Carter Tied with Deal? Maybe in Unicornville…

March 14, 2014 9:55 am

by Mike Hassinger · 28 comments

So the buzz today is all about an irrational number. Let’s throw a few more more irrational numbers in honor of Pi.  How about 41-38? “Jason Carter, a Democratic state senator from Atlanta and grandson of Georgia’s only president, is slightly ahead of Deal, 41 percent to 38 percent.”  Wow, that sounds very strange. Senator Carter hasn’t done any advertising yet, mostly because the general election is still 8 months away. How could he possibly be tied with an incumbent Governor two months before the primary? Here’s how: 

The online survey of 486 voters was conducted Sunday and Monday by InsiderAdvantage with OpinionSavvy on behalf of Morris News and WAGA-TV in Atlanta. It showed 21 percent remain undecided.” (emphasis added.) 

You know who wins online polls? Ron Paul, the President of Unicornville, that’s who. I welcome any attempts to prove me wrong in the comments section, but unless and until somebody does, online polls aren’t real polls any more than those “Angry Birds” are real birds. 

zedsmith March 14, 2014 at 11:33 am

If one applied the same statistical rigors to an online poll as we expect of more traditional polling, one could get a meaningful result. Ron Paul wins polls where online communities have an opportunity to coordinate to sway the tally. I doubt that is the case with an insider advantage poll.

Does this mean the race is up in the air and the results should worry deal? No, not necessarily– but don’t dismiss polls just because they’re online. I’ve got plenty of land line polls showing McCain and Romney winning handily.

notsplost March 14, 2014 at 11:42 am

Very difficult to do that (apply statistical rigor to an online poll) as the sample of most online polls is decidedly non-random.

One of the keys to statistical validity is to get a random sample. Online polls fail because they don’t reach several segments of society and tend to oversample/undersample potential voting blocs, and they can usually be easily gamed by either a motivated partisan with time on their hands and easily available hacking tools, or professional hackers.

Perhaps by having randomly selected people invited to take an online poll, with adequate security to block impostors, it could be done, though I haven’t really thought that through.

OpinionSavvy March 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Online polls are real polls, if and only if several security measures are in place to prevent errors in sampling.

As it happens, our online polls use a random sample, with security measures to prevent multiple responses and gaming from respondents (e.g. IP tracking, unique link generation, etc.). I can assure you that our online sample is at least comparable to a statewide phone-based sample. In fact, our online demographic variables have consistently shown less selection bias than those of our telephone-based counterparts.

Also note that PPP showed Carter and Deal within 3 points of each other less than a month ago, so this isn’t without precedent: http://goo.gl/Zqxdp0

Blake March 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Who are you? Anyone could call him/her/itself “OpinionSavvy.”

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 14, 2014 at 1:30 pm

From the article in the link titled “Jimmy Carter’s grandson leads Nathan Deal in governor’s race, poll shows”:

“Carter said he has sensed momentum building.”

“”We feel like we’re getting a huge response, but it’s a long campaign,” he said.”

Carter is right that momentum is building, and Carter may also be right that he will eventually get a huge response.

…It’s just that the momentum that is building will be just enough to propel him at full speed head-on into a thick solid reinforced steel wall in November.

And the huge response he gets likely will not exactly be the kind of response that he and Georgia Democrats may be looking for.

A wholly-conservative Georgia electorate is not going to elect an uber-liberal Democrat from an uber-liberal Intown urban enclave in Decatur to the Governor’s office after electing conservative Republicans to all other statewide offices and to a supermajority of legislative seats under the Gold Dome.

…Especially in a year in which Republicans will likely make significant gains nationally in both U.S. House and Senate races in conservative states where Obamacare has gone over like a lead balloon, including here in conservative Georgia.

This is totally ridiculous that uber-liberal Democrats even think that they have anything better than a very-remote shot at winning in November in both the Governor’s race and the U.S. Senate race.

The media seriously needs to stop giving Georgia Democrats a dangerous sense of false hope and overconfidence.

But that’s okay because at least Georgia Democrats seem to have fielded some notable candidates for statewide office this year, even though those notable candidates are likely in for one heck of a reality check in November.

