Trump supporters dismissed last week’s WSB/Landmark poll showing Clinton and Trump essentially tied in Georgia. Another poll has just been released by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution which confirms that Georgia is now essentially a toss up state between Clinton and Trump.
Trump’s 4-point lead over Clinton — he’s at 45 percent — is within the poll’s margin of error, meaning neither can confidently claim a state that’s voted for the GOP nominee since 1996. Sprinkled throughout are reminders of the challenges both face in capturing Georgia: dim voter enthusiasm, high unfavorability ratings and deep skepticism from voters.
Perhaps the most telling sign of all: Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders polled higher than both in one-on-one matchups, winning a potential contest with Trump 47 percent to 42 percent. Although Clinton seems poised to win her party’s nomination, the AJC poll is among a string of surveys bolstering Sanders’ case that he poses the bigger threat to Trump.
Both front-runners have sky-high name recognition — and devastatingly high unfavorability ratings. Nearly two out of three voters have a negative view of Clinton, including a crushing majority of Republicans. A slightly lower number of voters have a negative view of Trump, including a crushing majority of Democrats.
It’s difficult to know what to make of polls like this one, and other recent polls showing that Mississippi and Utah are essentially toss ups in this race, when other polls show Trump being competitive in actual swing states like Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
There are of course a number of possibilities to explain this – the most likely being that the polling is just wrong this early. Given the performance of the polls thus far, that wouldn’t be surprising. Based on everything we know about politics, if Trump is tied in Mississippi, Georgia, and Utah, he should be losing Florida and Ohio in landslides.
The second is that a Clinton-Trump matchup really would redraw the electoral map – although we don’t really know what that would look like yet or how permanent the result would be.
The third is that the effects of each party’s respective primary are creating such sustained hard feelings and animus that both candidates will struggle to maintain their traditional voter bases, and therefore everything we normally assume about what constitutes a “safe” state for each candidate should be thrown out the window. Either way, the upcoming race promises to be interesting, if nothing else.