Will Georgia really go blue in November?

A cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton lurks behind would-be delegates from Georgia to the Democratic National Convention, June 11. (Branden Camp / Special)

Could Hillary Clinton pop up as a winner in Georgia? (Branden Camp / Special)

There is soooooooo much being said and written about a pair of stories this week indicating Georgia is suddenly a swing state in the presidential election. Could it happen? Hey, with the unpredictable Donald Trump on the ballot, anything is possible. But are these two stories the signs Georgia Democrats have really been waiting for?

Probably not.

First, the Monday story about a poll showing Hillary Clinton is leading Trump in Georgia by a whopping 7 percentage points — well beyond the AJC’s poll showing a narrower lead for Clinton within the margin of error. Unlike the AJC poll, the poll by JMC Analytics and Polling was an automated poll (i.e. not with live operators). What’s more, the pollster doesn’t even sound certain that it was surveying actual Georgians: It describes its pool of respondents as “likely households residing in Georgia.” In plain language, that doesn’t even mean anything. Perhaps it means they were just dialing numbers with Georgia area codes and assuming the person on the phone lives here — even though in the age of mobile phones, VOIP phones and virtually no long-distance fees it is commonplace for people who leave the state for school or work to keep their old number for the sake of convenience. Heck, I had a 678 number when I lived in Belgium.

That may be one reason JMC wound up with a result that doesn’t pass the smell test. Georgia went for Mitt Romney in 2012 by almost 8 points. The notion that we have seen a 15-point swing in the favor of someone as generally unpopular as Hillary Clinton (the AJC poll had her favorability rating at minus-18 points) is incredibly hard to believe, even with a string of bad news for Trump over the past week-plus. As another data point, consider that JMC shows two-term U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who hit 58 percent of the vote in his past two statewide elections, polling at only 39 percent. The Isakson team is taking this election very seriously, but there is almost no chance he’s at less than 40 percent right now against a Democrat, Jim Barksdale, who has been abandoned by such Georgia Democratic heavyweights as U.S. Rep. David Scott and former Gov. Roy Barnes.

Now for the second story, via the Washington Post this morning, that the Clinton campaign “phoned state Democratic leaders in Arizona and Georgia on Monday night to alert them of plans to begin transferring funds to hire more field organizers in those states.”

That’s news, potentially big news. But it’ll only be big news if it involves big funds.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has opined that Clinton needs to put between $8 million and $15 million into Georgia to move the state into her column. Is that the kind of money the Clinton campaign is talking about? That remains to be seen. Keep in mind, the Obama campaign in 2008 also talked up Georgia as a battleground state but eventually did very little here.

Another point to consider: Reed’s number of up to $15 million came with a bit of a qualifier. Here’s the whole sentence: “If I were in Secretary Clinton’s shoes and I had an opportunity to win a state and I had a billion dollars, then $8-$15 million is a logical investment.” Emphasis added.

President Obama raised about $1 billion in 2012, but Clinton so far is lagging behind his pace. Politico on Monday reported on an internal campaign memo pointing out that she is about $51 million (or about 10 percent) behind where the Obama campaign was at the same point four years ago. The memo — titled “Wake Up Call” — also noted that Trump’s fundraising has soared, almost matching hers in July ($80 million vs. $90 million). So not only does Clinton have less money at her disposal at the same stage of the race than did Obama, who didn’t spend in Georgia and still won comfortably, but Trump’s campaign looks like it will have the money to defend Georgia if it comes to that.

***

Here’s what all this comes down to: It’s still unlikely that Clinton is well ahead in Georgia at the moment, and less likely that she will win the state in November. One thing to consider: While the “Now-cast” at Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com has Clinton ahead in Georgia as of today, the site’s more comprehensive prediction of what will happen in November still gives Trump a 2-to-1 chance of taking our state.

Now, you might argue that the mere fact we’re talking about whether she could win states like Georgia and Arizona is bad news in the bigger, national picture for Trump. And I’d have to agree. When the evidence suggests she’s closer to flipping a Georgia than he is to flipping a Pennsylvania, his chances don’t look good.

