Posted: 12:00 pm Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Jimmy Carter’s popularity could play into grandson’s run for governor 

By Greg Bluestein

Former President Jimmy Carter (far right) and grandson Jason Carter (second from right) campaign at the East Lake Farmers Market in 2010 during the younger Carter’s run for state Senate. Bita Honarvar, bhonarvar@ajc.com

Former President Jimmy Carter (far right) and grandson Jason Carter (second from right) campaign at the East Lake Farmers Market in 2010 during the younger Carter’s run for state Senate. Bita Honarvar, bhonarvar@ajc.com

Jason Carter’s strategists always recognized that his famous grandfather was something of a double-edged sword to his campaign for governor. But it may not be as sharp as once thought.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released today found that a clear majority of registered voters in Georgia – 61 percent – hold a favorable opinion of former President Jimmy Carter. Some 28 percent of them say they have a “very favorable” opinion of the one-term president, while about a third view him negatively.

You can find a full story about the poll, as well as the crosstabs and methodology, over at myajc.com. But here we’ll dig a little deeper into the Jimmy Carter findings.

We reported in April that the ex-president was playing a growing role the campaign for governor, including hosting an exclusive fundraiser in June at his Plains compound and boosting his grandson’s campaign on national TV.

It also offered an opening for the candidate’s critics, who have seized the chance to link the elder Carter’s liberal record to his grandson’s gubernatorial bid. Deal’s camp said the 89-year-old former president’s role makes it harder for his grandson to “maintain the sham that he’s a moderate Democrat.”

The poll, conducted by Abt SRBI Inc. with a margin of error of 4 percent, gave the ex-president sky high ratings among Democrats (86 percent) and a narrow majority among independents (51 percent). Some 40 percent of Republicans view him positively.

The elder Carter’s numbers were higher among younger residents, a sign that his post-presidential legacy has left a positive imprint. Some 52 percent of voters older than 65 – who were in adulthood during his term in the White House – have a favorable impression of the ex-president. That number edged above 60 percent for voters between the ages of 18-39 and 40-64.

Audrey Johnson is one of those younger voters who remember the president fondly. A 35-year-old chef and food services manager, Johnson is a black Republican who often supports conservative candidates. But she has a soft spot for Jimmy Carter.

“I don’t know why so many people hate him,” said Johnson, who is from Ellenwood. “He was on the positive side of civil rights in my opinion. I just don’t get it.”

Susie Hobson, a 74-year-old retiree from Ellijay, also gave the ex-president positive marks.

“He was a good man. He made a lot of mistakes, but he sure was a good man,” said Hobson, a Republican. “And he cared for the people. That went on after he left office. He came up here in Gilmer County and helped build houses – I’ll never forget that.”

Of course, Jimmy Carter’s name isn’t on the ballot. But poll results that show he’s not more divisive despite outspoken views on international and domestic controversies help explain why the younger Carter isn’t distancing himself from his grandpa.

46 comments
SergeantRock
SergeantRock

Jimmy Carter's popularity? On what planet?

td1234
td1234

Carter is behind Deal by 3 and Nunn is slightly ahead but look at the methodology of the poll. 


"For the land-line sample, interviewers were asked to speak with the youngest adult male or female currently at home based on a random rotation. If no male/female was available, interviewers asked to speak with the youngest adult of the other gender. For the cell sample, interviews were conducted with the person who answered the phone. Interviewers verified that the person was an adult and in a safe place before administering the survey."


In other words the youngest person in a household with a landline was polled when everyone knows the older and whiter the voter in Georgia to more likely they are to vote Republican. Realistically, Carter is behind by more than 7 points and Nunn is probably down by 4 or 5.  

RickinWarnerRobins
RickinWarnerRobins

Wow, I've never seen so many Carter apologists in one location before.  As far as the poll goes, the only way they could have gotten 61% of polled individuals to have a favorable opinion of Carter is to have given them more food stamps and welfare.

RickinWarnerRobins
RickinWarnerRobins

I don't know six people who would spit on Jimmy Carter if he was on fire...Jimmy Carter or not, this kid hasn't a chance.  Jimmy Carter and Obama are the two worst presidents this country has ever had and this kid carries that legacy.

DS
DS

"...the elder Carter’s liberal record..."

What? I know it's an automatic reflex for some people to assume that every Democrat must be a liberal, but I think one should look at a person's record to determine where he lands on the political spectrum.

Carter won the Democratic nomination for president in 1976 by appealing to southerners and conservative, rural Christians across the nation. He ran as a moderate, and his political views were to the right of his Democratic contenders, Mo Udall and Jerry Brown. He was a fresh face, which the nation welcomed after Watergate.

During his presidency, Carter mostly focused on foreign policy and a lousy economy (stagflation, which was exacerbated by OPEC oil shocks) but his actions on the domestic front included deregulation of the airline industry. Hardly a liberal. 

