Jimmy Carter's grandson has pulled within eight points of Georgia's GOP Gov. Nathan Deal in next year's gubernatorial race, according to internal Democrat Party polling.
The poll gives the Democrats hope that with Jason Carter's name recognition, they can pull off an upset win in the Peach Tree State.
The poll, obtained by Politico
, was commissioned by the Georgia Democratic Party and the Democratic Governors Association.
Carter, 38, has been a state senator since winning a special election in Decatur in 2010. He is the son of Jack Carter, who is the oldest of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's four children. He announced last week that he would challenge Deal, saying the move was another step in following his grandfather, who was a state senator and governor before winning the White House in 1976.
The poll showed Carter trailing Deal by 44 percent to 36 percent. But after poll takers read a positive statement for each man and asked likely voters to think again, Carter surged to a 45 percent to 40 percent lead.
Deal has a buoyant favorability rating, with 49 percent of voters holding a positive view of him and 31 percent a negative one. But 49 percent of voters also say they would prefer a new governor, while 36 percent favor re-electing Deal for a second term.
"Positive communication can dramatically shift the race in Carter’s favor," pollsters Anzalone Liszt Grove Research maintains in a memo obtained by Politico.
"Deal’s vulnerability against Jason Carter is driven by weak popularity and job ratings."
The poll of 600 likely voters was conducted Oct. 14-20, well before Carter had officially announced he would run.
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