It’s Election Day in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, and the U.S. House of Representatives race between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel has certainly heated up in recent weeks.
That was no more apparent than in the the final poll of the race. The survey, performed by Landmark Communications on behalf of WSB-TV, showed just how close the race is expected to be. The poll showed Ossoff and Handel separated by just 0.1 percentage points.
The latest poll moved Daily Kos‘ polling averages to exactly 42.8 percent apiece, with 3.6 percent being undecided.
According to polls compiled by RealClearPolitics, Handel holds a 49 percentage point to 48.8 percent lead in survey averages.
Any way you put it, Ossoff vs. Handel seems destined to be an extremely close race. The Cook Political Report has moved its House race rating for the race from “lean Republican” to “Republican Toss Up,” and Sabato’s Crystal Ball also predicted another toss up.
That’s quite the change from what was first predicted to happen in the congressional race. A Democrat hasn’t represented the district since 1979. Therefore the thought that Ossoff, a first-time politician, had a realistic chance at winning seemed far-fetched.
But the outcome of the 2016 presidential election saw President Donald Trump win the district by just 1.5 percentage points, and Democrats saw a real chance to flip the seat when former Rep. Tom Price was confirmed as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Money started pouring in, and then the first round of election results were tallied. Those same Democrats then saw a legitimate opportunity to win the election.
Ossoff raised many national eyebrows with his performance in the April 18 first round of voting for the special election. He grabbed about 48 percent of the votes and won by a landslide. However, because it’s a special election, one candidate needed at least 50 percent of the vote in order to win the seat outright. So the top two vote-getters in the field advanced to a runoff, and that set up a much-anticipated matchup between Ossoff and Handel.
And right out of the gate, Ossoff kept the momentum rolling and led Handel in the polls. He grabbed 50 percent support to Handel’s 48 percent in the first poll released between the two.
In fact, according to BallotPedia, just one poll has shown Ossoff behind in the race.
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll taken from June 5-8 showed Ossoff with the biggest lead of the race — 7 percentage points (with a 5 percent margin of error).
But polls released after that indicated Handel had tightened the gap as they approached June 20.
Some forecasters are saying that it’s Ossoff’s race to lose, while most are saying it’s a toss up. FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten wrote that the race is still too close to call.
Michael McDonald of the United States Elections Project said that people should expect to see abnormally high turnout and a “close election.”
That’s partly due to the extremely high turnout of early voters. A total of 142,010 people had already voted early in the district by the June 16 deadline to do so. That’s nearly triple the amount that early voted during the April 18 election.
If you trust the polls — which were notably wrong when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton — then Tuesday’s House election should be historic in more ways than one.
Donald Trump Pushes Support of Karen Handel in Georgia 6th Runoff
President Donald Trump is pushing hard for electing Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. See examples of his support on Twitter.
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