I'd describe Jimmy Carter as a moderate with a strong sense of right-and-wrong, which was formed by the way he was raised and his religious upbringing. These characteristics have carried through with his dedication to service after his presidency.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

Jimmy Carter endured a terrible, inflationary economy, soring gas prices and inadequate gas supplies, the Iran hostage taking and a dysfunctional military.  Yes - he lost the opportunity for a second term and endured all the humorous mud slinging that a native white Georgian with a thick southern accent can generate for the nightly comedians.  His post-Presidency performance and the Carter Center of Emory University will long live as one of the great undertakings of any ex-President.  Add to that a well-spoken, honest, straight-forward, nice-appearing Grandson with a charming wife and children and interests that parallel most middle-class young families and I think Jimmy Carter's reputation can only be burnished.  Will Jason benefit as well?  No question.  The Carters rock again.  The only humor now is the mud-slinging from those white Georgians cut from the same mold - throwing darts at themselves.

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

Carter, the President, was doomed to one term by the fact that he was resistent to seeking the counsel of those outside his circle, was never accepted by establishment Washington who set about to discredit him as soon as he got there and, he got in the way of the Kennedy legacy.

So what happened? His chief economic advisor was thrown into a controversy (the economy was in turmoil) and left the President without someone in his circle to give economic advise.

Teddy Kennedy undermined any possibility of party support. This outsider would remain one. Teddy ran against his own party's incumbent leaving the President ripe for the plucking by Reagan.

Yes, Iran played a part, but he was not supposed to succeed long before the hostages.

What most didn't count on was Carter's legacy being used against Democrats for the next 35 years.

He was the first president to put his faith out front and Republican conservatives have used that model with success ever since.

He's painted as a liberal, but close examination of his proposals and his time as governor point to a standard conservative southern Democrat of the times.

loran-whatayagot
loran-whatayagot

Jimmy Carter has "enduring popularity" ? The second worst president in American history?  You are so far away from the truth from the truth. That statement is ludicrous.

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

How bazaar is it that black woman who professes a 'soft spot' for Jimmy Carter because he was '...on the positive side of civil rights...', also claims to be a Republican? I mean doesn't this lady understand that the Republican Party has cashed in on white resentment - and continued racism - in the South to form their Southern Strategy and to build their base of support as the most prejudice-driven political movement since the Dixiecrats? As for Jimmy's reputation for having a failed Presidency, the man was a victim of his own honesty, and the belief that since he ran as an outsider he had a mandate and a mission to bring change to Washington...that was his mistake. The inside the beltway crowd - including Democrats - weren't about to let him change things. They even 'primaried' an incumbent with Mr. Insider, Ted Kennedy. He paid the price for the ultimate backlash to CIA-orchestrated (during the Eisenhower Administration) overthrow of the Iranian government...he was the victim of Begin's resentment to having been pushed into the Camp David Peace Accords when he (Begin) became a participant in the Reagan/Bush/Casay October Surprise that ultimately morphed into the Iran-Contra mess...he inherited a double-digit inflation rate, and even though his appointment of Paul Volker as head of The Treasury ultimately led to breaking the back of that inflation and brought interest rates back down, he was, and is, still blamed for those times.

Young Jason doesn't need to spend time and money trying to change perceptions of his Grandad's Presidency - thinking, objective, people already know the truth. He just needs to remind Georgians that their State was once viewed as the 'leader of The New South' has, under fourteen years of Republican leadership, become a laughing-stock...and not of just the South...and it's way past time for bright, progressive, leadership to return us to the front.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

“ 'He (Jimmy Carter) was a good man. He made a lot of mistakes, but he sure was a good man,' said Hobson, a Republican. 'And he cared for the people. . . .' "

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


That is a true statement.  "Caring for the people". . . .What better reason than that to go into public service?  Jason Carter has many of the traits of his grandfather, imho, and caring for the people is one of the most important.  Jason Carter makes me proud to be a Georgian, again, unlike most of the Republicans who are running for governor of Georgia. 

Asand211
Asand211

The AJC is laughable in how it's writers continue to try to push a liberal agenda.....pathetic.

EdUktr
EdUktr

Yes, the Carter boy would do better being associated with an old failed presidency rather than a current one.

Point
Point

The bigger sham is Nathan Deal pretending to be human.  You can't hurt people like he has and have a heart!


I also think the state should reject the Port of Savannah federal money unless they are willing to expand Medicaid.

honested
honested

The results of this poll should give pause to those who get their entire information package from talk radio and other wrong-wing media outlets.


They are under the misguided impression that there is broad disdain for President Carter.


Of course they also think there is broad acceptance of everything called 'tea party' so being wrong is normal to them.

The-Centrist
The-Centrist

Always thought it was interesting to contrast the post Presidential actions of Carter and Reagan.

When Reagan's term ended, he immediately flew to Japan and collected a couple million dollars for a speech.

