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Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during an election-night watch party, in Atlanta, on May 24, 2022.
Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during an election-night watch party, in Atlanta, on May 24, 2022.John Bazemore / AP

Kemp poll has him ahead of Abrams but his pollster frets about the Democrat’s war chest

"This is going to be a close race" despite five-point lead, Kemp's pollster tells NBC News. "Stacey Abrams has a crap-ton of money.”


Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has a five-point advantage over Democrat Stacey Abrams in their rematch, leading the fall race with a 50%-45% advantage — and appearing to make modest inroads with non-White voters — according to a polling memo written by the Republican’s campaign and obtained by NBC News.

Kemp’s lead jibes with most other recent independent polls, so the survey is not an outlier. It also shows President Joe Biden under water: just 40% of Georgia voters view him favorably while 58% have an unfavorable opinion of the president.

In his polling memo, Kemp pollster Brent Buchanan wrote that Abrams numbers have been stagnant since the last time the campaign polled the race in February, before Kemp’s big primary win March 24. But since then, the governor has increased his share of those who say they are “definite” to vote for him, the memo says and those who give him a “very favorable” rating is up 10 points.

“This is going to be a close race,” Buchanan told NBC News, saying his candidate can’t take the state for granted “because it's Georgia. Georgia is changing. Stacey Abrams has a crap-ton of money.

While Abrams is winning Black voters by 77 points, Kemp’s poll says a quarter of Black voters under 35 support him and are “overwhelmingly concerned about the cost of gas and rising costs without a pay increase.” And about 10% Black men over 35 support him.

The poll of 1,200 voters has an error margin of +/- 2.65% and oversampled Black and Hispanic voters.

The poll shows Kemp winning Hispanic and Asian-American women over 50, and Hispanic and Asian-American middle-aged men. Still, Abrams is winning Hispanics overall by 14 points and Asian-Americans by 8 points.

Kemp’s strength is with white voters: They are 51% of the registered voter pool in the state and he’s winning them by 42 points.

By party identification, Kemp and Abrams get similar shares of their party’s voters, but Kemp is winning independents by 4 points.

The numbers and trends give the Kemp campaign more confidence, Buchanan told NBC, because it indicates the U.S. Supreme Court’s repeal of abortion rights hasn’t fundamentally changed the race, where inflation is the top issue.

“Kemp has a 5-point lead and he’s opening up lanes of opportunity with minority voters when Democrats said this was going to be their pivotal election moment,” Buchanan said.

Read the memo here.