TargetSmart Insights - COVID-19 and Elections in Georgia: Findings from the TargetSmart + Dynata National Voter Insights Study Georgia Oversample

As part of a national study of public opinion on the public health and economic dimensions of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on voting and elections, TargetSmart and Dynata conducted a Georgia-specific oversample to measure voter sentiment as the state reopens its economy. Toplines, crosstabs, and a full statement on the poll’s methodology can be found by visiting insights.targetsmart.com.

Georgia Voters Overwhelmingly Support Making Voting Safer and More Accessible

Though this study was conducted prior to Georgia’s June 9 primary election, which was marred by long lines at polling places, delays in the issuance of vote-by-mail ballots, widespread voting machine malfunctions, and shortages of provisional ballots, it shows broad support among Georgia voters for reforms to make voting safer and more accessible during the pandemic:

  • 83% support expanding access to early voting
  • 79% support increasing the number of in-person polling places in order to minimize lines
  • 74% support including pre-paid postage for anyone who votes by mail
  • 69% Support expanding access to vote by mail; and more

Governor Brian Kemp’s Coronavirus Response Job Approval Lags Far Behind that of Governors Nationwide

In Georgia 48% of respondents approve of how their governor is handling the coronavirus response vs 49% of people who disapprove. Nationwide 65% approve of their governor's handling of the coronavirus response vs 32% who disapprove.
Figure 1

Overall, Georgia voters disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the response to the coronavirus by the slimmest of margins (47% approve against 48% disapprove), matching their assessment of Governor Brian Kemp’s coronavirus response (47% approve). Notably however, both Trump and Kemp’s coronavirus response job approval ratings lag far behind that of governors in other states: as shown in Figure 1, voters nationwide approve of their governors by a roughly two-to-one margin (65% approve against 32% disapprove).

What’s more, much like Trump (and in contrast to voters nationwide), Kemp’s coronavirus response job approval is highly polarized by partisanship. Among American voters as a whole, Democrats (70% approve against 28% disapprove) and Republicans (67% approve against 32% disapprove) are about equally likely to approve of their governor’s response. In contrast, more than twice as many Georgia Democrats disapprove of Kemp’s handling of the coronavirus as approve (30% approve; 67% disapprove), while Republicans approve by an even larger margin (77% approve; 16% disapprove).

Plurality of Georgia Voters Think Georgia Is Lifting Restrictions Too Quickly

When asked for their assessment of Georgia’s efforts to reopen the economy, voters are most likely to say Georgia is acting too quickly in lifting coronavirus-related restrictions on business activity (49%), rather than acting at the right pace (40%), or not acting quickly enough (9%). Overall, as shown in Figure 2, Georgia voters are substantially more likely to say their state is acting too quickly to lift restrictions in comparison Americans at large (49% vs. 31%).

When asked if their state is acting at the right pace to lift restrictions on business activity, 49% of Georgia voters say they're acting too quickly, 9% say not quickly enough, and 40% say at the right pace. In comparsion, nationwide 31% say too quickly, 19% not quickly enough, and 45% say at the right pace.Figure 2

In addition, Georgia voters are somewhat more likely than voters nationwide to say they worry about contracting the coronavirus. Seven-in-ten (70%) say they are very or somewhat worried that they or someone in their family may contract the virus, compared to about two-in-three of voters nationwide (64%).