The horse races in Georgia, and what they portend for Election Day

I haven’t written too much during this election campaign about the polls. But with Election Day upon us, here are some thoughts about the races at the top of Georgia’s ballots.

First, how the Senate race has changed over the past month (as of yesterday):

Perdue Nunn RCP capture

A month ago, David Perdue led by 3.6 points. Now he leads by 3 points. In between, this race got interesting. But maybe not quite as interesting as you think.

At the Real Clear Politics site, you can mouse over this graph to see the candidates’ poll averages on any given day. Out of the past 32 days, Michelle Nunn’s average was at or above 45 percent on just 12 days. Perdue’s number, meanwhile, dipped below 45 percent on just two days. With a pair of non-incumbents here, one takeaway is that someone akin to the proverbial “generic Republican” is not going to get less than 45 percent — and it remains to be seen if, one the undecideds make up their minds or sit on their hands, how much higher than 45 percent the equivalent Democrat can climb. The evidence to date suggests 45 percent remains something of a ceiling: Over the past few days, Nunn’s average actually fell by 1.5 points, while Perdue’s number rose by almost the same amount. One of the polls included in the average, by Survey USA, asked about voters who had already cast their ballots. Perdue had a plurality of these voters at 49 percent, and a plurality of those who hadn’t voted at 46 percent. Whether the undecideds make a decision or merely sit this one out may be the difference between a runoff and an outright victory for Perdue. Perdue’s lead is as large as or larger than the margin of error in three of the past four polls included in the RCP average.

Now, the governor’s race, with a longer time horizon at two months:

Deal Carter RCP capture

The matter of incumbency comes into play here, as Nathan Deal has a record to defend. Even before those two months, the governor was sitting below 45 percent for some time; he was even stuck below 44 percent until mid-September. But unlike Nunn, Jason Carter’s average has not hit 45 percent a single time during this race. He’s only been above 44 percent for eight days, and of late he has dropped back below that level. Like Perdue, Deal has opened up a little bit of breathing room toward the end. Among those who voted early, as polled by Survey USA, Deal won a solid majority. In all six polls used in the RCP average, Deal’s lead is larger than the margin of error.

Note that, in both races, the trends have broken sharply in the GOP’s favor late in the game.

What does all this tell us about what today’s results might look like? A few guesses:

  • Of all four candidates, Deal is in the strongest position. Virtually no one would have told you that even two weeks ago.
  • A couple of weeks ago, pretty much everyone expected a runoff in the governor’s race. As of today, it would be a mild surprise to many of the people with whom I’ve talked if Deal did not win outright.
  • The Libertarian’s share of the vote in each race will be no more than 4 percent, and probably closer to 3 percent. In a year where the major-party candidates in both of these races have been on the weak side, the Libertarians haven’t been able to take advantage (maybe because one of them actually supports expanding Medicaid, a rather un-Libertarian position). Voting Libertarian as a protest vote will be less attractive with a lengthy runoff in the offing. A lot of people who might have done so will either go ahead and choose a major-party candidate or not cast a vote.
  • The Senate race’s chances of going to a runoff are 50/50. In favor of a runoff: The black vote looks to be 2 points, maybe 3 points, higher than it was in 2010. Against a runoff: Nunn doesn’t seem likely to hit the 30 percent of the white vote she needs to win. She may not even come close: She’s at 29 percent in one recent poll, 22 percent in another and 23 percent in a third (the others in the RCP average didn’t make their cross-tabs available).

Your predictions?

Reader Comments 0

51 comments
SaraJames
SaraJames

People tend to vote for the candidate whose policies help them and theirs the most (or hurt the least).  We all know they all lie, but Obama's deceit and arrogance took things to a new level and people are pushing back with their vote against him and those in office following his lead.  And before all the racists remarks come out - I voted for Obama for his first term.  

GaBlue
GaBlue

@SaraJames

Please tell us about this "new level!" Specifics please. And remember, if it's on the same level as the predecessor -- as horrific as it may be -- it doesn't count. Thanks!

GaBlue
GaBlue

No matter how the vote count shakes down after today, we know that the days are numbered on the one-party rule in Georgia.
Demographics are changing, new voters are registering by the tens of thousands (if you count the ones Kemp's office lost), and for the first time in years, a shipping-ton of money has been spent here on these races. Georgia is officially "in play," and THAT, in and of itself, is progress. Even if Kemp's office manages to squelch enough to keep Shady in power and send Shifty to DC this year, ground has been gained.