Carter, on the other hand, went home to Americus and started building homes for poor folks

Not that there's anything wrong with getting paid for speeches - Bill Clinton is pretty good at that too.

But Carter is a man who takes his Christian faith seriously.  He should definitely be a net positive for Jason.

honested
honested

@SergeantRock  

The majority of this planet, where the teaklan is viewed as a brain disease.

The-Centrist
The-Centrist

Sorry, td, but you're wrong.  You failed to read further, where the methodology specifically considers all the variables in age to tweak the results to make them more accurate.  I know you're desperate for a Republican victory, but Georgia may be a bright spot for the Dems this year.

But I have to give you credit, at least you took the time to read the methodology.  Your fellow traveler, Mr. Plagiarism Centrist, just tossed up one of his usual unthinking comments - 'garbage push poll' - without bothering to do his research.

honested
honested

@td1234  

tiny dog,

yip, yip, yip, what happened to your barge elevator speech?

Get used to the phrase, Governor Carter!

honested
honested

@RickinWarnerRobins  

When a man does things that are in the best interest of American Citizens, what is there to apologize for?

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

It's good that you know people who won't spit on others. Carter would approve.

honested
honested

@RickinWarnerRobins  

Wow, you must keep a very close circle of wrong-thinking friends.

Were you here during the shrub Presidency?

Now there is the WORST President since Andrew Jackson!

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

Define worst. It just looks like you picked two ofor the party opposite yours and decided to forget about the presidentsame who have actually performed poorly...like Hoover, Reagan and Bush2.

No other president has harmed the US' a standing like those conservative nut bags.

DS
DS

@RickinWarnerRobins  Not even close. George W. Bush was the worst president this country has ever had, followed closely by James Buchanan.

honested
honested

@DS  

DS,

I guess we have to use the current definitions more carefully.

Liberal = Concerned about the well being of human beings.

Conserrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrvative = Concerned about the protection of the highest concentrations of wealth.

Charles50
Charles50

Too bad you can't handle the truth. For years, no decades people still travel to Plains to see him at his church. Everytime people think of Habitat they think Jimmy Carter.

Devotee
Devotee

@loran-whatayagot  

11 million jobs were created under his administration - a record at the time; he is the first president to decrease the federal workforce and annual deficits - something Republicans only dream about.


What are you referring specifically?

bllbrwn423
bllbrwn423

@loran-whatayagot  What, then, do you make of the poll cited in the article?  How do we measure "the truth" of your claim about "second worst"?

Devotee
Devotee

@Asand211  

Can you give context of how they do that?  Did you link the poll?

Asand211
Asand211

@Point  yes, lets expand welfare.  At some point other people's money will run out.  

theoriginaltruth
theoriginaltruth

@honested Of course there is no "wide disdain" for Carter...the overwhelming ignorance of the American public was proven with the re-election of Obama. That coupled with the political and historical myopia of the public at large should surprise no one.


This country is in dire straits due to this same ignorance....a fact displayed by the US ranking around 27th in the world in education....and amplified by the fact that US corporations have to import brains from India and Pakistan to do the heavy work in the worlds of Math and Science....



theoriginaltruth
theoriginaltruth

@The-Centrist And what has your Daddy Obama ever done except make speechs ? Oh I know, he has acted so cool that the ill informed "millenials" follow him like Lemmings....

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

I think you are barking up the wrong tree with the Jackson reference. Conservatives have no problem with genocide...unless the target is white Christians.

meno
meno

@Asand211 @Point Expect when it is used to pad the accounts of fat cats and big wigs.

honested
honested

@theoriginaltruth @honested 

The overwhelming ignorance was displayed by re-electing the do-nothing republicant majority to the House and allowing them to maintain a ridiculously inadequate level of revenue.

Only by increasing funding to the schools from ALL levels of taxation will we ever return to a point of collective wisdom where everyone benefits.

This country may be in 'dire straits' as you put it, but if so it is because so many have refused to learn from the failed experiment of 'supply side'.

The-Centrist
The-Centrist

What has he done?

The ACA, which has substantially increased the numbers of insured Americans - increasing everyone's security.  Ended sexual orientation discrimination in the military.  Ended subsidies for big banks which make student loans.  Ended the war in Iraq.  Killed bin Laden.  Reversed the declining economy he was left with after 8 years of Republican rule.  Several million new jobs.

And he's done all that in spite of unwavering opposition from dead end Republican tp'ers.

But then, somehow I figure you're not really interested in 'truth' - original or not.

Asand211
Asand211

@honested @theoriginaltruth  And increasing funding to schools improving performance is nothing more than a myth.  Look at schools in detroit and Atlanta for that matter.  Good students start at home with good parenting.  My children attend the number one school system in the state which is far from well funded.  How about focusing money on programs to strengthen family structure which produces result in all facets of life....but responsibility is the opposite of what liberals want.

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