Georgia voters prep for primary, focus on economy

Sam Gutierrez, 10, shows support for Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum during a 'Rally for Rick' at Atlantic Aviation on March 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jeremy Hobson: Voters in 10 states will have their say tomorrow in the Republican presidential race. Among them: Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia. Marketplace's David Gura has been talking to voters in Georgia -- the home state of Newt Gingrich -- for our election coverage of the Real Economy: what matters most to voters this election year.

David joins us now from Atlanta. Good morning.

David Gura: Morning Jeremy.

Hobson: David, you've been reporting from there; speaking with the people in Georgia. Is the economy a bigger factor there than it has been in some of the other primary states so far?

Gura: I think that here in Georgia we're seeing a lot of the big economic issues play out that are playing out in states across the country. Maybe a few of them are in finer focus.

Georgia is a state that's experienced a lot of growth over the last few decades. It's been very active trying to get companies to move to Georgia. I've been driving around Atlanta, and you see these giant warehouses. Some big companies are based here, or they've got big facilities here. Keeping those businesses in Atlanta -- in Georgia -- and attracting more businesses like those, that's pretty important to voters here.

There are a couple of other big economic issues here. Number one is housing: we were in North Georgia yesterday, in neighborhoods that sprouted up before the housing bubble burst. And there were foreclosure signs, and "For Sale" signs on every street we drove down.

I'd say the second issue's unemployment, Jeremy. It's still hovering just below 10 percent here.

Hobson: So housing and unemployment are big issues -- is that what voters have on their minds as they head to the polls tomorrow?

Gura: You know, I was talking about those "For Sale" signs a second ago -- you don't have to go too far away from downtown Atlanta before you see campaign signs. I've spotted Gingrich signs, Santorum signs.

I was talking to Suellen Daniels in Forsyth county, and she said that with all these candidates, there's a fundamental disconnect when it comes to the economy.

Suellen Daniels: You can take a tour and you can drive down their street, shake their hands. Those two or three minutes aren't going to make any difference. You're really not walking in their shoes; you're not living in their neighborhood; you're not watching them struggle day to day.

She told me that when she's just trying to get by, Jeremy, it's really hard for her to focus on politics. She says it can be pretty destructive.

Hobson: Marketplace's David Gura in Atlanta, where Kai Ryssdal will be there with David; they'll be broadcasting Marketplace later today. Thanks David.

Gura: Thanks Jeremy.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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