GOP state candidates who support Buckhead seceding from the city of Atlanta “do so at their own peril,” according to a new poll commissioned by groups opposed to the cityhood movement.
The Committee for United Atlanta and Neighbors for a United Atlanta released polling data from 20/20 Insight LLC on Sept. 28. Numbers show Republican John Bailey, a real estate broker running against incumbent Betsy Holland for state House District 54 , and Republican Fred Glass, a financial advisor vying for state Senate District 6 against Atlanta Board of Education member Jason Esteves, are losing by double-digits to their Democratic opponents. The main reason is because they support Buckhead breaking off from the city of Atlanta, according to groups’ pollster in a public memo.
Holland and Esteves publicly oppose Buckhead cityhood.
“Support of Buckhead cityhood is unpopular and candidates who back the controversial proposal do so at their own peril,” said Chris Huttman of 20/20 Insight LLC, who conducted the poll for the Committee for United Atlanta and Neighbors for a United Atlanta.
“To be competitive in these districts, Republican candidates should ditch support for Buckhead City and start addressing the actual issues that matter most to local voters,” Huttman said. Those polled said “threats to democracy” and “cost of living and inflation” were their top two concerns, he said.
In both districts, support for a Buckhead City is “dragging down” the pro-cityhood Republican candidates in each race, Huttman said. Voters are less likely to support a candidate who favors creating the new city by 44% to 24% in SD 6, and 42% to 31% less likely in HD 54, he said. Both districts cover much of Buckhead while HD 54 also includes a portion of Sandy Springs.
The polls were conducted Sep 6 through 12. The SD 6 poll had 773 respondents with a +/- 3.5% margin of error. House District 54 poll had 381 respondents with a +/- 5.0% margin of error, according to Huttman. The demographic data can be found here at these links:
Huttman said when those polled were asked if they side with those who want to “create a new Buckhead City and leave Atlanta, or those who want to keep Atlanta whole,” Bailey and Glass lose with Whites, Blacks, every age group, across genders, college educated and non-college voters.
“To be competitive in these districts, Republican candidates should ditch support for Buckhead City and start addressing the actual issues that matter most to local voters,” Huttman said.
Bailey and Glass dismissed the polling data because they said it does not specifically address giving people the right to vote on cityhood.
“This survey and the memo which accompanied the survey … failed to ask if people wanted to be able to vote on their form of government,” Glass said in a written statement.
“I believe people deserve to vote for the government that best serves their families,” he said.
Bailey said 20/20 Insight LLC is a “well-known Democratic polling firm.”
“This survey gauges support for ‘leaving Atlanta’ or ‘making Atlanta whole’ ….” Bailey said in a written statement.
“This survey did not ask if people should have a right to vote for their own destiny and their own form of government,” he said. “I know that when I meet voters, they want to settle this question with a public vote one way or another — which is what I intend to give them when elected.”
Bailey and Glass are endorsed as “pro Buckhead City” by the Buckhead City Committee, the fundraising group lobbying state legislators to put a Buckhead City referendum on the ballot. Their efforts were quashed this year by the Republican-led General Assembly.