Blake March 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm

I quibble with the description of Carter as “uber-liberal” and the Georgia electorate as “wholly-conservative.” The conclusions, though … can’t quibble with those.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 14, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Jason Carter is described as “uber-liberal” because he represents one of the most-liberal state legislative districts in Georgia and in the entire Southeastern U.S.

…A state legislative district (in State Senate District 42) that encompasses such decidedly left-leaning areas as Little Five Points, Downtown Decatur, East Atlanta Village, Druid Hills/Emory University and Kirkwood.
http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/District.aspx?District=42&Session=23

In a state where Republicans currently hold all statewide offices and a supermajority of legislative seats, a candidate like Jason Carter and the decidedly far-left leaning legislative district he represents are very-noticeable outliers in a decidedly-conservative Georgia political scene.

Blake March 14, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Z Magazine (http://zcomm.org/zmag/) is far left. There are no “far left” elected officials in the United States (not even Bernie Sanders), and there are no “decidedly far-left leaning” legislative districts. Anywhere in the country.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 14, 2014 at 5:25 pm

That’s a rather astonishing statement that there are no far-left officials in the U.S., particularly when there is one far-left official currently in the White House.

…A statement that shows exactly why Democrats have been in serious retreat in a conservative state like Georgia since 2002 (and why Democrats have been in retreat in the Southern U.S. for even longer).

…Because a largely and decidedly conservative electorate in Georgia and the Southern U.S. thinks that the Democratic Party has shifted too far to the left of the political spectrum for them.

The lack of Democratic politicians who speak directly to the concerns of a largely-conservative electorate in Georgia and across the Southern U.S. has only repeatedly confirmed the perception of Georgia voters that the Democratic Party is too liberal.

Like former Governor and Georgia U.S. Senator Zell Miller and other former Southern Democrats have repeatedly stated when asked why they no longer support the party, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me”.

Blake March 14, 2014 at 5:31 pm

I don’t know why you find the truth astonishing. You are quite simply wrong when you say that the Democratic Party has shifted to the left. They have shifted to the center, the GOP to the right. This isn’t subjective, or even controversial (or shouldn’t be).

The shift of the South from Dixiecrat to GOP is of course a great deal more complicated than your summary, and frankly, Crazy Uncle Zell is not an example of anything.

Finally, Georgia is not that conservative. It’s about 5% more conservative than it is liberal. As everyone who has hung around Peach Pundit for more than a month or so knows, a Democratic Georgia by 2016 is likely, by 2018 is probable, and by 2020 is certain. Frankly, an all-out organizing/registration/sustained GOTV campaign would turn it blue right now.

Update: I see you edited your comment while I was posting mine, to add that we currently have a far-left President. Excuse me while I laugh myself to tears and beg you to confine yourself to posting on transportation issues, where you have a chance of knowing what you’re talking about.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 14, 2014 at 7:19 pm

“I don’t know why you find the truth astonishing.”

…It’s not the actual truth that anyone finds astonishing. It’s your distorted revisionist version of “the truth” that is astonishing.

“You are quite simply wrong when you say that the Democratic Party has shifted to the left. They have shifted to the center, the GOP to the right. This isn’t subjective, or even controversial (or shouldn’t be).”

…There’s no argument that the GOP hasn’t shifted to the right in its rhetoric (but not necessarily its actions or its governance).

But Democrats wouldn’t currently be politically-radioactive to voters in Georgia and throughout large swaths of the Southern and Midwestern U.S. if voters did not have issues with the party’s continued leftward shift in its political, economic, fiscal, social and cultural positions.

To say that the Democratic Party has not shifted to the left over the last few decades or so is to simply be in a profound state of denial over the current plight of the party outside of the Northeast and the West Coast where the Democratic seems to be most compatible with a predominantly liberal electorate.

“The shift of the South from Dixiecrat to GOP is of course a great deal more complicated than your summary, and frankly, Crazy Uncle Zell is not an example of anything.”

…It is interesting that you personally think that one of this state’s more distinguished governors (Zell Miller, whose disillusionment with the political, social and cultural positions of his beloved Democratic Party mirrors that of the Georgia electorate) “is not an example of anything”.

