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InsiderAdvantage/Fox5/Morris News Poll Survey: Georgians Not Thrilled With Response to Storm; Blame Spread Among Various Leaders and Organizations 

An InsiderAdvantage survey, conducted Wednesday night in conjunction with OpinionSavvy ( indicates that Georgians blame plenty of governmental entities and leaders for the response to Winter Storm Leon, but that no one leader or entity takes the blame alone. 

When asked who they blame for problems related to government response to the storm, respondents ‘particular “mayor or county officials” received the most blame, at 28 percent.   The State DOT came in second at 20 percent, and Gov. Nathan Deal received blame from 15 percent of respondents. 

Ironically, meteorologists, who received some mixed reviews by Deal in his press conference on Wednesday, received the least amount of blame at 12 percent. (One example why: Fox5 Chief Meteorologist Ken Cook on Monday evening was displaying a European Weather Model, one which is used in creating forecasts. It showed up to three inches of potential snow in Atlanta). 
Some 25 percent were undecided on the issue. 

While Gov. Deal survived the blame question in good shape, he nevertheless received less-than-stellar approval ratings for his performance in handling the storm. Forty-nine percent of Georgians said they disapproved of Deal’s handling of the storm, while 34 percent said they approved of his actions. Seventeen percent of respondents had no opinion. 

Ironically, Republicans disapproved of Deal’s performance more than Democrats did (47 percent to 35 percent). But it was independent voters who disapproved at the highest rate, at 50 percent. 

The poll seems right on target. As a way to double-check the poll’s accuracy, we included a question that we more or less know the answer to ahead of time: President Obama’s approval rating in the state. It dovetails with other recent surveys in Georgia, with Obama receiving a 37 percent approval rating, and with 60 percent saying they disapprove and 3 percent responding that they are undecided. 

InsiderAdvantage CEO/Fox5 Political Analyst Matt Towery: “It should be noted that this is a statewide poll, but the results appear to be about the same from metro-Atlanta respondents and the rest of the state. That said, it is the entire state that will vote in November, so we felt it important to include all areas in the poll. 

“We did not name Mayor Reed individually because he is responsible for a relatively small segment of the entire state. But the fact that mayors and county officials received a healthy portion of the blame tells us that the local and nation press coverage has not been kind to Mayor Reed, just as it has not been kind to Gov. Deal. Of course Reed does not face a reelection year and Deal does. 

“With respect to Deal’s approval ratings in dealing with the storm, the disapproval percentage is substantial, but not as high as I might have expected. I personally think part of the reason that a majority of respondents don’t disapprove of Deal alone is that many got to see firsthand in the press conference of Wednesday just how out-of-touch his own emergency director seemed to be during the middle of the storm. 

“Most people don’t know the difference between a GEMA Director and the Georgia DOT, but clearly they are spreading the blame beyond Deal and directly to other state and local officials. Still, this will be an issue which Deal must hope will melt in the heat of a long summer and before a November election. From past experience my guess is that it will.

“But there remains once caveat. Deal’s numbers were most impacted among independent voters and women. (There was a substantial gender gap as to approval.) Independent and female voters are currently the biggest problem for his reelection and Winter Storm Leon did not help with that issue,” said Towery. 

Poll Results:

What is your opinion of Governor Nathan Deal’s handling of the state’s response to the recent winter storm in Georgia?

Approve: 34 percent

Disapprove: 49 percent

No opinion: 17 percent

2. Who do you blame most for any problems related to government response to the recent winter storm in Georgia?

Gov. Deal: 15 percent

State Dept. of Transportation: 20 percent

Mayor or County Officials in the Affected Areas: 28 percent

Broadcast and Government Meteorologists: 12 percent

No Opinion/Undecided: 25 percent

Methodology: In light of difficulties reported with some phones, IA decided to conduct this survey using its advanced online polling system, which it debuted in 2013, in conjunction with OpinionSavvy. The poll is a random sample of 434 Georgians, weighted for age, race, gender and political affiliation. The margin of error is 4.6 percent. For more information related to phone and online surveys, visit and their news site.  

For full poll results with cross tabs, click HERE





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