In a poll of 400 likely voters conducted on August 30, Lee Anderson leads John Barrow 44% to 43%, with 13% undecided, in Georgia’s newly drawn 12th Congressional District.
The data from the poll is touted in today’s press release from the Anderson campaign, Common Sense Farmer Lee Anderson Leads in Georgia’s 12th District.
The opening line of the press release:
Common sense farmer Lee Anderson is leading professional politician and flip-flopper John Barrow in a recent poll conducted by McLaughlin and Associates.
But the tight numbers don’t seem to match the tone.
The press release notes that Romney is “wildly popular” in the district, but Romney leads Obama only 53%-40%. That’s definitely a solid lead, but it’s in a district that ought to be at least a couple of points to the right of the state as a whole. The release also proclaims that “John Barrow doesn’t have a path to victory,” which also seems at odds with the poll.
Keep in mind that the poll was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates. John McLaughlin is identified in the press release as “Governor Nathan Deal’s pollster,” which would lead one to expect at least a touch of partisan lean. Also keep in mind that the poll was conducted on the final day of the RNC but before the DNC. It looks increasingly like Obama got a little more bounce out of the conventions than Romney did.
Anyway, the press release spin aside, what to make of the numbers?
Why does Romney poll 9 points better than Anderson? Why does Barrow poll 3 points better than Obama? Who are these voters that might split their tickets?
From McLaughlin’s memo accompanying the press release:
-Lee Anderson leads: in the new portion of the district 50%-38%; among Republicans 75%-15%; among Independents 43%-42%; and among white voters 65%-26%.
-John Barrow leads: in the old portion of the district 50%-38%; among Democrats 78%-10%; among Obama voters 82%-8%; and among African Americans 78%-7%.
Consider the percentages of undecideds:
- 10% of Republicans
- 15% of Independents
- 12% of Democrats
- 9% of whites
- 15% of blacks
Anderson has to be considered the favorite, but this poll suggests a tighter race than many were assuming.