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Poll: Georgia is in play in presidential race

Clinton and Trump in statistical tie in a state Democrats haven’t carried since 1992

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

georgia mugATLANTA (CFP) — A new poll shows that Georgia is in play in the race for the White House for the first time in 24 years, the latest evidence of a shift in the Southern electoral map.

white-house-chaseThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released August 6 put Democrat Hillary Clinton at 41 percent to 38 percent for Republican Donald Trump, 11 percent for Libertarian Gary Johnson and 2 percent for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points, which means that Clinton and Trump were in a statistical tie.

Both Clinton and Trump are widely, and equally, unpopular in the Peach State. The poll found that 58 percent of voters had an unfavorable view of both candidates.

Johnson’s double-digit support is evidence of that satisfaction. Four years ago, when he was also the libertarian standard-bearer, he polled just 1 percent in Georgia.

The last Democrat to carry Georgia was Clinton’s husband, Bill, in 1992, when he squeaked by President George W. Bush in a three-way race with independent Ross Perot.

Since then, Republicans have owned the state at the presidential level. In 2012, Mitt Romney beat President Obama by 8 points.

Despite the indications of a close race in Georgia, the Clinton campaign has not yet diverted its resources to the state and has not gone up with TV ads. Trump, who won the state’s Republican primary, has also not aired TV ads.

Georgia’s shift into swing-state status is the latest evidence of a shift in the Electoral College map in the South. In 2008 and 2012, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina were all toss-ups; now, Clinton has opened up leads in Florida and in Virginia, where the her campaign is confident enough of victory that it stopped advertising.

There has been little public polling across the rest of the South to indicate whether Clinton has made headway anywhere else. However, a poll back in April showed she and Trump in a statistical tied in Mississippi, a state Democrats have not carried since 1980.

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