Georgia's Special Election Couldn't Look Much Closer

And more of the latest polling news.

The special election to fill a congressional seat in Georgia’s 6th District may be anyone’s game, according to the final round of polling on the race.

Earlier surveys gave Democrat Jon Ossoff, who was backed by record levels of fundraising, a slight edge over Republican Karen Handel, whom he led by 2 to 3 points in most surveys. Ossoff led by 7 points in both a WXIA-TV poll conducted by SurveyUSA in May and an Atlanta Journal-Constitution survey from Abt SRBI in early June. 

A subsequent SurveyUSA poll, however, found the race tied, as did a second poll conducted for WSB-TV. One survey, from the GOP-affiliated Trafalgar Group, gave the edge to Handel, although it remains the only recent poll to do so.

Given the margin of error inherent in any survey ― not to mention the added difficulty of predicting who will turn out to vote in an off-year House runoff ― the race looks about as close as it can get.

We’re seeing this now an almost dead even race into the final 24 hours,” GOP pollster Mark Rountree, who conducted the WSB-TV survey, told the station. Both Handel and Ossoff described the race Monday as “neck and neck.”


- Democratic strategist Tom Bonier offers a viewing guide to the runoff. [Medium]

- Nate Cohn notes that Georgia’s 6th District is among the nation’s most educated. [NYT]

- Nate Silver looks at how the election could shape Republicans’ strategy. [538]

Republican candidate Karen Handel and Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff exchange words at WSB-TV studios in Atlanta on June 6,
Republican candidate Karen Handel and Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff exchange words at WSB-TV studios in Atlanta on June 6, moments before Georgia's 6th Congressional District special election debate. The runoff is June 20.


AMERICA’S RURAL/URBAN DIVIDE RUNS DEEP ― Jose A. DelReal and Scott Clement, on a new Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey: “The political divide between rural and urban America is more cultural than it is economic, rooted in rural residents’ deep misgivings about the nation’s rapidly changing demographics, their sense that Christianity is under siege and their perception that the federal government caters most to the needs of people in big cities, according to a wide-ranging poll that examines cultural attitudes across the United States. ... Alongside a strong rural social identity, the survey shows that disagreements between rural and urban America ultimately center on fairness: Who wins and loses in the new American economy, who deserves the most help in society and whether the federal government shows preferential treatment to certain types of people. ... But popular explanations of the rural-urban divide appear to overstate the influence of declining economic outcomes in driving rural America’s support for Trump. The survey responses, along with follow-up interviews and focus groups in rural Ohio, bring into view a portrait of a split that is tied more to social identity than to economic experience.” [WashPost, more from KFF]

As does the racial divide in rural areas ― Abigail Hauslohner and Emily Guskin: “Black rural Americans — most of whom live in the South — are far less likely than their white neighbors to feel positively about their communities, the poll finds. Sixty percent of blacks say their area is an excellent or good place to raise children, compared with 80 percent of whites. Rural blacks are 25 percentage points less likely than rural whites to give their community positive marks on safety and are 29 points less likely to say their area is a place where people look out for one another. Rural Hispanics tend to fall in between whites and blacks in rating their communities.” [WashPost]

NEWLY RELEASED REPORTS DELVES INTO THE 2016 ELECTION ― The Voter Study Group, introducing its findings from a wide-ranging survey: “Despite all the talk of change, the overwhelming message is one of continuity. Nearly 90 percent of voters for either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump also voted for the same party’s nominee in 2012. ... This continuity did not, however, prevent people whose 2012 to 2016 presidential vote switched parties, from deciding the election’s outcome. ... Trump general election voters were far from uniform in their concerns and views. They cluster into five groups who differ significantly from one another in the combination of their views on virtually every issue or attitude, including immigration policy, attitudes toward immigrants or Muslims, increasing taxes on the well-off, and the desirability of further income redistribution. ... The Republican Party challenge is how to maintain unity in the face of sharp disagreement among its many factions; The Democratic Party faces the opposite question: how to attract more voters so it can become a majority in the Electoral College and in Congress when its unified base disagrees with the views of voters it needs to attract.” [Democracy Fund]

MOST AMERICANS THINK TRUMP’S TWEETS ARE HURTING HIS CAUSE ― HuffPollster: “Most Americans believe President Donald Trump is hurting his cause by tweeting, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll… A 53 percent majority of the public says that Trump’s tweets generally hurt his cause, with just 14 percent believing that they help. The remainder say his tweets have no effect, or that they’re not sure. ... Most of the public ― 53 percent ― say they don’t feel that Trump is speaking for them with his tweets, while just 23 percent say they do. ... Just 11 percent say they usually see Trump’s posts directly on Twitter, while 65 percent generally hear about those posts through news stories discussing them.” [HuffPost]

‘OUTLIERS’ ― Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

- Harry Enten previews another Tuesday special election: the race for South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District. [538]

- Jeff Guo finds little recent change in Americans’ economic confidence. [Vox]

- Former President Barack Obama’s ratings are already beginning to look better in retrospect. [HuffPost, more from Gallup]

- The Pew Research Center finds Europeans growing more favorable toward the European Union. [Pew]

- Art Swift notes a partisan gap in Americans’ views of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. [Gallup]

- A political data firm accidentally exposed the personal data of millions of Americans. [Gizmodo]

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