The Truth about GA Swing Voters

Biden’s Approval Rating, Political Distancing from Trump, and GOP Culture Wars are common explanations to the current Republican polling boom. But what are the forces that are truly moving swing voters to the right? Our research suggest that a Republican Governor's handling of Covid-19 is by far the most important driver of these critical votes.

David Burrell

by David Burrell, CEO at Wick

4 min read

Wick is conducting a three-month study of swing voters as a part of our survey subscription program (Truth On-Demand™) that consists of frequent state-level and national surveys. This article is an early sneak peek at one of the key insights using data from Wick’s home state of Georgia.

The Sneak Peek

Biden’s Approval Rating, Political Distancing from Trump, and GOP Culture Wars are common explanations for the current Republican polling boom. But what are the forces that are truly moving swing voters to the right?

As a part of Wick’s Truth On-Demand™ Omnibus Program, we are asking questions that should help answer that question. It is a program of many state-level surveys that run multiple times a month, and across all of the states, we are already seeing some early indications that COVID-19 policies may be the strongest force in swing voters’ 2022 party preference. For this article, we are using our most recent round of surveys in Georgia to demonstrate this insight.

About this Survey

This survey was conducted as a part of Wick’s Truth on Demand™ program, a collection of state-level and national omnibus surveys made available to a limited number of subscribers. Data for this survey was collected using text-to-web, online panel, and IVR methods. The survey was fielded from Feb 2nd to 6th, 2022 among a random sample of 1290 Likely Voters in the 2022 General Election. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.

Before we get into the insights, let’s look at the hypothetical ballot tests for statewide offices. As you will see below, Kemp is the only Republican whose lead against the likely Democrat opponent is outside the Margin of Error (+/- 2.7%):

Click the following link for data source: Question Text & Demographics

All of the Republican leads are a slight swing from the partisanship represented by the election outcomes in 2020 and 2021. At that time Biden, Ossoff, and Warnock defeated their Republican opponents by 0.3%, 1.2%, and 2.0% respectively. Early in our analysis, we are seeing that Kemp’s handling of COVID-19 may be the biggest force behind this swing, and here is how we got to that conclusion:

First, we created groups of respondents whose answers may indicate that they are swing voters. Here are some examples of the groups we are looking at as a part of our study in Georgia:

  • Group 1: Respondents that answered they voted for Joe Biden, but who also answered they would vote for Kemp or are undecided.

  • Group 2: Respondents that answered they would vote for Kemp in against Abrams, but in the Perdue/Abrams hypothetical ballot, they switch to Abrams or are undecided.

  • Group 3: Respondents that answered that they plan to vote for Kemp against Abrams, but in the Walker/Warnock hypothetical ballot, they answer Warnock or are undecided.

After creating these groups, we looked for the big differences in opinions between a voter’s seemingly contradictory cohorts. For example, when looking at the difference between the people who voted for Biden in ’20 and plan to vote for Kemp in 2022, Kemp’s approval rating related to the handling of COVID-19 has jumped off the page more than anything else we have seen to date. In the chart below you will see that Biden voters who are staying with the Democrat Party and plan to vote for Abrams have a net -46% of Kemps handling of Covid-19. Those Biden Voters that plan to vote for Kemp are at +65%. There are 111 points between those numbers, showing a strong correlation between approval of COVID-19 and projected voting behavior.

Click the following links for filtered reports: All Respondents, ’20 Biden Voters, ’20 Biden to ’22 Abrams, ’20 Biden to ’22 Kemp

Now let’s look at we look at the same groups of respondents’ approval of Joe Biden and Donald Trump in table 1. As you can see, among ’20 Biden Voters, Biden is popular and Trump is unpopular in both cohorts of respondents.

Table 1: Comparative View of 2020 Biden Voters based on their 2022 vote preference

Net Trump Approval-77%-58%21 points
Net Biden Approval78%48%31 points
Net Kemp/COVID Approval-47%65%111 points

Closing Thoughts

The fact that there is such a strong correlation between approving of Kemp’s handling of COVID-19 and swinging from a ’20 Biden voter to a ’22 Kemp voter is just a drop in the bucket of answers needed to fully understand ’22 swing voters. But it is one that we are going to keep an eye on and dive deeper into by answering the question, “how does this correlation between the handling of COVID-19 and public opinion translate to swings of voting behaviors in local and federal elections?” If it’s true that Republican Governors are seeing an ROI on their early pandemic policies, one may wonder if the swing is going to benefit Republican candidates in federal races in those same states. Likewise, if voters are unhappy with a Democrat Governor’s responses (something we did not cover in this sneak peek), will it hurt democrat federal candidates in those same states? These answers and much more are coming for our subscribers in May 2022 when we release the full Swing Voter Report.

Want more?

The Full Swing Voter Report will be made exclusively available to Truth On-Demand™ State-Level Subscribers.

This analysis was conducted using results from our Truth on Demand™ state-level program. Subscribers to any of our state-level Truth On-Demand™ receive not only full access to Wick insight articles but also —

  • Complete topline and crosstabs from our 2x/month poll in your state through our interactive online platform.
  • An affordable always-on opportunity to add custom questions that are exclusive to your team at an affordable price.

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