For 4th time in a row, Deal is Georgians' choice, GOP's best bet
In an independent poll released Thursday, Rasmussen Reports shows for a fourth straight time that Republican candidate Nathan Deal is the strongest candidate in a head-to-head matchup with Democrat Roy Barnes.
In the poll on the Georgia governor's race conducted a day after Deal captured a spot in the Aug. 10 Republican runoff, Deal had 49 percent to Barnes' 43 percent. This gives Deal an advantage beyond the poll's margin of error.
Deal's opponent in the runoff, Karen Handel, managed only a 45-44 lead over Barnes, putting the two candidates in a statistical tie.
The poll also showed that 54 percent of those polled believe Nathan is a conservative. That is 10 percent higher than Handel, who has received a "Pants on Fire" rating from Politifact for her efforts to deny her liberal record.
"This poll backs up my argument for why I'll win on Aug. 10 against Karen Handel and why I'll win in November against Roy Barnes," Deal said. "Georgia voters are studying the candidates, and they see that I'm the conservative they can trust on the important issues. Georgia Republicans are returning to the polls to decide their nominee for governor. They want a conservative and they want a candidate who can beat Roy Barnes. On both counts, I am that candidate.
"Republican voters will consider not only this lead over Barnes, but also the consistency of this lead over a period of months. Even after Barnes spent millions on television ads all over the state, my polling advantage over him has remained unchanged."
Also this week, Barnes issued a challenge for the eventual Republican nominee to debate him face-to-face without a panel of reporters.
"I accept Governor Barnes' challenge," Deal said. "When I am the Republican nominee, I'll meet him whenever and wherever. I hope Republican voters will strongly consider which candidate in this race is best prepared to take on Barnes toe to toe. My opponent skipped two major debates last week, including the only statewide televised debate. I look forward to explaining my plans for lower taxes on Georgia's families while Barnes tries to explain who is going to pay for the billions in new spending he has proposed."