It’s Trump versus Pence in Georgia, Says Pollster Matt Towery

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The following is a rush transcript of the Todd Starnes Radio Show 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. eastern. Todd interviewed renowned pollster Matt Towery about the Georgia primary races. Listen to the full interview above.

TODD: [00:21:43] And Joe, that is that is great advice. And I do want to go right now to the Patriot Mobile Newsmaker Line and our good friend from Insider Advantage. We’ve got our friend Matt Towery with us, who’s one of the top pollsters, top political analysts in America. Matt, good to have you back with us. Thank God this has got to be like Christmas Day for you. I mean, this is a pretty fun. It has been a contentious race, but you’ve got a lot happening there in Georgia tomorrow.

TOWERY: [00:22:11] Well, we do. It’s been Christmas Day the last few weeks between Pennsylvania and the other states, the various races we’ve been polling for the FOX affiliates. So we’ve been pretty busy. Georgia has been very confusing because you’re getting a lot of polling that shows that this is a blowout. My poll shows that it’s not quite a blowout, but it’s a little closer race. We don’t know who’s right. Turnout models are a little bit different. It’s hard to get people to tell you whether or not they’re supporting an incumbent governor or not. So it’s a very confusing race. I live in Florida now and I said everyone I used to serve in the Georgia legislature, which very few people would see me know. But I tell all my friends that when I cross into Georgia now, they need to change the sign to say, welcome to the state of chaos, because it seems like our elections are nothing but chaos now.

TODD: [00:23:03] Yeah, now in Georgia. Are Democrats allowed to vote in the Republican primary?

TOWERY: [00:23:09] Yeah, there’s no there’s no registration by party. And so you basically can vote whichever primary you choose to name yourself appropriate to participate in.

TODD: [00:23:20] So how how big of an impact do you think that’s going to have tomorrow, those Democrats wanting to. What was that Rush Limbaugh called back in the day, Operation Chaos?

TOWERY: [00:23:29] Yeah, exactly. That gets back to my comment about the signs, you know, I don’t think that’s going to play a big role. We’re either going to see one or two things. Todd We’re either going to see that in reality, the massive amount of money that Brian Kemp has run and by the way, he had a very successful legislative session. If I if I were putting together a package to then run on TV, I would have basically done what Brian did. So we’re going to see whether that and the money that he has behind him versus the Trump endorsement and the forces that are trying to preserve the MAGA vote and the presence in Georgia, we’re going to see which one actually wins out here. I don’t expect, obviously, Perdue to win this thing. There is a chance, however, for it to go into a runoff. And I know I’m probably not alone pollster out there saying that, but I’ve told a lot of races in Georgia and I’ve learned when it comes to something that Donald Trump’s involved with, you have to go the extra mile to get the voters to tell you exactly what they’re really going to do.

TODD: [00:24:31] Matt, I was I was asked by the president to speak at the Georgia rally up in Commerce. And a couple of things. I was surprised by the smaller turnout. It wasn’t a huge, huge crowd. And a lot of that maybe had to do with the weather. It was bad weather. But what what really struck me is when Senator Perdue was introduced to the crowd, he was given polite applause compared to Herschel Walker, which, you know, he got the thunderous applause. Should we read anything into that?

TOWERY: [00:24:59] You know, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t think David Perdue has become the darling of Republicans in Georgia ever. It just isn’t his personality to be overly effusive or the like. That having been said, this is really a battle here. What my opinion is battle between Mike Pence and Donald Trump. The Pence organization, I think, has had a pretty substantial hand in a lot of things going on in this race. I think they feel like they can make a statement that Trump no longer matters. I don’t think that will be a fair statement. In fact, if Kemp should win, because one of the problems you had is that Perdue didn’t put any substantial money into his own race. I mean, they were dark on television for the last two weeks. And when’s the last time you saw a candidate running for a major office? His campaign didn’t run any ads. So that was a difficult situation for the president because the president then, of course, this is now being reported, funded various PACs to keep you alive, in essence. So whether that’s enough at the last minute, we’re going to see. But the president is clearly more popular than any of these candidates. He’s running about 70 to 75% approval rating in Georgia favorability now because he’s not president anymore. And most of anyone, any of these names that you throw out there are not. Now, I will say about Herschel, someone was interviewing me from a major newspaper today and said, well, you know, Herschel Walker isn’t all that well known. I thought, well, yeah, I said, Herschel Walker is the closest thing we have to a human deity in the state of Georgia. And they don’t realize that they need to go to Georgia 101 all over again. Herschel does get phenomenal response from the crowds and I think he’s doing a good job there. His issue will be can withstand the incredible degree of attack he’s going to get from the Atlanta newspaper and from the Democrats just as soon as he gets the nomination.