Then again, it’s early August, exactly 13 weeks before Election Day. A quarter of a year will pass before the votes are counted. The drumbeat of bad news will probably turn away from Trump and back toward Clinton at some point — that’s what happens when both candidates are bad at things like the basics of politics and, you know, telling the truth — and the race will tighten again nationally. And as it tightens nationally, the angst about Trump among Georgians who might otherwise have voted for him is likely to ease.

But here’s what is true, and has been for some time: The big question for Trump, in Georgia and beyond, is whether he is capable of stanching the bleeding of typically Republican voters and then winning over any typically Democratic voters with his atypical brand of populism. So far, not so good.

Reader Comments 0

106 comments
Shelia Lomax
Shelia Lomax

Every State that is Republicans Control are the Poorest States With No Jobs No Health care.The only people who are happy with these States are the Rich or the Stupid Racist people.Democrats come out and VOTE in November for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats down the ballot. We Can Stop the Racism and Hate.

Chales Wayne
Chales Wayne

No!! Hillary is corrupt and dishonest and Georgians are too smart to vote for her.

Stephen Scruggs
Stephen Scruggs

Lol, lies abound. Let's talk about Hillary deleted emails getting an Iranian spy killed, let's talk about the Clinton foundation, let's talk about Benghazi , let's talk about Hillary referring to Bobby Kennedy assassination as reason why she stayed in the 2008 presidential race running against Obama, let's talk about the dnc stacking the deck against Bernie Sanders by rigging the vote. Let's talk about Killary obvious health issues, let's talk about the dnc official that leaked the dnc emails that turned up dead, pay before you play, etc....

Bob Hunt
Bob Hunt

AJC prints all kinds of lies and mistruths , but Georgians don't believe the AJC

Carol
Carol

I am boting for Trump everyone I know are voting for Trump

Georgians don't want Hilary.

Frank Castaneda
Frank Castaneda

No way, we are smarter than that. Trump wins in landslide

Bob Fawcett
Bob Fawcett

I remember when democrats ran this state. It's possible again!

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Did the Hillary owned press make a big deal out of this statement in 2008, where she seemed to be hoping for a hit job on her opponent.  Different standard for the Grifter Queen.


“My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don’t understand it,” she said, dismissing calls to drop out. "

MarkVV
MarkVV

@RafeHollister Those statements are not comparable. Trump implied that the "2nd amendment people" (read "those with guns") might do something about Hillary  as President if she is elected, or perhaps about the Supreme Court Justices she nominates when in the office.

David K Wilson
David K Wilson

@MarkVV @RafeHollister You Hilltards are a bit over eager for Donald to stumble.  Theres nothing in his speech that mentions violence and only someone wanting to see it or those who think all second amendment supporters are rabid gun toting murderers would think so.


Lynn Coffey
Lynn Coffey

Alanta always votes democrat and they always blame Republicans for their problems.

Lisa F. Austin
Lisa F. Austin

People don't understand local government....they blame the President when their trash doesn't get picked up!

James Edward Wilson
James Edward Wilson

If you don't like transgender people using the same restroom as you, then don't use public restrooms. That simple.

Lynn Coffey
Lynn Coffey

They may not have control gas prices but they can give out mandates for transgender bathrooms

Cal Stevens
Cal Stevens

It's possible!!! If the dems go out and VOTE!!!

Curtis Pace
Curtis Pace

It won't matter if its blue or red if we keep voting for establishment politicians the outcome will always be just what we have now period. Like Trump or not if you want change you got to vote for someone like him Thats never been in politics to bring change js.

Jessica Conroy
Jessica Conroy

Georgia went with Bill just a few years back. No surprise

Chales Wayne
Chales Wayne

And if it hadn't been for Newt, Clinton would have been as bad as Obama.

Viola English Sanders
Viola English Sanders

If it does you better bend over put your head between your legs and kiss you A$$ and AMERICA goodbye.

ChristopherATL
ChristopherATL

That's what I thought. You either don't know why you feel the way you feel or you don't want to say it because you are ashamed of the words.

ChristopherATL
ChristopherATL

Because the U.S. is going to...fall into space? Please clarify where America is going and what that means to everyone except angry, uneducated, white men? America is changing for the better. Sharing power and consideration of others is not scary...Chicken Little.

Les Bouska
Les Bouska

Just where do you think America is going? Nonsense.

