Pollmageddon: Deal’s lead over Carter within margin of error.

April 1, 2014 18:40 pm

by Buzz Brockway · 52 comments

No real details of the poll in this article so speculate as to what this all means.

An exclusive Channel 2 Action News poll shows a statistical tie between Gov. Nathan Deal and Democratic challenger Jason Carter.

The poll conducted by Landmark Communications/Rosetta Stone asked Georgia voters who they would vote for governor of Georgia.

Deal, a Republican, leads Carter by a margin of 43 percent to 39 percent – a number within the four-point margin of error. Eighteen percent remain undecided.

“I think it’s great news, not only for Jason but for the Democrats in the state,” political strategist Tharon Johnson said. “I think that being within a basically statistical dead heat right now, that’s a really good place for a challenger to be against an incumbent.”

UPDATE: The Carter campaign posted video of Lori Geary’s report on WSB. At the end she says the poll shows more people identifying themselves as Democrats than Republicans. I find that hard to believe. So, is the sample off or is the future here for Georgia Democrats?

Mark Rountree April 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Thanks for posting the results and the link, Buzz. The question you raise about partisan self-identification is fair and has a pretty simple answer.

A very significant number of people referred to themselves “Independent”. In Georgia this is a response that often fluctuates for people who prefer an Independent label but still vote Republican. We often see the number of people identifying themselves as “Republican” rise as elections become closer on a calendar, while the number of self-identfied Independents falls.

More than 30% of respondents described themselves as Independent and in reality most of these folks vote behaviorally Republican: they favor Deal by 9% (Deal leads this group by 41-32%). Just 27% of Independents are undecided.

Buzz Brockway April 1, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Thanks Mark.

Bridget Cantrell April 2, 2014 at 11:32 am

Independent….women. While the Real.Deal. email showing the study “Georgia leads nation in growth of women-owned firms” was appreciated, I need more.

I can only speak for me but tend to have a good pulse on things.

We need more female appointments to get us to 50/50 in significant positions – Board of Regents, CID Boards, Committee Chairmanships…

Please take a more vested interest in my career options than my babymaker. Mama’s got a huge sales quota. I’ve solely paid my mortgage since I was 25. I’m more comfortable with financial spreadsheets, margin calculations, and engineering formulas than I am with couponing, home accessories, and soccer practice schedules.

I’m a typical Georgia voter who was born and raised in Cobb County – not a transplant. There are lots of women like me already here and more coming through the ranks. The Republican Party can either help us get to where we want to be or they watch. Either way… we’re going to change the political landscape.

Chris Huttman April 2, 2014 at 4:50 pm

You’re right there is a huge cultural element at play. Many suburban voters are Republicans the same way they are Georgia football fans – it’s cultural. Just something you do. They aren’t against gay marriage or many of the conservative values issues like their parents or grandparents might have been. Factor that into Grandpa Deal and Corporate Raider David Perdue, vs two younger energetic candidates on the Democratic side. Jason Carter tweets about his kids, Georgia football, BBQ and the Atlanta Braves. Sound familiar? Michelle Nunn has a very impressive story to tell about the charity she built.

The general anti-D atmosphere may be enough that the Republican wins this year, but does anybody believe that in a year more like 2008 Carter and Nunn wouldn’t have an oustanding chance?

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 2, 2014 at 6:13 pm

I agree that Carter and Nunn likely might have had a shot at performing better in a year like 2008 (though remember that in a red state like Georgia, the anti-Obama vote was even stronger and more overwhelming than the pro-Obama vote in 2008, which was pretty strong).

But this is not 2008. This is 2014 where Obamacare is highly-unpopular with a Georgia electorate dominated by Conservative and Libertarian voters who don’t like government overreach and where Obama himself continues to sink in the polls and take most Democrats with him, particularly in Conservative states like Georgia.

In a year like this where Democrats are poised to take a beating nationally (particularly in Red states), Carter and Nunn (and the struggling Georgia Democratic Party) will do very well if they can break the 45% barrier, something that is extremely rare for Georgia Democrats these days.

