Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich would struggle to win his former home state of Georgia, and – even if he does – could lose it to President Barack Obama, according to the first significant poll of the state in the ’12 primary season.
And this only five months after a lopsided drumming of Democrats in the race for governor. And everything else.
The survey by Public Policy Polling of North Carolina says Gingrich’s favorables in Georgia stand at 39 percent. Forty-seven percent of voters polled have an unfavorable view of the potential candidate.
Thirty-one percent say Gingrich should take a shot at the White House, but 50 percent say he shouldn’t. And in a match-up with Obama, the president leads Gingrich, 46 to 45 percent – a statistically insignificant margin, so call it a tie.
The stats: 790 Georgia voters surveyed from March 31st to April 3rd. MOE is +/-3.5%.
Gingrich has said that, should he enter the race, he would base his campaign in Atlanta.
The analysis from PPP:
Obama looks like a pretty viable contender in the state next year regardless of who his Republican opponent is. 47% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 48% that disapprove. Those numbers suggest Georgia is probably the state Obama lost in 2008 that he has the best chance of flipping for 2012 because in the two states that he came closer to winning last time around — Missouri and Montana — his approval numbers are far worse at 43/52 and 41/54, respectively.
In addition to his lead over Gingrich, Obama also has an advantage over Georgia’s other home grown candidate, Herman Cain, at 44-39 and over Sarah Palin at 48-43. He trails both Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney by three points at 48-45 and 46-43 respectively, but even those deficits represent an improvement from his 5 point loss in the state in 2008.
Georgia’s yet another generally Republican leaning state where voters are just not responding very positively to the leading names in the GOP Presidential picture. Only Huckabee has more voters in the state with a positive impression of him than a negative one at 48/33. In addition to Gingrich’s negative numbers Romney comes down at 37/41, Cain at 28/36, and Palin at 35/56.
Here’s the most provocative paragraph:
Even if Obama doesn’t end up winning in Georgia next year the vast differences in his support along age lines suggest Democrats should be competitive in the state in the years to come. Among voters under 65 Obama’s approval rating is a 52/42 spread. It’s only his horrid numbers with senior citizens at 27/68 that put his numbers in negative territory overall. As whites who grew up in the segregation era die out over the next decade or two this state should start looking a lot ‘purpler’ than its red tinge in recent election cycles would suggest.
Much of this talk of Georgia being in play stems from a weekend New York Times interview of Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager. Over at the Washington Post, the Fix takes a more skeptical view:
Georgia is more deep South than new South, and you see that when you analyze the white vote. While 35 percent of white voters in North Carolina voted for Obama, just 23 percent of white voters in Georgia did, according to exit polls. That number is more on-par with a state like South Carolina (26 percent of white vote) and closer to Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi — where Obama took high teens of the white vote — than North Carolina and Virginia.
While white voters in Georgia supported Obama more than in some other Deep South states, it’s hard to win a state when the state’s largest demographic group votes against you three-to-one. Georgia remains a majority-white state, and Obama would need more white votes, in addition to the growing black vote.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider