On That Straw Poll From Gwinnett

Straw polls give us something to talk about around here. We understand and readily admit that they’re not scientific, and in most posts where I provide any commentary on them, I usually refer to them as political Rorschach tests. You generally can see anything you want in them if you try hard enough.

That said, the one from Gwinnett yesterday is getting “real” media attention, and I spoke to Doug Richards from WXIA/11 Alive about it this afternoon (Updated: His online report is filed here). Thus, I’ll provide more fodder for the sock puppet fire:

1) The fact that straw polls are moving from blogs to traditional media is a sign that the “real” campaign is upon us. Everything we’ve done up until now hasn’t been “the” campaign, it’s been organizing and preparing for it. Traditional media is now engaging, and thus, the general public will be as well. It’s go time.

2) This straw poll interests me because there is a second data point, found here. It’s the results of a straw poll taken just over 1 year ago, and shows how much has changed in this Governor’s race.

Gwinnett County Convention Straw Poll Results:

Shafer won Gwinnett 189 to 28 for Johnson

Oxendine 111
Karen 21
Casey 81
Austin 2
Clay Cox took 1 write-in vote.

Kemp 166
Macginnitie 14

Note that the candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor are not the same. Many political eternities have occurred since that GOP convention. And during that time, John Oxendine may be close to using up his 9 political lives.

He has gone from having 52% of the grass roots of his home county to 15%. While not scientific, I personally consider this significant. Those who know John Oxendine well have chosen to look elsewhere for their next Governor. There’s a lot of smoke around this campaign, and the home folks have decided not to get burned.

3) I’m struck by the swing of supporters in the Secretary of State’s race. Last March, Kemp was the overwhelming favorite. MacGinnitie has worked the grass roots hard during the last year. While Kemp maintains the institutional support via the fact that Sonny got to early-early vote, MacGinnitie has won over the grass roots county by county. He’s still showing up. Kemp, not so much these days.

4) The last time I wrote about the state of the Governor’s race, I predicted either Handel or Johnson would be the nominee, with Ox still having a 50-50 shot at the runoff. This straw poll shows that, but I’m no longer sure that’s correct. I’ll have more to say about that tomorrow.


  1. Tiberius says:

    I have said that the Kemp–MacGinnitie race is going to be the ultimate test case of how important that little “i” next to someone’s name is. We’ve seen it in PSC races, now we can move up the ballot a little bit.

    The activists like MacGinnitie but the uninterested, casual voter will have their overwhelming say in July. They will walk to the voting computer (can’t say booth anymore) and wonder “Kemp…he is in there now..who is he? What does the SOS do again?” That is why this business computer exposure story can be big.

    • Part-Time Atlanta says:

      Tiberius, you make a good point. “uninterested, casual voters” are what give us career politicians and RINOs. If more people got “active” and started electing good candidates this county may be able to turn itself around. That’s the one thing I like about the tea party movement. People are actually getting engaged and trying to elect candidates they believe in. I just hope there’s enough people that feel the same way.

  2. ZazaPachulia says:

    so basically you’re saying ‘straw polls are bogus, but here’s my spin anyway because I will never pass up an opportunity to gore the Ox.’

    (of course, I too have a hard time passing up opportunities to gore the Ox)

    I think the real story out of the Gwinnett Straw Poll is the rise of Otis Putnam. He literally increased his support along the I-85 north corridor by an infinite percent. His rising tide in the grassroots movement defies statistical analysis. Chew on that, straw poll ink-blotters…

      • Lady Thinker says:

        Run for local office, get elected, get some experience, try again in eight to sixteen years.

        • ZazaPachulia says:

          You mean, run for local office and then find every opportunity to bound up the political hill by jumping from seat to hiring paying seat, tacking and jibbing to the political winds while cutting back room deals? Then a candidate should get in good with the a term-limited governor and ride his coattails on into the glorious spotlight she’s always coveted?

          Actually, there are other ways besides the ‘Handel Way’
          Compared to her (and Deal and Ox and E. ‘School Voucher’ Johnson, I like Otis just fine.)

            • BuckheadConservative says:

              He may be refering the the Meg Whitman way. Go accomplish something in the real world and if you have something to offer in the way of public service (besides a moral flexibility and heard mentality), then throw your hat into the ring.

              Tell them to go to hell, Otis. The “farm club” system gave us the current bunch of misfits seeking higher office around here. If you got the ideas and the ability to implement them, RUN!

            • Lady Thinker says:

              I hate to say it, but I was a wee kid when Maddox ran. I remember the pick axes he gave away.

  3. EverythingZenX21 says:

    Again, what I think everyone is overlooking is that Clay Cox ran away with this victory at a Gwinnett County GOP event in Efstration (the previous Gwinnett County GOP Chairman)’s hometown of Dacula. That’s the only real statement that’s been made here in this straw pole.

    • Populus says:

      The Cox camp just better be happy there was no debate at the Gwinnett County GOP BBQ. When it comes to debating issues Clay takes a back seat in the bus. When it come stacking straw polls Clay packs supporters in the front of the bus. Clay and Chuck are now running neck and neck and I think when it comes to real grassroots support Chuck has a decided advantage.

      • EverythingZenX21 says:

        The idea of stacking straw polls is absolutely absurd, And if you want to talk about Clay’s debating skills, I believe the last (and only) actual debate, in which issues were actually heard, Clay won that poll as well. The Efstration campaign needs to learn a different tactic other than attacking Clay on his record and his “bussing supporter” techniques and get something concrete to to bring to this race. This accusation of “bussing in support” is just a lousy excuse for people who are for a candidate that no one cares to show up to hear what they have to say. If Chuck has all the “grassroot support”, than why don’t they care enough to come and vote fore him at an event in his own hometown? Shouldn’t he be able to “bus ’em all in” like you say Clay does?

