New (Rare) Georgia Runoff Polls: Both Races Too Close for Comfort, But Republicans Narrowly Lead

Posted: Dec 17, 2020 10:25 AM

Polling has been scant in Georgia's pair of crucial runoff Senate races, which might be for the best. Pollsters missed the mark badly in a number of major races across the country in the 2020 cycle, including big whiffs in some big-ticket Senate contests. Survey averages underestimated Joni Ernst's victory margin by about five points in Iowa, projected the wrong winner in North Carolina's key battle, and totally butchered the Maine race, where Susan Collins trailed in every single public poll, then won by nearly nine points. Mix in some of the notable margin misfires in the presidential race and the widespread failure of House-level polling, and a picture emerges in which it may make sense for many professionals in this industry to take a step back to reevaluate their methods, rather than pump out more misleading garbage.

On the other hand, there are two critical, high-stakes races underway in one all-important state that will determine control of Congress' upper chamber -- and therefore whether or not Democrats wield full control over Washington, versus divided government. And truth be told, we don't really have a great sense of where these contests stand. When I was down in Georgia for my radio show last week, sources connected to both GOP campaigns were extremely tight-lipped about internal polling, acknowledging that there just isn't much data for observers to work with. Historically speaking, Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler should be in a somewhat comfortable position to win, but ongoing pot-stirring from President Trump, including amplifying deranged fringe voices calling on the jailing of major GOP officials in the state, is an X-factor. For what it's worth, a rare, fresh survey (see update) out of Georgia shows exceptionally tight tossups:

That's a two-point improvement for Loeffler, and a one-point bump for Perdue, compared to the data drop in this series one month ago. Somewhat encouraging, perhaps, but that's mostly just statistical noise. What it does seem to confirm is what I heard from virtually everyone I spoke to on the ground in the Peach State: Things are very close, and turnout will decide the winners. Plugged-in Georgia radio host and commentator Erick Erickson thinks Team Red has a bit of an advantage, as does Karl Rove. One thing that Democrats have going for them is that unlike the circular firing squad among Republicans (read this missive from the GOP secretary of state blasting back at his party's senators and a pointed retort from the national GOP's Senate arm), Democrats are marching arm in arm. Joe Biden stumped for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock on Tuesday, making the case for unified Democratic governance (via leftist propaganda outlet NowThis):

He wants congressional enablers to work with himself, Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to enact a Democratic agenda and "change America," as Schumer put it. He doesn't want Republicans standing in the way. This is how the Biden-skeptical hardcore progressives view things, too (which is why Bernie Sanders and AOC are all in):

Priority number one is to "disempower" the "evil" Republicans who will stand in the way of unfettered "progress." This is precisely why right-leaning and centrist voters need to set aside the angry sideshows and focus on guaranteeing the checks-and-balances Senate roadblock that Democrats desperately want to avoid. I'll leave you with this somewhat niche issue that may have resonance, especially given data suggesting that a massive majority of Georgians are against this sort of political correctness:

UPDATE - Again, with all the grains of salt, another new poll -- Emerson this time -- shows both Republicans holding identical three-point leads (51/48) over their Democratic challengers in these runoff races.

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