Chris Huttman April 3, 2014 at 12:24 am

So rare that Barack Obama (who according to you is highly unpopular) exceeded the mark less than two years ago?

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 3, 2014 at 1:10 am

Yes, Obama is extremely-unpopular within the nearly 55% of the Georgia electorate that voted against him in 2012.

And, yes, Obama exceeded the 45% mark in Georgia in the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections, garnering 46.9% of the vote in 2008 and 45.48% of the vote in 2012.

But outside of Presidential elections, Democrats have exceeded the 45% mark only twice in statewide races since 2002.

…Which is why I said that breaking the 45% mark in statewide races was extremely rare for Georgia Democrats these days and did not say that it was a total non-occurrence.

Chris Huttman April 4, 2014 at 12:56 am

Thurbert Baker, Tommy Irvin, Michael Thurmond all got re-elected. I believe (just without looking it up) David Burgess got more than 45% (before losing in a runoff) as did Jim Powell – who actually got more votes than his opponent. Jim Martin probably also got more than 45%, but like I said, not looking it up.

It’s true that Democrats up to this point have had a hard time getting to 50%, but it will eventually happen. The only people who think it won’t are using the same logic of the Democrats pre 2002 who thought they’d never lose.

Robin Wheeler April 3, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Does the Real Deal even get how dissatisfied GOP voters are with him???

Chris Huttman April 2, 2014 at 4:55 pm

It always amuses me when people criticize a properly weighted poll of the Georgia electorate that shows Georgia voters identifying as Democrats more than Republicans or close to it. How do they think Democrats are getting on average about 45% of the vote if the state is overwhelmingly Republican. Go to Idaho or Wyoming if you want to see what it looks like when there is a huge Republican advantage.

Simple math exercise…nearly 40% of the state is non-white, and 30% of the state is African American, heavily Democratic with almost no one identifying as a Republican in that group.

So just right there, you start out with like 30% D and 0% R. Now switch to white voters, we know something like 1/5 of them always vote for the Democrats, and most of them identify as such, so add another 10% to the D column. You’re at 40% Democratic ID. Only 50% of the state is left – most of them are Republicans, almost all of them have typically voted Republican but not all identify as such. If 70% of whites are Republicans, that gets you also to 40%.

It is really not that hard people.

Will Durant April 1, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Who has spent the most advertising with WSB to this point? The 3 Senate race’s polls commissioned by the tv stations all showed Perdue and Kingston at the top. Coincidence? Impetus for Deal to open the lid on that big war chest and send some WSB’s way? ‘Tis the season for broadcasters.

Charlie April 1, 2014 at 9:03 pm

The difference is Kingston and Perdue are running in a hotly contested primary for a runoff spot. While Deal will likely be lower in his primary that most incumbents would want, that’s the nature of incumbency in the GOP these days (see Gingrey and Westmoreland 2012).

Deal is running a general election strategy, and should be (especially based on the above poll). Money spent on primary ads now only muddles the message. It helps him win bigger in a primary he’s going to win, but may turn off those he’ll need to be targeting between June and November.

Mark Rountree April 1, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Will, thanks for the question. WSBTV is simply reporting the exact information we give them. They just want to accurately report what’s happening with the public and don’t force any particular wording or responses. They have been a client of ours (Landmark) since 2012 and have never guided responses or questions, other than to generally request public opinion on a topic.

Will Durant April 1, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Didn’t mean to impugn anyone’s integrity Mark. It’s just with Georgia politics I’m almost always suspicious and really have no clear understanding on how modern polling is conducted with diminishing land lines, etc. I’ve supported statisticians in the work environment in the past but that was with credit data that on a macro was so hardened it was bulletproof. Too many variables in your line of work for me.

My reaction was more on the Senate Primary race where we went for months of meaningless straw polls for the most part where Kingston and Perdue were near the bottom. They start advertising on tv, we get 3 back to back to back polls commissioned by tv stations and each shows them 1 & 2. Is television that effective?

