Republican Nathan Deal now holds a nine-point lead over Democrat Roy Barnes in the race to be Georgia’s next governor.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state finds Deal earning 50% of the vote, while Barnes receives 41% support.  Libertarian candidate John Monds is a far distant third with three percent (3%).  Three percent (3%) prefer another candidate, and just as many (3%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here).

This race remains Leans GOP in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard

In surveys dating back to March, Deal has consistently held a modest advantage over Barnes, with support ranging from 43% to 51%.  In those same surveys, Barnes’ support has remained in the narrow range of 39% to 43%.  Monds was first included in late September and has failed to earn more than five percent (5%) of the vote.  Last month, Deal led Barnes 45% to 39%

Deal, a former nine-term congressman, is favored by 86% of Republicans in the state.  Barnes, who served as governor from 1999 to 2003, earns support from 88% of Democrats.  Deal holds a double-digit lead over Barnes among voters not affiliated with either political party.

Eighty-one percent (81%) of Barnes voters are already certain how they will vote next month, as are 86% of Monds supporters. Just 68% of those who back Deal say they’ve already made up their minds.  

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The survey of 750 Likely Voters in Georgia was conducted on October 6, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Barnes faces an electorate that trends conservative, enough so that the Democrat declined to even meet with President Obama when he visited the state in August. 

Twenty-seven percent (27%) of voters in the state consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement. This finding is double the level measured nationally.  Fifty-nine percent (59%) do not consider themselves members of that movement, but 15% more are not sure.

Most Tea Party members (90%) in Georgia back Deal, while 60% of non-members favor Barnes.

Eleven percent (11%) of all voters in the state rate the U.S. economy as good or excellent, but 54% describe it as poor. Thirty-one percent (31%) say the economy is getting better, while 44% say it’s getting worse.

Barnes has an overwhelming lead among voters who say the economy is improving. Deal has an equally solid lead among those who think things are worsening economically. 

Forty-nine percent (49%) of the state’s voters have a favorable opinion of Deal, with 14% who view him Very Favorably. He is viewed unfavorably by 47%, including 22% with a Very Unfavorable view. 

For Barnes, favorables are 44% and unfavorables 54%, including 23% Very Favorable and 33% Very Unfavorable.
Monds is regarded favorably by 32% and unfavorably by 30%. This includes three percent (3%) Very Favorable and 12% Very Unfavorable. But 38% don’t know enough about the Libertarian hopeful to voice any kind of opinion of him.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of all Georgia voters think the policies of the federal government encourage illegal immigration, slightly lower than findings nationally. Twenty-four percent (24%) disagree, and 21% aren’t sure.

Fifty-two percent (52%) think it’s better to let states enforce laws against illegal immigration rather than to rely on the federal government. Forty-three percent (43%) say it’s best to let the federal government enforce those laws.

Eighty-six percent (86%) say immigration is at least somewhat important to how they will vote next month, including 50% who say it is Very Important. 

Current Republican Governor Sonny Perdue, who defeated Barnes in 2002, is term-limited.  Fifty-three percent (53%) of Georgia voters approve of the job Perdue is doing as governor, while 44% disapprove.

Additional questions from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only. 

In 2008, Rasmussen Reports projected nationally that Barack Obama would defeat John McCain by a 52% to 46% margin. Obama won 53% to 46%. Four years earlier, Rasmussen Reports had projected the national vote totals for both George W. Bush and John Kerry within half-a-percentage-point.

In Georgia, Rasmussen Reports polled on two races during the 2008 campaign. In the race for president, Rasmussen polling showed McCain defeating Obama 52% to 47%, and McCain won 52% to 47%. In the 2008 Georgia Senate race, Rasmussen polling showed Saxby Chambliss leading Jim Martin 50% to 46% in the general election. Chambliss won 50% to 47%.

In the 2006 governor’s race, Rasmussen polling showed Perdue beating Mark Taylor 57% to 32%. Perdue won 58% to 38%.

In the 2004 presidential race, Rasmussen polling in Georgia showed George W. Bush defeating John Kerry by 15 points, 54% to 39%. Bush won by 17, 58% to 41%. In the 2004 Senate race, Rasmussen polling just before Election Day showed Johnny Isakson leading Denise Majette 54% to 42%. Isakson won 58% to 40%.

Rasmussen Reports also has released recent polls on the 2010 governor’s races in Alabama, ArizonaCaliforniaColoradoConnecticut,FloridaHawaiiIdaho,IllinoisIowaKansasMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaNebraska,NevadaNew Hampshire, New MexicoNew YorkOhioOklahoma, Oregon,
PennsylvaniaSouth CarolinaTennesseeTexasVermontWisconsin and Wyoming.

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Survey toplines and crosstabs are available to Platinum Members only.

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