In 2010, 2012, and 2014, polling in Georgia at this time of year tends to show the Democrats outperforming the Republicans. I have long suspected it was the quality of the pollster polling Georgia. But there is more to it than that.
In Georgia, Republicans tend to be more family oriented as they are elsewhere. Consequently, they tend to be gone during the end of July and very beginning of August because of school. Everyone is getting in their last round of vacation then heading back to do school shopping and getting the kids ready for school. They aren’t going to sit around and take the time to do a poll.
The more affluent, older, wealthier Republicans in the metro-Atlanta area are already a bit squishier and they are willing to sit down to do the poll in their empty nest. That is my theory at least. But, for perspective, in 2014, Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter were ahead of David Perdue and Nathan Deal, both of whom went on to win without runoffs.
So here we are in Georgia and Hillary Clinton is polling ahead of Donald Trump in Georgia in August. It is the familiar pattern. But, we should take note of one thing. The Democrats, who do far more accurate internal polling, believe their battleground really is expanding to Georgia and Arizona.
In Arizona, a RealClearPolitics average of recent polls gives Trump a lead of less than 1 percentage point over Clinton. In Georgia, Clinton has an average lead of nearly 2 percentage points, according to the publication.
Neither state was among an initial batch of states the Clinton campaign has targeted with television advertising and money for larger field staffs.
Rebecca DeHart, executive director of the Georgia Democratic Party, confirmed that she heard from Clinton campaign officials Monday night. “We look forward to working with the Clinton campaign over the coming months here in Georgia, and are excited about their interest in the state,” she said in a statement. “Secretary Clinton overwhelmingly carried this state in the Primary election and we stand ready to deliver GA to her in November.”
Now, the Clinton campaign is not spending ads directly in Georgia, but its national ad buys are being seen in Georgia. I’ve gotten a number of calls to my radio show in Atlanta from people who have seen those ads.
But, and this is important, the national Democrats should not count on Stacey Abrams, the Democrats’ leader in the Georgia State House. She’s a huckster when it comes to voter registration. There are a number of prominent state Democrats waving red flags to the national Democrats not to get suckered by Abrams’ efforts. She keeps getting money, allegedly from Soros most recently, to register voters. But all she’s gotten is investigated.
The New Georgia Project announced Monday that is has registered 70,000 new minority voters this year, predominantly African Americans, but also Latinos and Asians. That’s on top of work the group has been doing since the 2012 cycle, where increased registration has helped Georgia Democrats make gains in state government. Democrats now have 61 seats in the Georgia House, far behind Republicans, who control 116 seats.
Take that with a grain of salt. Similar claims have been made by Abrams’ group before.