Stacey Abrams Chances of Beating Republicans in Georgia, According to Polls

Democratic activist and second-time gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams aims to build on the energy of President Joe Biden's 2020 win in Georgia to flip the governor's mansion blue, but polls suggest the former state House of Representatives minority leader still faces an uphill battle.

Georgia has not been led by a Democratic governor since 2003. The conservative southern state also has a significant Republican lean, which polling analysis site FiveThirtyEight assesses as being plus 7.4 points in the GOP's favor. But in 2018, Abrams lost to Brian Kemp, who is now the incumbent Republican governor, by a relatively narrow margin of just under 55,000 votes—about 1.4 percent of the total ballots cast.

Then, two years later in 2020, Democrats managed to flip Georgia blue not only for Biden, but also for both of the state's Senate seats. Biden's margin was narrow, however, with a little more than 12,000 votes putting him ahead of former President Donald Trump. That election marked the first time Georgia had gone for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992.

Stacey Abrams
Democratic activist and second-time Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams aims to build on the energy of President Joe Biden's 2020 win in Georgia to flip the governor's mansion blue, but polls suggest she still faces an uphill battle. Above, Abrams arrives to speak during the annual North America's Building Trades Union's Legislative Conference on April 6 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Whether Abrams and Democrats can maintain the energy of 2020 and flip the governor's mansion to their control remains to be seen. Just under six months out, polls suggest that Republicans remain favored to win in the midterm race to be held on November 8. However, tensions within the Republican party between Kemp and Trump-backed former Senator David Perdue could potentially play out in the Democrats' favor as well.

Polls currently suggest that Kemp is favored to beat Perdue for the GOP's gubernatorial nomination in the May 24 primary. Meanwhile, Abrams chances of winning appear slightly better against the former senator compared to the incumbent governor.

A survey conducted by Survey USA/WXIA-TV Atlanta from April 22 to 27 found that Abrams trailed Kemp by 5 points among likely voters. The incumbent Republican was backed by 50 percent of Georgia's likely voters whereas the Democratic candidate was supported by just 45 percent.

When facing off against Perdue, Abrams was down by only 3 points—within the poll's margin of error. The former GOP senator had the backing of 49 percent of likely Georgian voters and the former Democratic state lawmaker had the support of 46 percent. The poll surveyed 2,000 adults in Georgia and had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

Another poll carried out by Emerson College/The Hill earlier in April found the two Republican candidates with slightly wider leads over Abrams. That survey had Kemp at 51 percent and Abrams at just 44 percent—a 7 point advantage for the GOP incumbent. Against Perdue, Abrams was down by 5 points—49 percent to 44 percent. The poll surveyed 1,013 registered Georgia voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Abrams looked best-positioned in a survey by Quinnipiac University conducted in January. That survey found the Democratic contender to be trailing Kemp by just 2 points—49 percent to 47 percent. She was tied against Perdue, with both candidates receiving the support of 48 percent of registered Georgia voters. A little more than 1,700 voters were surveyed and the margin of error was plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

Despite Trump's strong endorsement, Perdue is currently trailing Kemp by double digits in every recent GOP primary poll. The RealClearPolitics average currently shows the incumbent governor leading the Trump-backed senator by more than 20 percentage points. With under three weeks until the primary is held, that's a commanding lead for any challenger to overcome.

Notably, Trump's disdain for Kemp is so strong that he publicly said last year that he'd prefer Abrams over the incumbent Republican.

David Perdue and Brian Kemp
Georgia's leading Republican gubernatorial candidates former Senator David Perdue and incumbent Governor Brian Kemp will face off in the GOP primary on May 24. Above to the left, Perdue speaks at a campaign event on March 29 in Duluth, Georgia. Above to the right, Kemp speaks during the celebration honoring the Georgia Bulldogs national championship victory on January 15 in Athens, Georgia. Elijah Nouvelage/Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

"Of course, having her [Abrams] I think might be better than having your existing governor, if you want to know the truth," the former president told supporters at a September rally before the Democrat had confirmed her plans to run. "Might very well be better."

"Stacey, would you like to take his place?" Trump asked. "It's OK with me."

Whether Trump's opposition to Kemp could ultimately help Abrams and Democrats remains to be seen. However, some Georgia Republicans have raised concerns.

"Right now we are joined at the hip to Donald Trump, who doesn't share the same interests," James Hall, a state Republican Party committee member from Savannah, told the Associated Press last October. "He wants to torpedo Brian Kemp."