COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — A poll conducted by Emerson College Polling/The Hill and commissioned by Nexstar Media, Inc., parent company of WRBL, shows that Gov. Brian Kemp is leading challenger former U.S. Sen. David Perdue in the Georgia Republican gubernatorial primary.
Kemp has an 11-point lead over Perdue, 43 percent to 32. There is 17 percent who are undecided.
The poll, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent, also shows that former Georgia football star Herschel Walker (R) leads Sen. Raphael Warnock (R) 49 percent to 45 percent in a likely November General Election battle.
Walker leads the crowded field of Republican candidates for the nomination with 57 percent of the vote with his closest competitor at 13 percent for Agricultural Commissioner Gary Black and 16 percent are undecided.
Warnock leads the Democratic party nomination with 85 percent.
The Emerson College/The Hill Georgia poll was conducted April 1-3. It polled 1,013 registered voters, 509 of whom are likely voters. It was commissioned by Nexstar which owns and operates three television stations in Georgia, WRBL in Columbus, WSAV in Savannah and WJBF in Augusta.
The poll measures former President Donald Trump’s potential impact on the Republican gubernatorial race. Trump has been highly critical of Kemp because the governor did not side with the former president in the wake of the 2020 presidential race, where Trump lost to President Joe Biden in Georgia.
Trump is backing Perdue and held a rally in north Georgia days before this poll was conducted.
A plurality – 38 percent — of Republican primary voters say Trump’s endorsement of Perdue makes them more likely to support Perdue. On the flip side, 30 percent said it made them less likely and 32 percent said it made no difference.
However, “a majority (58 percent) of undecided Republican gubernatorial primary voters say Trump’s endorsement of Perdue has no impact on their vote,” noted Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling.
Looking ahead to the November general election, in hypothetical ballot tests Kemp leads presumptive Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams 51 percent to 44 percent with 5 percent undecided.
Against Perdue, Abrams trails 44 percent to 49 percent with 7 percent undecided.
“Abrams holds the majority of support in the General Election among voters under 50, while Kemp and Perdue have a strong majority of voters over 50,” Kimball said. “Abrams’ chances in November depend in large part on whether or not these younger voters turnout.”
The Kemp camp had a strong reaction to the poll numbers.
“After a Perdue rally and $3 million spent by him and his allies since February throwing mud at Brian Kemp, the governor still holds a double-digit lead,” spokesman Cody Hall said in a statement. “It is clear Georgians aren’t buying what David Perdue is selling. Every public poll shows Gov. Kemp is the only Republican who will beat Stacey Abrams this November. It is past time for David Perdue to realize he is the only thing standing in the way of Georgia Republicans achieving that goal.”
That is not how the Perdue campaign reads the numbers.
“These numbers once again show Kemp is in serious trouble,” said Perdue spokeswoman Jenni Sweat. “An incumbent stuck in the low 40s both on the full ballot and in a head-to-head matchup is the definition of a sinking ship. Kemp realizes he’s in trouble with conservatives and is spending millions attacking Perdue. Those attacks aren’t working, and Perdue’s numbers will rise when he goes back on TV. If you’re undecided at this point, you’re likely not going back to the incumbent. Perdue is in a strong position to win this primary and become Georgia’s next Governor.”