Governor and the rise of David Perdue in a contested Primary. Data from the Georgia Secretary of State’s office was used to determine who voted early.

“This survey represents a best and worst case scenario for both parties. It is doubtful that African American turnout will continue to be this high, which favors Republicans, and it is doubtful that the electorate will skew this old, which favors Democrats,” said Hicks. He continued, “There are three big ‘ifs’ going into Election Day. IF minority turnout continues to exceed 30% and if the Democrats can earn 27% of the White vote and if voters under age 45 increase their participation, then the Democrats can force a Runoff in the race for Senate and Governor and actually win the race for Superintendent on November 4th. Their path is clear and it’s all about turnout.”

The survey was conducted using IVR/autodial only. Voters were randomly selected from the pool of early voters. As a method of verifying early voting status, all participants were asked if they voted early. Only those who said yes received the full survey.

For more information on the non-partisan Hicks Evaluation Group, visit www.hegllc.org For more information on Apache Political, please visit www.apachepolitical.com


  1. TheEiger says:

    55% female and 32% African American. Seems legit to me. There are a lot of “Ifs” in there just to cause a runoff. Not looking good for an outright win for Nunn or Carter.

  2. Alex Rowell says:

    Dems are leading every age group besides 65+, which means the GOP leads are entirely due to senior support. Bad news for the GOP is that this poll is over 60% over the age of 65. 2010 voter turnout showed that 65+ made up only 21.95% of the electorate, and ElectProject shows that only 50% of the current early vote is 60+.

  3. Three Jack says:

    Actually it is not up to the ‘small group of voters who describe themselves as “Libertarian.” If the GOP had decent candidates at the top of the ticket, they would win in a landslide. But yet again GOP voters put forth 2 old white guys with nothing new to offer voters beyond ‘Obama sux’ and ‘no ethics charges here’.

    Blame Libertarians, that’s easy but far from reality.

    • Will Durant says:

      “I am absolutely running against Barack Obama and Harry Reid,” and “We have not been indicted,” are the exact quotes. Not exactly inspirational.

      I really want non-partisan primaries so that the voters can decide the two lesser evils up front.

      • benevolus says:

        I don’t think non-partisan primaries are the answer there. Dems should be able to put forward who they want and Repubs the same. If we want more choices we should make it easier to have more candidates/parties and implement ranked choice voting.

        • Will Durant says:

          The Dems and Repubs can still decide who they want to put forward ON THEIR OWN DIME and not the taxpayers’. If the top 2 work out to be those 2 and most of the time they will, then so be it. At least all of the voters get to pick who the top 2 may be.

    • caroline says:

      The problem isn’t the GOP per se so much as who votes in their primaries. Perdue was the one chosen by those people. The larger problem the GOP has is the voter demographic that it attracts to vote in the primary. If you’ve got a party of old white guys then your nominees are more than likely going to be old white guys.

      • blakeage80 says:

        That’s a good point. I still have a hard time believing Perdue was the GOP nominee and not just because I’m a disillusioned Broun voter who is undergoing therapy (OK it’s not that bad). However, a change of message earlier in the process wouldn’t hurt. It just needs to be a real, small government argument.

        • Perdue being the nominee makes perfect sense. He ran as a moderate. He picked up all of Karen Handel’s old votes back from when she was a moderate. That got him to 30% or whatever he needed to get to round two.

          Then he continued to be attacked as a moderate by a guy who had been in Washington for 20 years.

          In the general election, Kingston would be cruising. In a Republican primary is the only place where being a successful Republican Congressman is a bad thing.

  4. northside101 says:

    It says 93 percent of the sample is age 45 and up—way too high in my view. But the gender and racial breakdowns seem realistic.

  5. Fred H says:

    Love the conversation all.

    I think that, more than anything, this lays out a road map for what each side has to do over the last few days. While the survey does skew older than what Election Day will probably look like, it also skews more towards African Americans than what is likely on Election Day. What we also know is that the majority of African Americans who have voted early have a decent to strong voting history, so there is not a movement present to push Nunn/Carter over the top yet. Most important, the faithful are the ones voting early. Which leads to a key point.

    As I said in the release, there is good news and bad news for all candidates. The best news for the GOP is that the Libertarian vote is shrinking. The efforts to quell dissatisfaction and close ranks seems to be working. The worst news is that even with the circling the wagons, support amongst the faithful is far weaker than they’d hope.

    Team Nunn should be encouraged by their performance across age groups. Doing very well. However, they should be very troubled by the gender breakout. They have to do better with women. Team Perdue has to be elated with closing the gap with women.

