AJC poll: Why Georgia Republican politicians are sticking with Trump

Donald Trump at the Georgia World Congress Center in February. Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

Donald Trump at the Georgia World Congress Center in February. Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

As dozens of high-profile Republicans in other states have abandoned Donald Trump, Georgia’s GOP establishment has stuck by him. And the Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released Friday helps explain why.

Nearly half of Georgia Republicans say they’re more likely to vote for an elected official who supports Trump, and another 38 percent said it wouldn’t make any difference. Only a small fraction of Georgia GOP voters – 6 percent – say backing Trump makes them less likely to support that politician.

It means that Republicans have much to lose politically – and little to gain – for speaking out against the New York businessman. Which is why we see Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and others with an eye on higher office walking a fine line with Trump.

Still, many state leaders have criticized Trump for his crude remarks about women and refusal to say whether he’d accept the election results. And some high-profile Republicans, including state Rep. Allen Peake, have stopped just short of disavowing his campaign.

While standing by Trump helps them with the GOP base, it has a more muted effect on the influential independent bloc of voters who usually break toward Republicans in Georgia. Only 16 percent said loyalty to Trump would make them more likely to support a candidate – and a third said it could turn them away.

Read more about the poll:

Why the presidential race in Georgia could come down to the wire

AJC poll: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are deadlocked in Georgia

AJC poll: Isakson has big lead in Ga. Senate race, but runoff possible

Watch a video about the poll

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