What the Heck is Happening in Georgia?

Freak out!!!!!! At least that seems to be the GOP’s reaction to the polling in Georgia.

Relax people. We are going into overtime for sure in the Senate race. That runoff will be in 2015. Georgians will have to endure two of the smuggest politicians ever to run for office for two more month.


But hey! For those of us with radio shows in Atlanta, the ad revenue will be awesome.

There may be a runoff for Governor, but I still think Nathan Deal can pull it off. If there is a runoff, that one will be in December.

So, what’s up with the polling? There is a problem you need to understand. Exit polls were cancelled in Georgia for 2012. That is important because exit polling helps provide a baseline for partisan turnout in opinion polling. Since those were not done in 2012 there are all sorts of pollster formulas on turnout.

Take two polls out today.

According to CNN/ORC, among 565 likely voters the Georgia Senate race is 47% for Nunn and 44% for Perdue. In the Governor’s race, it is 48% for Jason Carter and 46% for Nathan Deal.

But hold on.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has a poll out too. It is of 1170 likely voters. It has David Perdue ahead of Michelle Nunn 44% to 42%. It also has Nathan Deal ahead of Jason Carter 46% to 41%.

How can this be? Well, dive into the polling and you will find that CNN presumes a D+8 turnout in Georgia this year. The AJC presumes an R+2 turnout even with 29% of the vote being from black voters. That 29% is higher than 2010 and lower than 2012, which makes a lot of sense.

Also, we know from 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012 that in Georgia early voting is indicative of absolutely nothing in Presidential election years, but in mid-term elections the early voting turnout models line up pretty good to the actual election day turnout.


Right now in Georgia the Republicans are turning out at a higher rate that the Democrats. That should hold on election day if past patterns stay the same.

My sense is that the Perdue campaign made an early calculation that they could not escape a runoff. For the last six weeks now Michelle Nunn has outspent David Perude in the metro-Atlanta area. She’s pushed Perdue into a runoff. In the runoff, she’s not going to have the resources he will have. Additionally, there has never been a runoff in the last decade that saw Democrats outperform Republicans in turnout.

I believe Nathan Deal is ahead of Jason Carter and that the CNN polling is wrong, largely because of its turnout model. Action on the ground and on the airwaves in Georgia also indicate Deal is leading Carter. Deal could very well escape without a runoff. If there is one, he should have no problem in December getting his voters back out.


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