TODD: [00:26:55] Now, that’s a and that’s a great question. And and again, I I know from a strategy standpoint why they didn’t want him to debate in the Republican primaries. I hope that doesn’t come back to bite him if, in fact, there are debates, you know, as we head into the general.

TOWERY: [00:27:10] Yeah. You know Todd I was of the opinion that he should have debated you know I I’d been a I was a nominee for lieutenant governor back eons ago when Republicans could win. And I had the debate and I had the debate against an incumbent senator when I become lieutenant governor. That’s the sort of thing you have to do. It’s a baptism by fire, but you hate to do it with, you know, two weeks to go or two weeks before early voting. And certainly those those panels are always hostile to a Republican, particularly they’ll be the eventual that’s that. I’ve been very pleased with the progress I’ve seen Herschel make. He is ability to stay on top of these issues. He’s a very bright guy and he really does understand the issues cold. Now, whether or not he’s going to be able to get that across because he hasn’t had that experience remains to be seen.

TODD: [00:27:57] Meanwhile, you’ve got Stacey Abrams making some headlines saying Georgia is the worst state to live in. What what? I hope whoever the nominee is will be using that in their campaign advertisment around the clock.

TOWERY: [00:28:12] Well, you know, I don’t really say she’s a very bright woman. I’ve known her for years. And she I was shocked when she said that because it didn’t seem like something that was you know, she so careful she wasn’t she wouldn’t get near Joe Biden. When Biden came to talk about elections, her favorite subject in Georgia. So she’s usually a pretty skilled politician. There may be some method to the madness, but I don’t know what the method is right now. That was a that was a clear mistake, in my opinion.

TODD: [00:28:41] Is that going to be a tough race for the Republicans or is it going to be is it going to be a landslide, do you think?

TOWERY: [00:28:46] Well, let me put it to you this way, Todd. I make her the favorite right now, regardless of who gets the nomination. Here are the reasons why Georgia’s demographics have really been shifting towards the Democratic Party for the last five years and I mean, at a rapid rate. The second thing you have going is you have an African-American on the gubernatorial side, nominee for the Democrats and U.S. Senate. You’re going to have maximum African-American vote participation. The question will be and some of that vote be shared away. We certainly are seeing President Biden not get anywhere near the degree of approval that he’s that other Democrats get from the African-American community. When we poll nationally for Real Clear Politics and in Walker’s case, here’s an interesting tidbit. So everyone believes that this Roe v Wade thing is going to energize Democrats, and it may well do so. I think that’s what the leak was designed to do. But that having been said, Herschel Walker and his pro-life stance may actually get him vote in this particular race because we find a substantial number of African-American voters who are older are like pro-life candidates, except they will usually end up going for the Democrat unless they have a compelling reason. Herschel Walker himself is a compelling reasons why he’s not going to every black church in the state for the last six months. So I think Herschel may be able to break through. I think it’s going to be very difficult for Kemp or Perdue because particularly in Kemp’s case, you’re going to have a 10% of the Republican Party that simply will not vote for him. Now, hopefully, if he gets the nomination, he can overcome that. But right now, I’d say about 10% just will either not turn out to vote no, not vote for him or vote for someone else.

TODD: [00:30:28] I wonder if you if there is some sort of if Kemp is the guy, if there’s some sort of a big come to Jesus meeting, all is forgiven and Trump gets out there on the campaign trail for him. Or if that if that train’s already left the station.

TOWERY: [00:30:43] Well, you know, here’s what I’ve known Brian for years. Like Brian, he truly is the first truthful Republican governor of Georgia never had because he was never a Democrat. He switched, as we say, grew up as a Republican. But that said, Brian is also notoriously stubborn. And I don’t know that Brian will be willing to accept Trump’s assistance, even though it’s offered. And I don’t know what Trump would do. That’s it. That’s the million dollar question. The question is, are they going to have that bridge to cross or are they going to have to deal with a runoff first, which I know the whole world is written off. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but I’d give a 25% chance that everyone wakes up and finds out they got it wrong. And this thing is a lot closer than anyone thought.

TODD: [00:31:26] All right. Great stuff. It’s going to be it’ll be interesting tomorrow as those folks head to the polls. Matt, we appreciate your great insight.

TOWERY: [00:31:34] Always happy to be with Todd. Take care.

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