Becky Williams
Becky Williams

I disagree with you completely. The only way the country will go the hell is ifTrump wins. Come on GA vote for Hillary!!!

MarkVV
MarkVV

Why should he ignore people like himself?

Jordan Logue
Jordan Logue

Viola English Sanders Hillary won't be that different than Obama. Obama hasn't been overwhelmingly good but he also hasn't been the literal end of the world.

John Sukroo
John Sukroo

Georgia has been totally controlled by Republicans for 10 years and have done nothing for working class people. Low education standards, trickle down economics tax cuts, and net recipients of federal money like all of the republican voting South.

Liz Bracey
Liz Bracey

Low Education standards are how the GOP gets repeat voters.

Al Effendi
Al Effendi

You forgot letting people die by rejecting Medicaid expansion purely to pander to racist voters.

Tony Ostoja
Tony Ostoja

A democrat so sorry, other gems vote for the republican, LOL.

Mary Frame
Mary Frame

Al Effendi - who pays for the expansion after the fed reduces payment year after year? Who picks up that tab? Isn't ACA covering everyone now?

Cal Stevens
Cal Stevens

You get what you voted for... NOTHING!!!

Chales Wayne
Chales Wayne

Look around the country. Everywhere the democrats control a city or state they are in horrible shape.

ChristopherATL
ChristopherATL

Do you actually believe you are not paying for uninsured visits to the emergency room now?

David Fige
David Fige

The workers trying to recover from NAFTA. Remember that was a Bill Clinton law, that during the presidential debates, he was told workers would hear a huge sucking sound, that was good jobs going to Mexico. and what happened. Both Ford, and GM closed their plants, and built new one in Mexico. Besides other industries That took a beating.

John Sukroo
John Sukroo

Jeannie Casey Trump is the psychopath.

Jeannie Casey
Jeannie Casey

THE LIBERAL MIND: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness By Lyle H. Rossiter, Jr., M.D. Dr. Rossiter is board certified in both general and forensic psychiatry and has actually diagnosed and treated mental disorders for more than 40 years. He has been retained by numerous public offices, courts and private attorneys as a forensic psychiatrist and has consulted in more than 2,700 civil and criminal cases in both state and federal jurisdictions. He examines the question of whether liberals are out of their minds. His conclusions? "Modern liberalism's irrationality can only be understood as the product of psychopathology," declares Dr. Rossiter. "So extravagant are the patterns of thinking, emoting, behaving and relating that characterize the liberal mind that its relentless protests and demands become understandable only as disorders of the psyche." He chastises liberals for being "uncivil, overly sure of their correctness, and willfully ignorant of facts that contradict their worldview." In his book he talks about, "The radical left’s efforts to regulate the people from cradle to grave."

Greg Lindquist
Greg Lindquist

John Eight of those years have been with a democrat president and his economic policies. Education standards are not set low they are the results of too many other things. Like the school districts run by democrat controlled districts: Atlanta, Macon, etc. take their test scores out and watch the average exceed the national average. I bet your lovely favorite teachers classrooms had great scores!

Jeannie Casey
Jeannie Casey

John Sukroo, both Trump and Hillary are psychopaths. The difference is Hillary is evil...people who get in her way tend to end up dead, and Trump's more like the harmless village idiot.

Mary Frame
Mary Frame

John Sukroo - not even close. Trump hasn't killed anyone. Hillary and her extreme poor judgement allowed 4 to die and dozens of others severely injured. Trump has made millions, Hillary and her poor judgement and crooked criminal mind had wasted billions. No thanks to someone unfit, unfeeling and unprepared.

Mary Frame
Mary Frame

Jeannie Casey - that village idiot has made billions have you? Looks like another small village is missing one of theirs.

Bob Hunt
Bob Hunt

JohnSukroo the Republicans haven't taken away your foodstamps.....cool down you Clinton parasites will be taken care of.....chill

Jeannie Casey
Jeannie Casey

Really, Mary Frame, you are just as bad as the liberals who are too blind to see what Hillary really is. I am voting for Trump only because he is not evil like Clinton. But that does not mean that I am ignorant enough to believe that Trump is not an egotistical loud mouth. Your right another small village is missing their idiot and they want you to come home.