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11Alive poll: Republicans mostly sticking with Gov. Brian Kemp

Pandemic, Trump have hurt Kemp, according to poll, but not by much.

ATLANTA — A new 11Alive News/Survey USA poll released this week shows that Georgia Republicans are, for the most part, sticking by Gov. Brian Kemp.

Kemp is fast approaching the mid-point of his four-year term, yet the governor has gone through what could be termed a political wringer -- especially in 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic put Kemp into the national spotlight when he enacted business restrictions, then eased them within weeks.  

The glare then harshened during the fall months as Kemp resisted efforts by President Donald Trump to overturn Georgia's presidential vote. As a result, Trump has clobbered Kemp

Yet, our poll shows that Georgia Republicans apparently still like the governor, who has only been in office since January 2019.

In November 2019, before the pandemic began, 78% of Georgia Republicans viewed Kemp favorably, while only 3% looked at him in an unfavorable light.

In December 2020, 73% of Georgia Republicans still view him favorably, although 13% now view him unfavorably. 

"He still enjoys a very high approval rating. And to me it makes sense," said Jason Shepherd, chairman of the Cobb Republican Party.  "You look at how Georgia has weathered this economic downturn due to COVID 19, and his handling of the pandemic. Generally, all you hear (from Republicans) is high praise for Brian Kemp."

RELATED: Despite friction with president, Gov. Kemp attends White House Christmas party

On Fox News, Kemp sidestepped a question about a 2022 Republican primary challenge.  Outgoing U.S. Congressman Doug Collins, who stumped for Kemp two years ago, has been mentioned as one possible GOP challenger. 

Conversely, Kemp remains a polarizing figure among Democrats. Eighteen percent of Democrats surveyed viewed him favorably in November 2019. In comparison, 21% of Democratic voters do now.

In November 2019, 48% of Democrats viewed him unfavorably. That number has risen to 67 percent at this point.

Among independents, Kemp's favorable ratings have also held steady, however, his unfavorable rating has increased from 28-to-53 percent. 

Kemp is already raising money for re-election. Georgia's Republican gubernatorial primary is only 18 months away.