Stefan April 2, 2014 at 12:10 am

Yes. Everyone keeps saying the internet will supplant television in politics but it hasn’t happened yet.

saltycracker April 2, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Internet might replace the phone- maybe we need a poll to list the most annoying political robo tool:

1. Phone
2. E-mail
3. Text
4. Tweet

Guess “tool” leaves the door open for Stefan to nominate a PP poster.

NoTeabagging April 2, 2014 at 7:12 pm

My answer, of course , is phone robocalls. Our relentless consultants assault phone numbers with no regard for decency.
Multiple calls until the poor sap answers… done.
Hide Caller ID name and number… done.
Spoof caller ID number with an out of state or disconnected number… done.
Fail to provide identity of caller or a callback number…done.
Fail to register ADAD equipment with PSC … Done.
Refuse to keep “Do not call lists” for political parties or candidates…done.
Refuse to use national “Do Not Call lists” or “Political Do Not Call lists” registries…done.
Special place in Hell for political consultants…done.

Robin Wheeler April 3, 2014 at 9:36 pm

+10

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 1, 2014 at 10:49 pm

I agree with Eric Tanenblatt that Jason Carter has a bright future as I’m sure that State Senator Carter will have a wonderful career in the private sector.

As for the poll, it’s entirely too early to attempt to predict the outcome of a November election with a poll stacked full of Democrats who live inside of I-285.

To hear Democrats tell it, Georgia is a blue state, Jason Carter will win going away in November and the GOP will never again win another statewide election in Georgia.

Though, with Georgia Democrats holding no statewide offices and not having won a statewide election (and not even garnering more than 45% in a statewide election outside of Presidential contests) in about 8 years, we all know otherwise…

If Jason Carter (and Michelle Nunn) and the Democrats can avoid being embarrassed in a landslide in November, they will have done exceedingly well for themselves.

But make no mistake, with the 2-ton anvil that is ObamaCare around their necks, Democrats WILL definitely struggle to avoid being embarrassed in November, both here in Georgia and nationwide.

Harry April 1, 2014 at 10:58 pm

<4% of Georgia is ITP. The toughest competition for young Carter and Nunn are their own selves. They don't pass the smell test with most people.

Stefan April 2, 2014 at 12:19 am

1) I assure you both of them smell fine.
2) Your statistics are, not surprisingly, entirely wrong. About 880k live within the perimeter. Georgia’s population is just north of 9 million, so it’s much closer to 10% then 4%.

Harry April 2, 2014 at 10:35 am

It’s closer to 8%. The point is, there is an annoyance OTP to ITP and vice versa. These two with their nepotism and overall air of entitled liberalism are not going to relate to OTP.

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 2, 2014 at 12:40 am

Carter and Nunn don’t pass the smell test with Georgia voters simply because they are two Inside-the-Perimeter uber-liberals who claim to be “Conservative Democrats”, something that just simply does not exist anymore in the state of Georgia and throughout much of the Southeastern U.S. That’s because all of the Conservative Democrats are now either Republicans or Independents.

Carter lives in and represents one of the most liberal state legislative districts in the entire Southeastern U.S. while Nunn is a Democrat from the very left-leaning City of Atlanta.

Georgia voters can clearly see that what Carter and Nunn are claiming to be does not match up with the reality of what they really are. Carter and Nunn can both claim to be “NRA Democrats” or whatever other type of misleading nonsense they will spew, but at the end of the day both of them will still be two liberal Democrats with Inside-the-Perimeter addresses. That’s what they always have been and that’s what they always will be no matter how much they lie about it.

Stefan April 2, 2014 at 1:07 am

I assume you mean they won’t pass the smell test. Your point earlier was that they are polling too high because it is early. If they have already failed the smell test, as you suggest, the only ones with such olfactory sensitivity seem to be the Republicans who were never going to vote for them anyway.