Your misinformed insult of former Governor and U.S. Senator Zell Miller also reveals just how much you obviously do not know about politics in Georgia and in the Southern U.S.

“Finally, Georgia is not that conservative. It’s about 5% more conservative than it is liberal. As everyone who has hung around Peach Pundit for more than a month or so knows, a Democratic Georgia by 2016 is likely, by 2018 is probable, and by 2020 is certain. Frankly, an all-out organizing/registration/sustained GOTV campaign would turn it blue right now.”

…Georgia’s demographics may be trending in favor of eventual competitiveness for liberal candidates on a larger scale outside of Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties.

…But those trending demographics don’t mean a thing if liberal Democrats can’t take advantage of them to win statewide elections, which they have yet to prove that they can do as demonstrated by supermajority Republican control of all statewide elected offices and the state legislature.

“Update: I see you edited your comment while I was posting mine, to add that we currently have a far-left President.”

…A massive budget-busting government takeover of the nation’s healthcare system in the much-hated Obamacare (which features the wildly-unpopular individual mandate); past advocation for continued unfettered access to elective abortion; endless untimely pushes to increase taxes and the raise minimum wage before focusing on job creation in a soft economy…

…Those are all far-left policy positions by any and every measure of the term “far-left”.

“Excuse me while I laugh myself to tears and beg you to confine yourself to posting on transportation issues, where you have a chance of knowing what you’re talking about.”

I have a better idea…

…Why don’t you and other liberal Georgia Democrats put down whatever hallucinogenic substances you are ingesting, sober up, step into reality and admit that one of the major reasons that you are currently out-of-power and have been out-of-power for the last 12 years is because your far-left policy positions are entirely out-of-touch and out-of-step with the policy positions and the beliefs of Georgia voters?

Sure, the demographics of the state may be changing in favor of making Democrats more competitive down the line…

…But until Georgia Democrats learn to (once again) talk to a conservative (and libertarian) electorate (in the style of a conservative-sounding Democrat like John Barrow), they will remain out-of-power and unable to get more than 50% of the vote in statewide elections.

Charlie March 15, 2014 at 12:31 am

No. Just no.

I didn’t read any of this. You’re back to writing a damn book every time you want to comment.

Learn how to make concise points. None of us have the time or patience for this.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 15, 2014 at 2:16 am

I do apologize Charlie, I just tried to layout my responses to each of Blake’s points to make it easier for you to read.

Dave Bearse March 15, 2014 at 4:59 pm

You would have avoided the prompt if you would have limited yourself to rebutting three and instead of five points. Don’t give up, as I do appreciate your comments though I beg to differ on many.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 15, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Well, thank you Mr. Bearse, I appreciate your comments as well and I appreciate your support.

Dave Bearse March 15, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Zell Miller? The author of A National Party No More in 2003, a few years before the GOP was swept out of both houses and has yet to win the Presidency, the guy that co-sponsored a federal marriage amendment and proposed repeal of the 17th amendment didn’t leave the party?

Two names for you that the GOPS’s continued hard right can’t cost it statewide offices in GA: Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock.

MO is lost its bellweather about a decade ago. IN is as conservative as GA.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 15, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Those are good points, though one thing that might potentially be different about the GA Senate race is that unlike the states of Indiana and Missouri, Georgia forces the top vote-getting candidate in an election into a runoff with the second-leading vote-getting candidate if the top vote-getter does not get over 50% of the vote, which is a very-likely scenario in the GOP Primary of the GA Senate race.

Georgia’s runoff system could potentially (but not necessarily) serve as a hedge for the GOP against the type of scenario that happened in Missouri and Indiana.

On the other hand, Georgia’s runoff system could also help hurt the GOP if candidates like Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey or Jack Kingston clinch the Republican nomination and are given an even longer opportunity to say something, shall we say, “ill-advised” in the General Election.

The point is that Georgia Democrats are not necessarily yet strong enough to win a statewide election without the GOP committing some type of huge blunder or error.