Like Easy Company at Bastogne, we're dug in. Surrender? "NUTS!"


Bottom line: Georgia evolves and we'll see it. Maybe not today; maybe not tomorrow, but SOON. 

GaBlue
GaBlue

@Kyle_Wingfield @GaBlue

You realize that even your readers are aware that the Secretary of State's office does indeed have a role in the voter registration process, apart from the leadership of Fulton and Clayton counties.
Right?

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@GaBlue "A role in the voter registration process" differs from whose responsibility it is to carry out the tasks in question. County boards take the applications, process them and issue the registration cards.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@GaBlue That's one reason the suit was thrown out of court as quickly as it was.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator


@GaBlue You realize county election officials handle voter registration, and that the counties in question (Fulton, Clayton, etc.) are almost exclusively led by Democrats. Right?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Anyone who hopes to vote in Texas this year needs an approved form of government-issued photo ID. Concealed handgun licences count; student IDs do not


Wanna guess why that is ?

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@HeadleyLamar Probably because the state issues gun licenses but not necessarily student IDs.

But I know you are determined to find something nefarious in everything Republicans do.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Kyle_Wingfield @HeadleyLamar That is one way to see it.


Another way would be to say they are fine with Gun owners voting but want to make it a little trickier for students...Especially out of state ones.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@HeadleyLamar Like I said, you tend to look for the nefarious when there's a simpler, more innocent explanation available.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@HeadleyLamar Can't speak for those of Headley's political persuasion, but I'm only interested in voting ONCE, here in Georgia.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

The liberal spin machine is going to be put to the test today and tomorrow.  Probably have to replace some bearings with the load it will be under! 

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

8 years of GOP gov't = the great recession. The national metrics all improved,  deficit, unemployment, stock market.  So what gives ?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Jefferson1776 The RW media spin machine


You see how worked up it got them over Ebola.


You heard the joke about Ebola....you probably wont get it.

straker
straker

Headley  "Georgia's race to the bottom"


It seems Georgia's cons have a nasty habit of voting against their own best interests.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

The Media and especially Fox News ( They are gonna have a fun night huh ) are going to shout from the rooftops that this is a referendum on Obama's presidency etc etc


But it isnt...In reality a bunch of Red States the Dems won in 2008 are just going back to being Red States.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Deal wins and Perdue win in a runoff


Georgia's race to the bottom marches on

AvailableName
AvailableName

You are probably right.  Even if Carter forces a runoff, Deal will probably win it.  Same for the Senate race.


But, who would of thought Democrats in Georgia could stress Republicans this much this deep into the campaign?


Georgia media company shareholders should be genuflecting before Carter and Nunn for the next couple of months.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@AvailableName



Georgia media company shareholders should be genuflecting before Carter and Nunn for the next couple of months.


Yeah, I'm always behind the curve on such investment opportunities. Dang.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@AvailableName Good Point.


Seems 2014 was a little soon to turn Georgia blue...Was a little ahead of schedule anyway.

But now Georgia really has to be considered a purple state that leans Republican.

Maybe 2016....Mayb 2020....But its coming.


Tiberius-Constitutionus
Tiberius-Constitutionus

Clinton wins the Presidency in 2016 and Dems recapture Senate. Tea Party continues but anti woman vitriol not as strong as anti black vitriol.

Tiberius-Constitutionus
Tiberius-Constitutionus

@DownInAlbany Whew! For a second I thought you were gonna ask if I have proof that Obama is black.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

My prediction:  Runoff in both Governor and Senate races. 


After the runoffs, then it'll be business as usual. Georgia still ranked last in many areas, with politicians patting themselves on the back and giving contracts to their buddies for a little quid pro quo. 

Don't Tread
Don't Tread

Nunn and Carter have nothing except riding dad's and grand-dad's coattails.  Nunn won't even use her married name (what was that?), and in Carter's case, riding on the coattails of the second-worst president in the entire history of this country doesn't really amount to much.

Caius
Caius

Nice summary. I concur.


I have never thought Carter had a chance.  Based on my "personal poll", if I may, of a large cross section of the spectrum that are friends. (I have a large number of friends from both the Left and Right, we discuss, are able to keep it civil, and enjoy the give and take.)


