Milledgeville, Dec. 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Georgians remain positive about the state’s economy and say education and healthcare rank as the top issues facing the state, according to a recent poll conducted by Georgia College & State University.

The Georgia College Department of Government and Sociology released its fifth edition of Georgia's State of the State Poll (GSSP), which takes the pulse of residents on key issues. The poll focuses the economy, job performance of elected leaders and more.

“Overall, Georgians continue to be optimistic about the direction of the state,” said Dr. Min Kim, co-author and interim chair of the Georgia College Department of Government and Sociology. “Most respondents also say they are satisfied with
 the economic development efforts in their area.”

However, the majority of Georgians are dissatisfied with public education and, like last year, would be willing to invest more money to improve the system. Only nine percent of Georgians report strong satisfaction with public education, with 24.9 percent indicating a strong dissatisfaction. Just over 65 percent of respondents say they’re willing to pay more taxes to improve education.

As the legislature gears up for the new session in January, the poll found that just under half of Georgians (49.9 percent) support casino gambling in the state and 43.5 percent oppose it.

About 72 percent favor legalizing medical marijuana. Almost half of the respondents were in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

For political leaders, Gov. Nathan Deal’s approval rating (54.6 percent) is higher than last year, as well as Sen. Johnny Isakson (42.7 percent) and the state legislature (44.7 percent). Sen. David Perdue’s approval rating is slightly lower than last year at 43 percent.

Other findings include:

  • The majority of Georgians are positive about the sale of alcoholic beverages at 11 a.m. on Sundays as well as supportive of the Hands-Free Georgia Act. 

  • The most trusted level of government was at the city level.
  • A significant percentage of Hispanics (42.3%) say they’ve had their household impacted by cuts in state programs and services. Overall, 23.4 percent of Georgians report that their household has been impacted by cuts in state programs and services.
  • At the time when the poll was conducted, respondents believed Stacey Abrams would win the gubernatorial race with 38.9 percent of the vote, followed closely by Brian Kemp with 36.6 percent.
  • The majority of Georgians disapprove (54.9 percent) of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as President. 

  • At the time the poll was conducted, the majority of Georgians (64.9 percent) supported a $1 billion economic incentive to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to Atlanta.

“The GSSP aims to engage the state’s citizenry and increase the understanding of various issues among policymakers and their constituents,” said Senior Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Dr. Costas Spirou.

The 2018 Georgia's State of the State Poll was conducted by a random telephone survey between Aug. 29 and Sept. 9, 2018. The margin of error for the survey is +/-4.4 percent. All participants interviewed were 18 years of age or older.

View the full poll results here.  


Cindy O'Donnell
Georgia College and State University