Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Georgia Senate Turning

In Polling, Senate on October 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Republican David Perdue (above) has fumbled the ball recently, both in accusing opponent Michelle Nunn of having an unexplained role in funneling money to terrorist organizations and then saying he is “proud” of his business record for outsourcing jobs.

Despite the perceived gaffes, the polling was still showing him holding a small lead across the board until now. Survey USA (Oct. 10-13; 563 likely Georgia voters) yesterday released new figures placing Democrat Nunn ahead 48-45 percent, her first lead of the campaign. But, is this the formation of a new trend or a mere blip?

The same poll tested the top of the ticket and the down ballot races. In the governor’s race, S-USA finds what many pollsters have, that the contest between incumbent Nathan Deal (R) and state Sen. Jason Carter (D) is a virtual dead heat. The results here show a 46-46 percent tie.

In the down ballot campaigns, the results are as one would expect: S-USA detects that the GOP candidates lead all except for the Superintendent of Public Instruction contest, which evolves into a tie. These latter results suggest the sample selection possesses basic validity.

With the Republicans now on the precipice of winning Senate control, they cannot afford to drop what should be safe – or, at least likely – GOP seats in places like Georgia and Kansas (Sen. Pat Robert [R] facing Independent Greg Orman). These two races now become top priorities for GOP spending.

Expect the Perdue forces, national Republicans, and outside conservative organizations to substantially increase their efforts in Georgia. Their strategy will be to move Nunn left, tying her as much as possible to an unpopular President Obama.

Democrats will move forward in order not only to propel Nunn (above) into the lead, but to get her over 50 percent. Georgia and Louisiana are the only states that have a post-general election run-off, meaning that either Nunn or Purdue must exceed 50 percent of the vote or be subjected to a Jan. 6, 2015 secondary vote. Libertarian Amanda Swafford is on the ballot, and three individuals have qualified as write-in candidates.

In order for the Georgia Senate contest to advance to political overtime, a situation similar to what happened in the 2014 Mississippi primary would have to occur. Earlier this year, Magnolia State challenger Chris McDaniel and Sen. Thad Cochran finished close to each other, both exceeding 49 percent but failing to reach the majority figure. Mathematically, there is a slim chance of that happening in Georgia, because it is reasonable to foresee Swafford and the write-ins exceeding 2 percent of the vote. Therefore, their presence does lead to the possibility of forcing a run-off.

The Georgia Senate contest is tight, but time still remains for Perdue to right his faltering ship. He successfully changed course late in his primary and run-off campaigns, and now he is tasked with doing so again. For Nunn, her campaign is firing on all cylinders right now. She will have to keep the momentum churning in order to score the upset win.

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