Democrat Jon Ossoff may have the upper hand over Republican Karen Handel in the closely watched runoff to fill the seat for Georgia’s 6th District, according to two newly released surveys.
Ossoff holds a 7-point edge, 51 percent to 44 percent, in a live-caller Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll conducted by Abt Associates and released Friday. Ossoff also holds a 10-point edge in favorability over Handel, the survey finds, and has more crossover appeal, taking 13 percent of the GOP vote to Handel’s 3 percent among the district’s Democrats.
President Donald Trump isn’t popular in the district ― just 35 percent rate him positively, according to the results ― but voters were more likely than not to say their choice wasn’t intended as a message to the president. Health care looms larger, with more than 80 percent naming it as a very important or extremely important priority. Just a quarter of voters said they had a favorable impression of the House GOP bill to replace Obamacare.
The AJC results, along with a recent SurveyUSA poll, are among the most positive to date for Ossoff, with most showing a closer race.
A survey released Thursday by WSB-TV and Landmark Communications gives Ossoff a smaller 3-point edge over Handel, 50 percent to 47 percent ― a result the pollsters described as too close to call. Several other recent polls have also given Ossoff an edge of between 1 and 3 percentage points. (HuffPost Pollster’s charts don’t include surveys that reach only landline telephones, which make up a significant fraction of polling on the race.)
“It’s still definitely a dead heat,” Landmark pollster Mark Rountree told WSB. “Nothing has changed in the scheme of the whole campaign. Nothing has changed in the sense that this really does come down to getting out the vote.”
Determining who’s actually likely to vote, always an issue for pollsters, is especially challenging in special elections, which often see relatively low turnout.
But the latest survey results, coupled with the current political climate and Ossoff’s record-breaking fundraising, seemingly leave the Democrat in a stronger position. Ossoff’s campaign has raised $23 million in what has become the most expensive U.S. House race to date, far outpacing Handel.
“[A] Handel win would now seem like a coup for Republicans and a huge disappointment for House Democrats,” political analyst Dave Wasserman wrote before the release of the AJC poll.
The runoff is scheduled to be held June 20.
The AJC poll surveyed 745 likely voters between June 5 and June 8, using live interviewers to reach both landlines and cellphones. The WSB-TV poll surveyed 420 likely voters between June 6 and 7, using a mixed automated and digital method.
MORE OF THE LATEST POLLING NEWS:
HOW DID POLLS FARE IN THE U.K. ELECTION? - Harry Enten and Nate Silver: “Despite betting markets and expert forecasts that predicted Theresa May’s Conservatives to win a large majority in the U.K. parliamentary elections, the Tories instead lost ground on Thursday, resulting in a hung parliament... On average in U.K. elections since World War II, the final set of polls have missed the Conservative-Labour margin by 3.9 percentage points, almost exactly in line with this year’s error... Polls in the lead-up to this election showed a wide range of outcomes, with final polls showing margins that ranged from Labour +3 to Conservatives +13. There were a number of pollsters who had results very close to the final outcome, including Survation, Kantar Public, Norstat and SurveyMonkey... The pollsters apparently did a good enough job of weighting the raw samples properly, which got them fairly close to the right outcome. Then on top of that, some of them gave extra weight to the Conservatives through their turnout models. As a result, they discounted signs of a youth-driven Labour turnout surge.” [FiveThirtyEight; more takeaways from The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage]
AMERICANS ARE SPLIT ON TRUMP’S HANDLING OF TERRORISM - HuffPollster: “Americans are closely divided on the way President Donald Trump has reacted to the threat of terrorism, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, and give him mixed reviews for his tweets responding to the recent terrorist attack in London. Forty-one percent approve of Trump’s handling of the threat of terrorism, while 44 percent disapprove. The remainder are unsure... A majority of the public, 55 percent, says it was inappropriate for Trump to blast the London mayor, who said there was ‘no reason to be alarmed’ by the increased police presence in London. Trump tried to portray the remark as downplaying the threat of terrorism. Just 26 percent of Americans say Trump’s criticism was appropriate... Americans are divided more broadly on the proper tone for a politician to take in the aftermath of a terror attack. While 41 percent say it’s worse for a politician not to react strongly enough and to risk appearing weak, 33 percent say it’s worse to react too strongly and risk stoking fear.” [HuffPost]
MORE PEOPLE HAVE HEARD OF JARED KUSHNER, BUT THAT’S NOT NECESSARILY GOOD FOR HIM - HuffPollster: “The number of people who say they don’t know who Jared Kushner is has decreased, and the number of people who dislike him has increased since April, according to a new poll... In April, a Morning Consult/Politico poll found that 47 percent of respondents had never heard of Kushner or didn’t have an opinion about him. Only 30 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of him. But in a new Morning Consult/Politico poll released Wednesday, 37 percent said they have an unfavorable opinion of Kushner, and 38 percent said they either haven’t heard of him or don’t have any opinion about him. Only 26 percent of voters reported a favorable opinion of him. The poll found that 51 percent of respondents viewed the president unfavorably with 45 percent responding favorably. HuffPost Pollster’s average of polls shows Trump with a rating of 54 percent unfavorable and 40 percent favorable. Although Kushner is relatively unknown compared with his father-in-law, quite a few people dislike him.” [HuffPost]
‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
- Most Americans think Trump is interfering with Russia investigations. [The Washington Post]
- Americans’ views on abortion have remained largely stable. [Gallup]
- Fewer than half of American voters view Trump as the “leader of the free world.” [Quinnipiac]
- Geoffrey Skelley previews the upcoming Virginia gubernatorial primary. [Sabato’s Crystal Ball]
- Nate Cohn sees reasons for Democrats to be optimistic, despite their recent losses. [The New York Times]
- Jack Brewster offers a skeptical take on polls asking about impeachment. [Time]
- Dante Chinni shows that Trump’s approval rating is declining in military communities and exurbs. [The Wall Street Journal]
- Steven Shepard reports on a new turnout model being used by the Democratic Governors Association. [Politico]
- Daniel Cox and Harmeet Kamboj examine how social contact with the LGBT community has affected Americans’ policy attitudes. [PRRI]
- Nik DeCosta-Klipa writes on a study that finds most Americans don’t think ESPN has any political bias. [Boston.com]
- Derek Thompson investigates the disappearance of the summer job. [The Atlantic]