Former President Donald Trump still plans to make his way to Georgia this weekend for the state Republican convention following his indictment on federal charges. And Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's PAC is welcoming him with a poll that shows a generic Republican not named Trump fares much better in a 2024 general election race.
It is significant that a group aligned with Kemp would circulate the poll, which was conducted prior to the indictment, as the former president comes to Georgia. Trump and Kemp have been at odds since the governor resisted Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. Trump then worked to defeat Kemp in his 2022 primary, which the governor easily won.
The poll, conducted by the Republican firm Cygnal and commissioned by Kemp's Hardworking Americans PAC, shows Trump and Biden in a virtual tie in Georgia, with Trump getting support from 42% of Georgia’s likely statewide voters and Biden getting 41%. By comparison, the same poll shows a generic Republican leading Biden by 10 points, 48%-38%.
"Generic" Republicans or Democrats without identities — and the accompanying flaws — do often perform better in polls than actual named politicians. But the poll also shows Kemp with a favorable rating above 50% in tightly divided Georgia, and Biden’s and Trump’s ratings in the low 40s.
“Winning statewide in the Peach State next year as a Republican means following Gov. Brian Kemp’s blueprint — not looking in the rearview mirror,” said Cody Hall, executive director of Hardworking Americans. “The road to the White House runs through Georgia, but it hits a dead end if Republicans nominate candidates next year who struggle to win general elections.”
Kemp has said he has no plans to jump into the 2024 presidential race, but has promised to remain engaged in the contest making it clear he believes Republicans cannot win if they do not win Georgia.
He has generally resisted attacking Trump directly, instead repeatedly pointing to the issue of electability. But he did tweet about Trump's recent praise of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, writing: "Taking our country back from Joe Biden does not start with congratulating North Korea’s murderous dictator."
NBC News reported in May that Kemp held a private donor retreat where he told those in attendance that Republicans “have to be able to win a general election. Because we can’t score points if we don’t have the ball,” according to a source in attendance.
Kemp will not be at the state GOP convention Trump will headline Saturday night — another sign that he is distancing himself from the former president as his legal problems mount.