Deal’s lead of 38 to 35 percent is within the margin of error

Republican Governor Nathan Deal is locked in a tight battle for re-election with Democratic challenger Jason Carter, according to a new poll by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute. Jason Carter is the grandson of Jimmy Carter, former president and Georgia governor.

Governor Deal leads Carter by 38 to 35 percent among likely general election voters, but that advantage is within the survey’s margin of error, and the race should be considered statistically tied. Seven percent of voters said they support Libertarian Andrew Hunt. Twenty percent of voters said they backed some other candidate or were undecided.

“Governor Deal maintains a narrow lead, but his support has eroded since his ten-point win in 2010,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University.  “In our poll, less than 40 percent of voters are committed to Deal, and this is concerning for an incumbent this late in the election year.  Voters appear to have some reservation in supporting him, despite Deal being viewed favorably by 54 percent of voters in our sample, far surpassing his competitors.”

Carter is competitive despite 26 percent of voters saying they haven’t heard of him. Carter is viewed favorably by 32 percent of voters and unfavorably by 27 percent, for a net favorability rating of +5. Governor Deal’s net favorability rating is +18, with 54 percent of voters holding favorable views and 36 percent holding unfavorable views toward him.

“Jason Carter’s famous name gives him influence at the ballot box and with fundraising. Despite being the grandson of a former president, two in five voters don’t know enough about him to form an opinion. Carter must find a way to use his name to his advantage to gain visibility while distancing himself from his grandfather’s more liberal viewpoints that lean to the left of most Georgians today,” said Orlando. “Looking ahead, Deal needs to shore up his support among Republicans, as only seven in 10 GOP members show support for the incumbent,” stated Orlando.  “Because of the state’s conservative tendency, Deal must ensure that he doesn’t lose votes from co-partisans to both Carter and wild card Libertarian candidate, Andrew Hunt.”

To view poll results click here.

About the Saint Leo University Polling Institute/Methodology

This Saint Leo University Polling Institute poll of likely voters who live in Georgia was conducted May 5-6, 2014, using a blended sample reached by Interactive Voice Response and an online panel. The sample size was 1,000 likely voters. Of these, 850 respondents (85 percent of sample) were reached on randomly dialed landline telephones using an automatic dialer, pre-recorded questions, and touch-tone telephone keypad responses. To ensure that a representative sample of younger voters was included, 150 respondents (15 percent of sample) were reached using an online panel. The margin of error for general election results is +/- 3 percent with a 95 percent confidence level.

To view the Saint Leo University Polling Institute’s political and policy results, including methodology, visit the polling institute’s website, You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls. Saint Leo’s main website is

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is a regionally accredited, liberal-arts-based institution known for an inclusive Catholic heritage, enduring values, and capacity for innovation. The school was chartered in 1889 by Catholic Benedictine monks in rural Pasco County, FL, making Saint Leo the first Catholic college in the state. Over its 125-year history, Saint Leo has provided access to education to people of all faiths, emphasizing the Benedictine philosophy of balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit.  Today the university welcomes learners from all generations and backgrounds, from civilian occupations and the armed forces, and from all 50 states and more than 60 nations. Saint Leo’s 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students may elect to study at the beautiful University Campus in Florida, at more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from other locations. The university’s degree programs range from the associate to the doctorate. Throughout these rich offerings, Saint Leo develops principled leaders for a challenging world.

Media Contacts: Kim Payne, staff writer and media coordinator, at or (352) 588-7233/(717) 798-1508 or Jo-Ann Johnston, academic communications manager, at or (352) 588-8237/(352) 467-0843.