    Team Deal should be encouraged that their messaging on the relative youth/inexperience of Carter seems to be working. However, if there’s even a marginal increase in turnout amongst those 55 and under and this election could turn on a dime.

    The big story? Valarie Wilson. Even with all of the factors, she is a statistical tie with her Republican opponent. Even under unfavorable conditions, Wilson is positioned to win and to help Nunn and Carter. The Ga Dem Party would be wise to invest in helping Wilson.

    • John Konop says:


      The big mistake that hurt the GOP is they read the polls wrong on Obama care and Common Core. They are right most people are against it, but they want it fixed not thrown out. And the extreme talk on both issues…from let them die type message with preexisting conditions and the Muslim brotherhood/communist/agenda 21 are taking over the schools did not help the GOP.

      I give Deal credit for shifting his message toward education solutions like the improvement in vo-tech education. But I do believe the crazy talk help all three Dems with women….

      I have said numerous times Casey Cagle understood the mood of the state…He ran a very smart campaign.

      In 16 if Hillary is on the top of the ticket the crazy talk will kill the GOP with women….

      • caroline says:

        Hillary is probably going to run but full on crazy has already started from the GOP. I expect over the top crazy and all kinds of conspiracy theories to be floated over the next two years. The GOP seems to be very good at running off voters.

        • John Konop says:

          LOL…..actually Bob not true at all….I took them on over the failed integrated math…the irony is I have been very outspoken about fixes to the curriculum pre common core for years….I have been in newspapers all over the state….The anti common core people have no idea what they are talking about. The curriculum issues they are complain about were locally develop here in Georgia, and have nothing to do with common core. You cannot fix a problem unless you understand the issue. Trust me…I am sure Cathy Cox would not be in my fan club….Use goggle and you will see numerous articles in many newspapers across the state for about 8 years on this topic form me…The irony is the anti common core want local curriculum, and they use home grown failed Georgia program as an example of what is wrong….You have Cathy Cox group for common core yet use a local failed homegrown curriculum…. My head spins…


      • rightofcenter says:

        How many different times can you say the exact same thing without making yourself naseous? We get it -please give it a rest.

  6. blakeage80 says:

    “It’s all about turnout” should be banned by anyone editing poll analysis copy. It’s superfluous.

  7. Bobloblaw says:

    “”The Hicks Evaluation Group and Apache Political conducted an exit poll of early voters in Georgia from October 28th-30th””

    Are those representative days for the electorate?

    “”it appears that support for the Libertarian candidates is falling and coalescing around Republicans.””
    Well a competitive race will do that. In years past when the GOP was wining 10-20 points, it was fun to vote libertarian. Now if you do that you subject the voters to two more runoffs.

    • Bobloblaw says:

      Looked at all the internals….looks pretty reasonable

      Actualy due to rounding, Nunn and Perdue are tied but Deal is up 2 on Carter.

        • TheEiger says:

          Do you believe Nunn has a chance in a runoff or is her only hope to win Tuesday? I think we will have 2 months of annoying and expensive ads but don’t think she can win. Just look at the 2008 senate runoff.

        • Bobloblaw says:

          They arent going to get 95% of the black vote. Nunn will do better than Carter though. There are hardly any undecided blacks.

          The largest undecideds are Independents. They favor Nunn and Carter by a few points but Cagle by 12. So they are likely GOP leaning but not yet supporting Deal and Perdue.

              • John Konop says:

                Never said that….Cagle ran a positive upbeat message about creasing vo tech education options….the same message Deal shifted to when his numbers stared going up….Cagle stayed away from the crazy talk….

                • Three Jack says:

                  Cagle’s ‘winning’ because nobody can name his opponent. He should be polling above 60% considering the lack of a campaign from Stokes. Not sure he is ‘winning’ as much as just lucky to be facing a no-name with no campaign.

                  • Bobloblaw says:

                    Ive seen more Stokes signs that anything for any of the other down ticket races on the Dem side. Any Dem in GA will get 40% plus.

  8. FormerRepub says:

    So you have the old, white men demographic sewed up! I don’t think that’s much to build a future on. Colin Powell said last month that the Republican party is headed for a brick wall if it does not change. He also siad there is a deep vein of intolerance in the party. That doesn’t bode well for the future. I finally had enough after watching the tolerating of and even kowtowing to the bigots!

    • Bobloblaw says:

      Yes, a party so intolerant that he was a member for decades. Sec of State, Chairman of Joint Chiefs, and National Security Advisor. Plus much sought after VP candidate in 1996 and 2000.

      Of course there was another party that refused to allow Gov Bob Casey of PA to speak at their convention because he wasnt prochoice. Which party was that?

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