Anyone’s Guess What Might Happen in Next Week’s GA-06 Special Election; The Older The Electorate, The Better for Handel & Speaker Ryan; The Younger The Electorate, The Better for Ossoff & Speaker Pelosi; Poll Shows ‘Jump Ball’ At This Hour, With Many Early Votes Already Cast

SurveyUSA Breaking News - 100 days ago

YOU MUST CREDIT WXIA-TV ATLANTA IF YOU AIR, CITE OR PUBLISH THESE RESULTS IN WHOLE OR PART.

1 week till votes are counted in the special election to fill Tom Price’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic upstart Jon Ossoff and well-known Republican Karen Handel are tied, 47% each, according to a SurveyUSA poll commissioned by WXIA-TV in Atlanta.

It is impossible for a pollster to say with any confidence whether today’s survey results will end up being too red — other recent polls, including SurveyUSA’s most recent study for WXIA-TV, show Ossoff materially ahead — or whether these results will end up being too blue — the District should be safely Republican. With record spending by national action committees, the local contest has been weaponized, perhaps unfairly, into a referendum on President Donald Trump. Here is what we can say with confidence:

A younger electorate favors Democrat Ossoff. He leads 3:2 among those under age 50. The older the electorate, the better Handel will do. She leads 3:2 among seniors and leads by nearly 2:1 among the ‘Old South,’ those who have lived in Georgia 30 or more years. Ossoff is up 25 points among the ‘New South,’ those transplants who have lived in Georgia 20 or fewer years.

Handel Will Need Strong Showing on Election Day to Overcome Ossoff’s ‘Banked’ Votes. 

Among those District residents who tell SurveyUSA they have already voted, Ossoff leads by 19 points. Among those who tell SurveyUSA they have not yet returned a ballot but will do so before the deadline, Handel leads by 14 points. When those 2 universes are blended: nail-biter. Of those who voted for Republican Congressman Tom Price when he ran for reelection in this District in 2016, 86% today back Handel. Of those who voted for Democrat Rodney Stooksbury on 11/08/16, 95% today back Ossoff. (Price was nominated by Mr. Trump to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, creating a vacancy and the need for this special election.) Of those who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, 91% back Handel; 5% defect. Of those who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, 94% vote for Ossoff; 4% defect.

Those who attend church regularly vote for Handel 2:1. Those who almost never attend church vote for Ossoff 2:1. Evangelicals by more than 2:1 back the Republican. ‘Very’ conservative voters back Handel 97% to 1%. ‘Very’ liberal voters back Ossoff 100% to Zero percent. Voters who say health care is the most important issue in the contest back Ossoff 2:1. Those who say tax reform is most important back Handel 4:1.

Who’s To Say, Really? 

3 weeks ago, a SurveyUSA poll for WXIA-TV had Ossoff 7 points atop Handel. Some of the change in outcome poll-on-poll may reflect sampling vagaries and not reflect actual movement in the contest. Today’s survey has fewer high-school educated respondents and fewer lower-income respondents than did SurveyUSA’s sample 3-weeks ago. Both high-school educated voters and lower-income voters back Ossoff. Today’s sample is older than SurveyUSA’s release 3 weeks ago. Older voters back Handel. If you see these 3 differences as bugs not features, you can argue that Ossoff is today no worse off than he was 3 weeks ago.

But that is just one hypothesis. Equally plausible is a theory that potential voters have been bombarded to the point of irritation by advertisements, direct mail and opinion researchers. SurveyUSA’s is the 3rd public survey released in the past 7 days in this district; many more may have been conducted by candidates and PACs who may be leveraging poll data but not releasing it. In this theory, the younger, more transient voters buckle the first; just a few need to stay home (and/or hang up on a pollster) in order for the results to swing 7 points in one direction.

If Handel wins by more than a point, look at this graph as one reason why. Men would appear to have abandoned Ossoff down the stretch. Then look at this graph. Ossoff had led by 20 points among independent voters 3 weeks ago, but watched that lead melt like butter in the June Georgia sun as today he finds himself upside down and trailing Handel by 4.

About: From 06/07/17 through 06/11/17, SurveyUSA interviewed 700 registered voters using Registration-Based Sampling (aka: Voter List sample) purchased from Aristotle in Washington DC. Of the 700 registered voters, 503 today were judged by SurveyUSA to have already voted in the runoff or to be certain to so before the 06/20/17 deadline. Both cell phone respondents (49% of likely voters) and landline respondents (51% of likely voters) were interviewed for today’s release.

 

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