        • Clay’s oratory skills are as sincere as the 1/4″ of make up he’s got on in that ad. Two things are clear about the Cox campaign: 1) private probation officers in Gwinnett are making bank, and 2) John Edwards’ stylist hasn’t lost his job.

          Three weeks ago, Clay Cox had half as much debt to pay on his campaign loan, little to no scrutiny of his unethical legislative career because of incompetent campaigning by the rest of the “competition.” In the poll, Efstration more than doubled the vote of Woodall, and lost to Clay by 13 votes. Chuck has done that in just over three (!) weeks since filing. When someone like Clay has been at this since literally the day Linder announced, I wouldn’t describe that as running away with a thing. Indeed, Clay is losing ground by the day.

          • Icarus says:

            And to think that just a couple of weeks ago, I was worried that the sock puppet wars of GA-9 would soon end, and the GA-7 race would never produce the same banter.

          • EverythingZenX21 says:

            Oh, you’re the dude who started the Ant-Cox website that about 13 people have seen. Don’t you have anything better to do with your time? Like, run a campaign?

            • EverythingZenX21 says:

              Classic that this is the only reply on your website FortesInquitFortunaIuvat:

              “This is so obviously written by Chuck Efestration or one of his lawyer minions. I mean really what the f*** is a “misdemeanant.” This was so obviously written by a lawyer (and probably a 27-year-old one like Chuck). If this Efstration kid thinks this kind of anonymous bashing is going to make him Congressional material, I feel sorry for him”

              MAY 22, 2010 6:31 AM

            • Why do Cox supporters never defend his decisions on HB 619 and HB 622? You go ad hominem right out of the gates. What is the Cox campaign’s stance on this issue? Do they really think that just because it happened over a year ago, its still unnoticed?

        • sndeak says:

          “vote fore him at an event in his own hometown?” Seriously, Dacula is a tiny ‘hometown’. That is a stupid argument. As a currently elected official with high name recognition Cox should be stomping Efstration.

          • Scarlett says:

            Actually Clay said “I will destroy this guy” at the Gwinnett GOP breakfast when he didn’t think there were people around that would hear him.

    • GOPwits says:

      Well if you want a blown dry candidate made for Washington, Clay Cox is your guy. If you want a real leader who will get in there and become the next Paul Ryan, then Chuck’s your guy.

      It’s pretty simple.

    • Your logic is preposterous. So, according to you, shouldn’t Cox be running away throughout the district? Afterall, he is the State Rep for much of the exact same areas constituting the GA 7. Isn’t the GA-7 same constituents? Why can’t he rap this up? This should be open an shut for the Sly Cox.

  4. old political pro says:

    There’s no such thing as “data points” to compare in straw polls. This entire post is patently absurd!

    Some candidates put all their volunteers into one straw poll, others go to other events. That’s all this reflects. This is ridiculous jibberish.

    These straw polls are just fundraisers for local parties and have no reflection on true grassroots support or organization one way or another.

    • Icarus says:

      Hi Joel, we’ve missed you.

      Just like the grass roots misses Kemp.

      Are you going to have him campaigning again, or is he going to adopt your usual “I’ve already won” strategy that worked so well for Congressmen Whitehead and Evans?

      • GOPwits says:

        It should be noted that the Kemp campaign has gone AWOL from Georgia as of late. It’s really shocking considering the the magnitude of the network that Kemp has built and the amount of time he has put into campaigning.

        I’m not ready to call this one a flip just yet, but if MacGinnitie desides to use his money, this one could be a toss up.

  5. Glen Ross says:

    Speaking of Brian Kemp, this video has been making it’s rounds around the interwebs via facebook:

    • SouthernGent says:

      That video is great! Kemp just doesn’t have what it takes to actually do any of the responsibilities of SOS. MacGinnitie is the man for the job. He is out there working hard to earn votes and tell people what he would do if elected. This is the first time I’ve been excited about the SOS race, just hope people are paying attention.

      • Doug Grammer says:

        I think I know how that one will go. I could be wrong, but it’s at least it’s down to 2 people (for now.) We do it all again on July 20. I am less certain of other races on July 20.

  6. GOPwits says:

    I think that we’ve seen with Johnson’s 350K ad buy and his lack of movement in the polls that he’d have to invest almost $2 million in TV alone just for people to know who the hell he is, let alone vote for him.

    Anyone who turns on a TV or reads a paper is becoming familiar with Ox’s corruption.

    The sleepers are Deal and Handel. One of the two are in the runoff – perhaps against each other, perhaps against Oxendine, maybe Johnson, but the closer we are to election day, the less likely Johnson has a spot. In fact, I’m thinking we are going to see a real home push back on the Coast to really boost Johnson for what might be next as opposed to this particular race…

    Handel’s chances rise everyday. She’s the only one with any upward trajectory.

    As for the possibility of a Deal / Oxendine runoff – how do you pick from two corrupt and ethically challenged politicians? Both will ensure a Roy Barnes victory and possibly the loss of other offices…

  7. HowardRoark says:

    The Ox has fallen a good bit, but he still has a ways to go before folks start writing his eulogy. Not a Ox fan, just saying…

    MacGinnitie’s ascendancy has been a great story. He’s a sharp guy, hard worker. Kemp’s candidacy never made much sense anyway, really. Kinda of hard to believe back then those 14 folks were probably thought to be a little crazy.

    Johnson v. Shafer would have been fun to watch.

  8. Georgia Judge says:

    Wishful thinking on the SOS race.While Doug hauls around his straw voters ,Kemp is out across the state securing his Primary victory.

    Kemp wins,end of story.

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