With just under one month to go until the runoff election, Democrat Jon Ossoff has increased his lead on Republican Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th district runoff election, a new poll found.
The exclusive poll, performed by SurveyUSA on behalf of WXIA-TV Atlanta, shows Ossoff ahead of Handel by 7 percentage points (51 percent to 44 percent) with a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points.
The firm surveyed 700 voters that are registered to vote in the June 20 runoff election between the two candidates. Of those 700 respondents, 549 were determined by SurveyUSA to have already voted in the runoff or “certain to do so before the June 12 deadline.” It gauged responses from voters via cell phone and landline and gathered answers from May 16-20.
To see the complete results of the new survey, click here.
The methodology — using a voter list with so many having already voted — is the first to be used in polling throughout the race, meaning it could have some merit come election day.
FiveThirtyEight gave SurveyUSA an “A” in its rating, noting that it’s correctly called 90 percent of races with its polls. It’s got a mean-reverted bias of “D +0.1,” meaning it typically leans Democrat 0.1 percent of the time in its polls.
SurveyUSA said in its findings that the race is still “close enough in a low-turnout, stand-alone runoff to be anyone’s call,” adding that Ossoff currently sits in a much better position than Handel to win.
The special election is to replace Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who represented Georgia’s 6th district in the House for the past 12 years. The district is Republican-leaning, but it’s not far-fetched that a Democrat can win the seat.
President Donald Trump won the district in the 2016 presidential election, but not by much — 1.5 percentage points to be exact.
Ossoff notably lives just outside of the 6th district with his girlfriend, Alisha Kramer. He’s vowed to stick by her side as she finishes up schooling at Emory University. However, he’s since said that if he were to win the seat, he would move back to within the district, which covers much of Atlanta’s northern suburbs.
With that in mind, a second question in the poll asked voters’ views of Ossoff living outside of the 6th district and if that plays a role in swaying their vote. Eighty-four percent of registered Democrats and 21 percent of registered Republicans said it is “not an issue.
Another question on the survey asked if Handel not having a college degree plays a role in sqaying their vote. Fifty-eight percent of total respondents said they don’t consider it an issue while 21 percent said it’s a minor issue.
Ossoff won the first round of voting April 18, but didn’t garner the 50 percent needed to win the seat outright, meaning the top-two candidates would face off in a runoff election.
Of the 17 candidates in the original field, Ossoff grabbed 48.1 percent to Handel’s 19.18. But because of the 11 Republicans that made up the field, many suspected those votes would be transferred to Handel. But recent polling hasn’t shown that to be the case.
A poll that was released May 14 showed Ossoff and Handel in a dead heat as the election nears.
Florida-based Gravis Marketing performed the poll, which showed Ossoff leading Handel 47 percent to 45 percent. It was conducted from May 8-10 and had a 3.3 percent margin of error, another sign that the race is virtually a tossup.
Click here to see the full results of the poll.
Gravis conducted a random survey of 870 likely voters in Georgia via voice responses and an online panel of cell phone users.
Previous polls in the runoff election have shown similar results.
One poll released in early May conducted for WSB-TV showed Handel leading Ossoff 49.1 percent to 46.5 percent.
But a separate poll performed by a Democratic polling firm showed very similar results. Respondents were surveyed right after the first round of the special election, and the results showed Ossoff ahead of Handel by one point (48-47).
Sensing the importance of the congressional race, record amounts of money and national support has continuously poured into the race. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the current cost of the race is now over $30 million, which makes it the most expensive race for a House seat ever.
The race has become an “ad war,” as NPR reported May 21. The total amount spent on TV ads alone is on track to eclipse $30 million — more than one-third the amount the Trump campaign spent on a nationwide, presidential election.
Debate Schedule Up In the Air
Shortly after the first round of voting, Ossoff challenged Handel to six debates, and her campaign seemed to encourage them.
“We welcome any chance to highlight Jon Ossoff’s inexperience and are excited to have a robust debate on the issues,” a campaign spokesperson said.
But the six debates were whittled down to three, and then two, after Handel declined an invitation to debate at Dunwoody Homeowners Association.
Handel’s campaign spokesperson Charlie Harper told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the campaign is vetting debate invites and will eventually produce an official schedule.
“Karen is looking forward to having several debates where she will highlight for Georgia families how Jon Ossoff’s dangerously liberal policies will increase taxes and put our national security at risk,” Harper told the paper.
Jon Ossoff vs. Karen Handel: Runoff Coming Up in Georgia
Results of a special election in Georgia’s 6th congressional district Tuesday didn’t determine an outright winner. Because of that, the race heads to a runoff.
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