-You can add Georgia to the list of states where voters say they might elect a Democratic Governor instead of the Republican they chose last fall if they could do it over again- Roy Barnes leads Nathan Deal 46-45 in a hypothetical rematch.
The interesting thing in this instance is that in contrast to Scott Walker, John Kasich, Rick Snyder, and Rick Scott Deal is actually not suffering from a high level of unpopularity. Voters are more ambivalent toward him than anything else- 35% approve of the job he's doing, 31% disapprove, and 34% have no opinion.
The fact that a rematch would be a toss up is less a reflection of voters being disgusted with Deal than it is a reminder that Democratic voters were asleep at the wheel last fall. The party id breakdown on our poll is 39% Democratic and 40% Republican, reflecting a slightly more GOP friendly electorate than what the exit poll for the state in 2008 found, which was 38% Democrats and 35% Republicans. There was no exit poll for Georgia last year but Survey USA's final poll on the race was accurate and they found an electorate consisting of 42% Republicans and just 34% Democrats. Presidential year electorate and Barnes probably beats Deal- but in the midterm Democrats stayed home in large numbers and if they're unhappy about Governor Deal, well, they did it to themselves.
-We polled on a trio of prominent Georgia politicians past and found all of them decently popular. Sam Nunn came out with a +29 favorability spread (47/18), followed by Zell Miller at +23 (47/24), and Max Cleland at +8 (38/30). 35% of voters with no opinion about Nunn, 29% with no opinion about Miller, and 32% with no opinion about Cleland is a reminder of how much Georgia's population is changing- there's just a huge chunk of voters who never lived in the state when any of those guys were in office.
Nunn's poll numbers are interesting when broken down by party. Independents actually have the highest opinion of him at a 53/8 spread, followed by Republicans at a 49/17 spread, and his own Democrats at a 40/24 spread. It's not often you see a Democratic politician more popular with Republicans than Democrats and given the general ambivalence of independents toward all politicians it's even more surprising to see that his greatest level of popularity is with them.
It's not at all surprising that Miller's highest level of popularity is with Republicans at a 58/15 breakdown (that makes him more popular with GOP voters than Deal, Senator Saxby Chambliss, or former Governor Sonny Perdue.) What might be more surprising is that a plurality of Democrats still like Miller at 37% with a favorable opinion of him to 35% with a negative one. Evidently his tenure as Governor is still outweighing what he's done since in many Democrats' minds.
-Speaking of Perdue voters don't reflect very positively on his tenure as Governor. Only 38% express approval for the work he did over the course of his eight years in office, compared to 46% who disapprove. What's interesting about Perdue's numbers is that they're unusually good with Democrats- 29% of them say they think he did a good job to 58% who dissent when we tend to see Governors well below 20% with voters of the opposite party. What's really dragging down Perdue's numbers is how Republicans rate him- just 48% think he did a good job as Governor while 35% disagree. It's their lack of enthusiasm for his work that has the state's voters overall looking back on him in a negative light.
-There's a clear winner in the popularity derby for the state's Senate delegation. Johnny Isakson has a 44% approval rating with only 29% of voters disapproving of him while Chambliss' approval is only 38% with 33% of voters expressing disapproval of him. Both Senators' numbers are on the rise since we last polled Georgia in February of 2010. Isakson's up a net 17 points from his 36/38 standing at that time and Chambliss is up a net 10. Clearly Isakson made a good impression as he reintroduced himself to voters over the course of his reelection bid.
-And finally 56% of voters think it's time to legalize Sunday alcohol sales in the state to 38% who are opposed. The most interesting thing on these numbers might be the lack of disparity across party lines- majorities of independents (60%), Republicans (57%), and Democrats (53%) favor the state making that move into the 21st century.
Full results here