Insider Advantage points out this fact today:
An Insider Advantage poll three weeks ago showed Handel with a double digit lead and Stephens in single digits. Had she had enough money to mount a serious media campaign, she might have been able to win without a runoff.
Her inability to do so aided the Stephens campaign and at the end of the day Stephens moved from about 8 percent of the vote to the low 30’s while Handel moved from the mid and high 30’s to the low 40’s.
This clearly gives a sense of perspective and potential momentum to the Stephens campaign.
From the very get-go, Stephens has aggressively tried to depict Handel as a closet liberal running in a conservative Republican Primary. It is true that she has fired back with her own charges, but Stephens has seemed to be the more effective in making his stick.
That’s all true (assuming their polling was correct) and Handel did get a big assist by a North Fulton turnout that will not repeat in the runoff. But, Handel did win 106 counties to Stephens’s 45 counties. She does have the endorsements of the other people in that race.
My sense in a runoff is that if the second place guy gets within five to seven points, they can take the race in the runoff. But, outside of that, it is very, very tough. With an 10 point difference, roughly, I don’t think Stephens is going to be able to get it — especially if his runoff race is organized in the same manner as his primary.