Here’s What The Polls Say About Tuesday's Special Election In Georgia

And why they might be wrong.

Surveys suggest the race in Georgia’s 6th congressional district could be headed toward a runoff. Americans are losing faith in President Trump and the GOP. And Bill O’Reilly is still viewed favorably by most of his his audience. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

IT’S ELECTION DAY IN GA-06 - Harry Enten: “Election junkies, rejoice! The biggest race since the 2016 presidential election is here. Georgians in the Atlanta suburbs are casting ballots today in a special election to decide who will represent the state’s 6th Congressional District. Democrats are coming off of strong performances in special House elections in California and Kansas and are hoping to flip Georgia 6, which President Trump carried by only 1 percentage point in 2016. The race is an early test of whether Democrats can ride a wave of anti-Trump sentiment to win traditionally red seats….Trump barely squeaked by Hillary Clinton there, but most other Republican candidates — presidential and House — have done much better….Today’s primary pits all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, against one another. If no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters (again, regardless of party) will meet in a runoff on June 20….If there’s no outright winner at the end of this first round of voting and Ossoff moves on to face a Republican in the runoff, be careful about using tonight’s results to forecast Round 2. The dynamics in the runoff will be completely different; whichever Republican comes in second, for example, will be able to turn their fire on [Democrat Jon] Ossoff instead of fighting other Republicans.” [538, more from Nate Silver]

What the polls say - HuffPost Pollster’s average puts Ossoff at just below 43 percent, with surveys from both parties this month giving him a share of the vote ranging from 39 to 45 percent. As Enten notes, even with undecided voters proportionately allocated between the candidates, that leaves him several points shy of the 50 percent needed for an outright win. [Pollster chart]

Why those polls ― and early vote counts ― could be misleading - Nate Cohn: “It’s hard to estimate how many people will vote, and the public polls are of fairly low quality. One prediction: It’s likely that the first votes counted will be misleadingly good for Mr. Ossoff….[S]pecial election polling tends to be fairly inaccurate….Most important, it’s hard to know what the electorate is going to look like. There is no ‘model’ for a special electorate, let alone one with more than $13 million in spending so far. Historically, turnout in special elections is pretty unpredictable….There is really only one thing that’s clear about the electorate: Mr. Ossoff will probably fare very well in the early and absentee vote, which will most likely be counted first on Tuesday night. Over all, early and absentee voters were split evenly between the two parties, each at 41 percent, based on whether voters had last participated in a Democratic or Republican primary. That’s impressive for the Democrats, since Republican primary voters in the district outnumber Democratic primary voters by a margin of two to one.” [NYT]

THE PUBLIC’S TOP TAX FRUSTRATION HAS TO DO WITH INEQUALITY - Pew Research: “Among the public overall, 62% say they are bothered ‘a lot’ by the feeling that some corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes, and 60% say the same about some wealthy people not paying their fair share. About four-in-ten (43%) say they are bothered a great deal by the complexity of the system. But with the April 18 tax filing deadline approaching, only about a quarter (27%) say they are bothered a lot by the amount they pay in taxes. And just 20% say that about the feeling that the poor do not pay their fair share of taxes….Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to say they are bothered “a lot” by the feeling that some corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes (75% vs. 44%). And the gap is about as wide over the feeling that some wealthy people don’t pay their fair share (76% vs. 40%).” [Pew]

AMERICANS NO LONGER BELIEVE TRUMP WILL KEEP HIS PROMISES - HuffPollster: “More U.S. citizens have lost faith in President Donald Trump’s ability to keep his promises, a new survey finds. In a Gallup poll released on Monday, only 45 percent of adults polled say they believe Trump keeps his promises. That’s down 17 points since early February, when 62 percent of respondents held that position….This is especially true for members of groups that didn’t overwhelmingly vote for Trump. In February, 65 percent of women thought Trump kept his promises. However, that is now down to 40 percent, a 25-point drop. Other groups with significantly worsening perceptions of Trump include Democrats, liberals and adults under age 35. At the beginning of Trump’s presidency, 92 percent of Republicans said they believed Trump kept his promises. That’s now dropped 11 points to 81 percent. While Republicans’ approval ratings for Trump have remained fairly stagnant, their attitudes about him appear to be changing.” [HuffPost, more from Gallup]

Philip Bump notes that faith is declining most sharply among independents. [WashPost]

AMERICANS AREN’T TOO HAPPY WITH THE GOP - Pew Research: “Nearly three months after the Republican Party took control of the White House and Congress, the public gives low job ratings to the president and even lower ratings to the speaker of the House. The new Congress is viewed about as unfavorably as the previous Congress. And while both parties are viewed less positively than in January, the GOP’s ratings are more negative than the Democratic Party’s….Donald Trump’s overall job rating stands at 39%, the same as it was in February. As was the case then, his job rating today is lower – and more politically divided – than other recent presidents at comparable points in their first year….Just 29% approve of the way Paul Ryan is handling his job as speaker of the House, while nearly twice as many (54%) disapprove. About half of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (51%) give Ryan a positive job rating, while 31% disapprove. Democrats and Democratic leaners overwhelmingly disapprove of Ryan’s job performance (75% disapprove).” [Pew]

BILL O’REILLY’S VIEWERS STILL RATE HIM FAVORABLY - HuffPollster, with Emily Peck, on a new HuffPost/YouGov survey: “Slightly more than 85 percent of Americans polled who sometimes or regularly watch ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ say they’re aware of the recent controversy surrounding its host…. 65 percent hold a favorable view of O’Reilly, according to the HuffPost/YouGov survey. Just 17 percent say they think his show should be canceled in light of the controversy. Among Republican viewers, only 9 percent want to see the show canceled….Among respondents who said they watch ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ sometimes or regularly, 60 percent are men, 66 percent lean or identify as Republican and 52 percent voted for President Donald Trump.” [HuffPost]

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

-Nearly three-quarters of Americans think international tensions are escalating. [Marist]

-Christopher Ingraham reviews the final price tag on the 2016 election. [WashPost]

-Thomas Wood argues that Trump voters were motivated more by racial attitudes than authoritarian beliefs. [WashPost]

-Chris Cillizza takes a skeptical look at Rasmussen’s polling. [CNN]

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