Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Barnes has early lead among dems: Cagle leads GOP FIELD.

from The Insider Advantage Georgia: (4/15/09) What’s in a name? Plenty, if the 2010 race for Georgia governor is still more than a year away. A new InsiderAdvantage poll shows that Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes easily lead the fields among candidates in their respective primaries.

Q: If the Republican primary for governor in 2010 were being held today, who would you vote for if the choices were:

Casey Cagle (28%)
John Oxendine (14%)
Karen Handle (6%)
Austin Scott (4%)
Sam Olens (2%)
Undecided/No opinion (46%)

The poll was conducted April 13 by InsiderAdvantage among 650 registered voters, for a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6%. Respondents were screened for whether they would vote in the Republican or Democratic primaries. All data have been weighted for age, race, gender and political affiliation.

Q: If you were voting in the Democratic primary, who would you vote for if the choices were:

Roy Barnes (35%)
Thurbert Baker (11%)
Dubose Porter (3%)
David Poythress (2%)
Undecided/No opinion (49%)

This question was conducted among 490 registered voters, for a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.

Among Republicans, Cagle’s stature as lieutenant governor clearly boosts him ahead of his nearest rival, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine. All the more is Cagle boosted by whatever statewide publicity was generated by the recent regular session of the General Assembly.

One might doubt how prominent the legislature’s recent activities made Cagle, but the mystery is lifted somewhat when it’s considered that nearly half of the poll respondents have yet to decide. That means that despite Cagle’s statistical two-to-one lead, the race for the GOP nomination for governor is wide open as the bell rings to get it underway.

Karen Handel earns her 6% largely from the name ID she has in her native Fulton County and environs. Whether top-level support will boost her into serious contention remains to be seen.

On the Democratic side, Roy Barnes’ decision whether to run is the wheel that is turning the cart of the 2010 governor’s race. He has far more name ID than any Democrat or Republican running, and it shows in his numbers. Were he to run, he would be the clear favorite on the Democratic side. The only negative for him is that half of the respondents were unwilling to commit to him – or anyone – despite the knowledge of Barnes they have from his four years as governor.

Thurbert Baker’s chances would seem to hinge on cobbling together a coalition of black voters and those unhappy with Barnes. But black voters, like white and other ones, aren’t paying much attention to the race right now. If and when the time comes, Baker’s race will become more widely known among blacks, and his percentage of the vote would rise correspondingly. If Barnes does not run, Baker could dramatically become the favorite, thanks largely to the huge proportion of blacks that make up the Democratic electorate in this state.

The minimal early support shown for Dubose Porter and David Poythress say less about their qualifications than it does about the relative obscurity that lesser state officials operate under. If Barnes does not run, Porter and Poythress could probably be expected to split the white vote, potentially leaving Baker victorious in the primary.

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