New Polls; Same Story: Georgia’s 2014 races are close

Meanwhile, the New York Times says Georgia polling might be off. And, there’s a Mark Richt factor to consider.

I’ve set up a Twitter list of folks to follow during this campaign season, and I’ve noticed that when they’re not trading political barbs, they share a collective obsession with college football. Given that these are people who track polls fanatically, that makes sense. And at least this football season has delivered some exciting upsets and shifts in the team rankings. On the other hand, the latest batch of polls on Georgia’s gubernatorial and Senate races delivers a familiar narrative: these races are close, y’all.

(There’s also some football-related insight into Georgia voters. More on that shortly.)

The first InsiderAdvantage “super poll” of the campaign was released last Friday and showed incumbent GOP governor Nathan Deal and challenger Jason Carter in a statistical heat while giving David Perdue a slight edge over Democrat Michelle Nunn in the U.S. Senate race. InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery noted that his surveys give a greater weight to black voters than other polls. “This race seems stuck in the mud and still appears headed for a runoff,” Towery observed in a statement released along with the data. “In reality, this is a 44 percent to 44 percent race, but rounding off led to the slight difference. It should be noted that our poll weights African-American turnout at a higher rate than most other surveys. If that turnout is lower, Deal will take a bigger lead.”

Things were less rosy for the Dems according to the survey by Public Policy Polling released on Monday, which gave the GOP an overall lead in Georgia, but deemed the Senate race particularly tight.

A SurveyUSA/11Alive News poll released on Wednesday shows Nunn and Perdue essentially even, with a slight edge for Deal over Carter.

Recent Polls in the Governor’s Race

SurveyUSA/11Alive News (Oct. 8)44464
PPP (Oct. 7)41464
Rasmussen (Oct. 6)4349n/a
Insider Advantage (Oct. 3)43444


Recent Polls in the U.S. Senate Race

SurveyUSA/11Alive News (Oct. 8)46453
PPP (October 7)43455
Rasmussen (Oct. 3)4446n/a
Insider Advantage (Oct. 3)43473


Meanwhile, over at the New York Times Upshot blog, Nate Cohn called Georgia polling into question, observing that polls might not  account for the state’s shifting demography. “The pace of demographic change might even be fast enough to outpace the polls,” wrote Cohn yesterday, explaining that most polling might over-represent the white vote. If you geek out on demographic data, the post is worth a read. If not, here’s the salient takeaway sentence: “No other plausibly competitive state has seen a more favorable shift for Democrats in the racial composition of eligible voters over the last decade.”

The Carter campaign tweeted this image of the candidate with UGA star Herschel Walker on the opening game of the 2014 season.
The Carter campaign tweeted this image of the candidate with UGA star Herschel Walker on the opening game of the 2014 season.

Carter for Governor

If, on the other hand, you’ve just been waiting for the promised college football findings, there were some sports-related questions thrown into the PPP survey. Evidently, 41 percent of Braves fans are okay with the team’s decision to keep Fredi Gonzalez on as manager for the next season, while 45 percent supported the decision to axe GM Frank Wren.

Perhaps candidates should increase their appearances at Sanford Stadium and UGA tailgates over the coming weeks. Georgia voters are more likely to be fans of UGA than Tech (48 percent compared to 20 percent). And according to pollsters at  PPP, the Bulldog Nation delivers a resounding 70/10 approval rating to coach Mark Richt—the kind of love that politicians can only dream of.