Poll: GA voters back Deal, Perdue, Medicaid expansion

Gov. Nathan Deal has a big lead over his challengers for re-election and businessman David Perdue leads the crowded field for an open U.S. Senate seat.

And a majority of Georgians statewide thinks the state should expand Medicaid coverage here under federal health care reform and de-criminalize marijuana possession.

Those were some of the findings of a SurveyUSA poll taken this week for 11Alive in Atlanta.

The polling company interviewed 2,300 Georgians statewide from Sunday to Tuesday.

They asked them about races on the May 20 statewide

primary ballot and other issues, such as the federal health care law.

Some of the findings:

  • In the race for governor, 65 percent of likely Republican primary voters support Deal. Challengers David Pennington drew 11 percent and John Barge 7 percent.
  • Perdue, a CEO and cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, is backed by 29 percent of Republican voters in the May U.S. Senate primary. The poll says he's trailed by Jack Kingston, 17 percent, with Phil Gingrey, 12 percent; Paul Broun, 11 percent; and Karen Handel, 10 percent. But 15 percent of the voters are still undecided.

The pollsters predict a runoff in that race, with none of the top candidates drawing more than 50 percent.

SurveyUSA interviewed 508 likely voters in the Republican primary; the margin of error for those questions was 4 percent.

  • In the Democratic Senate race, the poll says 48 percent of voters support Michelle Nunn, giving her a big lead over three other candidates. SurveyUSA predicts Nunn will avoid a runoff.
  • The polls says Democrats Doreen Carter and Liz Johnson are leading their party's races for Secretary of State and Insurance commission, respectively.
  • There are crowded field and no clear leader in the Democratic and Republican races for state school superintendent.

On other issues:

  • 59 percent of voters say Georgia's 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage should stay in place. 32 percent want it repealed and 9 percent weren't sure.
  • Also, 59 percent say Georgia should expand Medicaid coverage in the state. Medicaid is the program that funds health-insurance for low-income people.

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, states have the option of expanding Medicaid coverage. The federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost for the first two years and 90 percent after that. Georgia Republicans oppose the health-care law in general, including the expansion.

SurveyUSA says 32 percent of Georgians opposed expanding Medicaid and 9 percent weren't sure.
The margin of error on that question was 2.1 percent.

15 percent of Georgians do not have health insurance. 84 percent say they do and 1 percent was not sure.

  • Two out of three Georgians say marijuana possession should be de-criminalized.

The poll notes that people in Georgia caught with less than an ounce of marijuana face up to a year in jail and fines of up to $1,000.

The poll says 37 percent say marijuana possession should not be against the law at all; 30 percent say it should be a civil offense, with a fine of $100 or less; and 28 percent say marijuana possession should remain a criminal offense.

To see the full SurveyUSA results, click here.


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