Dave Bearse March 15, 2014 at 10:57 pm

A runoff is a Georgia wrinkle, but it didn’t come into play for Mourdock. He blew out Lugar 60-40 the primary, and decidedly lost the general 50-44 with a third party candidate in the race.

MO was another matter though. Akin won the primary with only 36% in a relatively even three way race, the two others each with about 30% (and five other also rans collecting 5% collectively), but was crushed 55-39 by McCaskill in the general.

Notes the results relative to the location of the states on the political spectrum. Extremist blown out in leans conservative MO, and loses even in deep red IN.

See, the comment caused me to check further. It’s one of the things I like about this place.

Charlie March 15, 2014 at 11:20 pm

I still look at Mourdock as a special case. Though he made an Akin like comment along the way, the opposition to Lugar was cemented by the fact that he no longer owned property in IN, and hand’t since the Carter administration.

If Saxby, Johnny, or John Lewis or Sandford Biship were shown to no longer call Georgia “home” and rarely visited, it would be hard to convince any base that they were “one of us”.

Lugar became “of Washington”, and with the popularity ratings of Congress/DC, it’s hard to win a primary/general when your only friends are there, and not back home among those doing the voting/hiring.

Dave Bearse March 16, 2014 at 12:49 am

Lugar being 80 years of age was a factor too.

Mourdock made more than a Akin like comment (and repeatedly flubbed followup explanations), though that’s what got national attention. Mourdock questioned the constitutionality of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, talk that plays in a red state GOP primary, but is DOA in a general.

A runoff is a near certainty given five viable candidates. It’s not at all long odds that a runoff will include Broun or Gingrey, with the expectation that supporters of all the other candidates rally around the runoff opponent.

Gingrey supporters heavily gravitating to Broun, or vice versa, in a runoff is one wrinkle. Another is the possibility of a Broun-Gingrey funoff, unlikely but not to be ruled out based on polling to date. Broun and Gingrey being one-two a month from now would necessitate pre-primary coalescing around a stopper, and there doesn’t seem to be time for that.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 16, 2014 at 3:22 am

Mr. Bearse, I know that you probably meant to type an “r” instead of an “f”, but a “funoff” is most-likely what Democrats both in Georgia and nationally would be thinking if two potentially blunder-prone candidates like Broun and Gingrey ended up in a runoff in the GOP primary.

Also, going back to your point about losing Indiana U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock…

…Mourdock was actually still leading the IN Senate race by about 5 points and looked to be pulling away in the race and on his way to winning the election before he made the “Rape pregnancy is what God intended” comments in the final debate in mid-October in which he also often appeared to be crying and having some kind of emotional breakdown.

It kind of goes back to the point that in red states with largely-conservative electorates dominated by Republicans, Democratic candidates often cannot win statewide office unless their Republican opponent commits a major blunder or makes a huge error.

Dave Bearse March 18, 2014 at 12:49 am

I make my share of typos, but “funoff” was intentional. Glad you noticed.

zedsmith March 14, 2014 at 4:05 pm

I think it’s reasonable to still think of carter as a pioneer who’s gonna get scalped come Election Day. But there is a good chance that the race is competitive enough to leave the Georgia dens with a more competent party that’s more worthy of outside money and talent in coming cycles.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 14, 2014 at 5:06 pm

I agree…good analysis.

Even though they likely will not win in either the Governor’s race or the U.S. Senate race, Georgia Democrats will have the opportunity to pull closer to the ultra-dominant Georgia Republicans.

If Georgia Democrats break the 45% barrier in a statewide race (something that they have not since 2008 in a statewide race outside of Presidential elections), they will have done exceedingly well for themselves.

objective March 14, 2014 at 2:32 pm

i think a lot of folks may think all online polling is like survey monkey.

Charlie March 14, 2014 at 2:43 pm

1) Online poll + 2) 486 Sample size = ….. Profit?

John Konop March 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Mike,

In polling with people having less landlines…..how do you factor that in your polling? Do you weight landlines from cells differently?

Will Durant March 15, 2014 at 11:54 am

1. The poll has no validity.
2. Never say never in politics, dead girl, live boy, federal indictment…
3. The poll still doesn’t have any validity.

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