Gov. Deal bolsters his approval numbers

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In the world of political polling, six months has made a big difference for Gov. Nathan Deal.

The Republican incumbent has seen his approval numbers among Georgia voters increase by 17 points as he prepares for his 2014 reelection campaign, as shown by a statewide survey conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP).

“Nathan Deal’s political standing has improved substantially since February, and he now looks like a more solid favorite for reelection,” PPP said in releasing its poll results Wednesday.

“Deal’s approval rating stands at a 44/32 spread,” PPP said, where a February poll indicated that only 36 percent of the voters approved of the job Deal was doing compared to 41 percent who disapproved.

“His numbers have improved with voters across the party spectrum, but particularly with independents who have gone from disapproving of him 31/43 to approving 51/28,” PPP said.

In head-to-head matchups with three specific Democrats, Deal ran ahead of state Sen. Jason Carter by 48-33 percent, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams by 47-34 percent, and state Rep. Scott Holcomb by 48-28 percent.

PPP also matched up Deal against two potential Republican primary opponents, with the poll showing him running in front of Dalton Mayor David Pennington by 71-11 percent and ahead of state school Supt. John Barge by 71-8 percent.

Pennington has already announced he will oppose Deal in the 2014 GOP primary. Barge said Wednesday he is mulling the possibility of getting into the race but has not made a final decision.

“I will know something definitely within the next few weeks,” Barge said. “The level of support that public education is receiving right now from that side of the street could be different and it could be more helpful than it is.”

“There simply isn’t a desire among Republican voters to switch out Deal — his approval rating with them is a 66/11 spread and he’s strong across the ideological spectrum, posting a 68 percent approval rating with conservative voters and a 55 percent one with moderates,” PPP said.

The governor’s race numbers were derived from a poll of 520 Georgia voters conducted Aug. 2-4 by PPP. That same poll showed Democrat Michelle Nunn running even with, or slightly ahead of, Republicans Karen Handel, Jack Kingston, Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey in the U.S. Senate race.

© 2013 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: David Pennington , governor\'s race , Jason Carter , John Barge , Nathan Deal , Public Policy Polling , Scott Holcomb , Stacey Abrams