I really thought Nunn had a slim chance if she could paint Purdue as another Romney and concentrate on the women's vote. (She did not seriously make an attempt.) Both are novice politicians and either could make elementary mistakes and lose the election. And both are non-Georgians carpetbagging their way into office.




lvg
lvg

@Caius -Yeah - we really need to have Shady for another four years - he's made us no, 1 in the country on several things like highest unemployment and most unethical governor. Maybe he can completely forgive that 73 million his friends at Copart owe in taxes. That should help bring businesses like Copart to Georgia. State can lay off some more teachers, social workers and police rather than collect those stupid sales taxes.Hope he makes Holly LeBarge his head of staff - she is kinda hot and so qualified after her stint on the Ethics commission.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@Caius  Based on what my wife told me were her impressions of Michele Nunn (unsolicited opinion by the way), I think Ms. Nunn may have succeeded in alienating as many women voters as she attracted. I'll be watching to see if this is the case.

bu2
bu2

@Caius 

I thought the opposite.  I have figured in the end Nunn would get swamped as Georgians didn't want to send a liberal Democrat to the Senate.  But people are less partisan in gubernatorial races and the economy here has been slow to recover (as has Obama's national economy).  I know the Deal people have been taking Carter very seriously.


However, Carter just comes across as a sleazy politician, even when compared to Deal.  And the national Democrats have poured a ton of money into Nunn's campaign.  In the end, however, Nunn is running a very Romneyish campaign, not giving people any reason to vote for her or really talking about what she believes in.  Only talking point is, "I'm not the other guy."

straker
straker

"the trends have broken sharply in the GOP's favor"


Which means that a majority of Georgia voters will probably, as usual, vote against their own best interests and elect and re-elect two champions for Big Business.


If this happens, they will get the politicians they truly deserve.


Unfortunately, the rest of us will get the politicians we most certainly do NOT deserve.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Captain-Obvious


So much for people wanting change from traditional two-party rule.


I can't argue with that take-away. Lots of talk, little action, on that score.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Captain-Obvious I voted libertarian on some of the down ticket races, others were too important to waste a vote.  Public Service commission is a joke, both parties are owned by Ga Power, Atlanta Gas Light, and AT&T, so I thought maybe a libertarian would hold out against their money for a few weeks before taking the bait.

notagain
notagain

Vote for the longshots and your rewards will be greater.

Salt-n-Light
Salt-n-Light

I predict there is no one running for any of these offices that is worth electing. Just sayin'

Mandingo
Mandingo

@Salt-n-Light In total agreement. We are on our own. Government caters to the very poor and the very rich. People in the middle are used to pay the bills.

Isolator70
Isolator70

I've been surprised the Libertarians have not done better in the Governor's race.  Plenty of people are upset enough about the ethics questions with Deal and I would have thought that would show up in the polls but it has not materialized.  On the Senate race, the Libertarian candidate has been a ghost, much more of a non-factor.


I predict Perdue will actually win outright avoiding a runoff. I am thinking we will see a stronger showing than expected for him, just like we saw in the primaries. For Governor, I still have to think a lot of people will question Deal when the get in the booth, but not question him enough to vote for Carter. Not sure if they will turn to Hunt or just go ahead with Deal to avoid the runoff, but something tells me that race may be closer than predicted.  I think the Libertarians ultimately do better in the Senate race than the Governor's race.  Overall, the Republicans win both, it will just be a matter of whether or not we have to suffer through a few more weeks of TV and radio ads.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Isolator70 


I've been surprised the Libertarians have not done better in the Governor's race


I'm not, but I always think of Libbers as window dressing for Republicans who like to sleep late on Sundays, smoke pot and fornicate.

Caius
Caius

@Isolator70 I do not think ethics is an issue. Deal won the election 4 years ago with the ethics albatross hanging around his neck and it cost him few votes.  Ethics has never been an issue in Georgia politics.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Perdue wins the runoff.  So, everyone should vote for him today and lets avoid the aggravation and inconvenience of a holiday runoff.  Deal wins today, four more years!  Georgia stays red, as GOP sweeps most of the races on the ballot.


Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Your predictions? 


I think the Senate race goes to a runoff, the Goobernatorial race doesn't--Deal wins that outright.


Since the Senate runoff is two months away, I'm not going to predict that outcome, because there are a lot of variables coming into play. Of course if I had to bet actual money 538 has Perdue two points ahead and that will probably hold... 


but again, who knows what happens if actual control of the Senate depends on the outcome, and the really big money is pumped into Georgia media buys and into various and sundry dirty tricks.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

Good morning Kyle! We could be in for a long day that may last until the beginning of January! Put another pot of coffee on! You'll need it! Although I wish we could sleep through all the PAC ads!