Perhaps I am being too aware of the difference between present and future, but I’d suggest you aren’t paying close enough attention to the difference, both in verb tense and in polling.

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 2, 2014 at 1:51 am

Well, since you’re a Democrat that seems to think that Carter and Nunn will not pass the smell test with Georgia voters in November, I cannot disagree with you.

Dr. Monica Henson April 1, 2014 at 11:57 pm

TLDIG nails it.

Stefan April 2, 2014 at 12:26 am

El Dig,

If the election were right now, I’d agree with you to a degree about Obamacare. If the election is about that, they will struggle. But Jason and Michelle can both say, “look, I wouldn’t have voted for it with all that stuff in it, but not dropping people from their insurance when they get sick is a good thing. Covering preexisting conditions is a good thing. Covering basic health care is a good thing.” It is entirely possible that opposition to Obamacare will have subsided somewhat among independents by November. I haven’t seen the cross-tabs in this poll, or looked at it in any depth, but if the state were as red as you suggest, Deal wouldn’t be struggling to crack 43%.

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 2, 2014 at 1:42 am

Those are good points about insurance companies no longer being allowed to drop people when they get sick and no longer being allowed to deny coverage to people with existing conditions.

But the overwhelming unpopularity of the individual mandate and public anger over people being unable to sign up on the Obamacare website and people being dropped from their insurance due to other Obamacare mandates will likely trump whatever positive things that may have come from the law.

Obamacare has basically been a huge gift from the Democrats to a Republican party that admittedly is not the perfect picture of mental health these days and is prone to having some Barney Fife-type moments (shooting themselves in the foot) at key times.

Also, Georgia is a very red state, arguably one of the absolute reddest states in the union. But being that red (or bright red as some say) does not necessarily mean that Georgia is red as in Republican, but red as in culturally Conservative and Conservative Libertarian.

Aside from the Channel 2 poll being likely being stacked with Democratic voters, a major reason why Governor Deal may have only polled at 43% is likely because of a lack of firm support from Conservatives and Libertarians, most of whom vote Republican even though they may not necessarily like Republicans.

Though those Conservative and Libertarian voters dislike Democrats (whom they regard to be too liberal) much more than they dislike Republicans (whom they regard not to be Conservative and/or Libertarian enough), those Conservative and Libertarian voters will almost always vote Republican because they regard the GOP as being the much-lesser of two great evils.

John Konop April 2, 2014 at 7:27 am

I agree with your well thought out comment. I wonder if Governor Deal proposed decrimalizing maurajana and using the tax revanue for infastructure, and law enforcement savings toward budget…in a general election proposal…that would reach the libertarian leaning, fiscal conservatives……? I think Deal will win anyways….but this would give him a large margin……I really do not think it would hurt his base vote….the Clinton strategy of triangulation…..

Chris Huttman April 2, 2014 at 4:36 pm

1. Why do we assume that people who would be subject to the mandate penalty vote? Most adults do not vote – so I’m going to guess people who have health insurance (and thus won’t ever pay the mandate even if they find it objectionable) are probably more likely to be voters than those who don’t. I may be wrong, but I don’t see a lot of millionaires sitting around in Galt’s Gulch cursing the IRS because they went without health insurance. Many of the people who would be subject to the mandate who might actually vote probably would be on Medicaid (and thus not paying the penalty) had Georgia expanded.

2. If you’re angry about not being able to sign up on the website (which after a delay seems to mostly be fixed – they did hit their overall enrollment goal afterall), why would you reward the party that wants to get rid of said website/benefit that is the reason you’re on the website in the first place. Doesn’t compute.

3. People being dropped – maybe I know the wrong type of people but in person I know many more people from all walks of life who have benefited from either guaranteed issue or subsidies. I don’t think I know a single person who had their old plan cancelled. I’ve read about them in the news, and with extremely limited exceptions, their math typically doesn’t add up. Which gets me to…

4. The real political danger of Obamacare is as Donald Rumsfield would say the unknown unknowns. For everyone who had rate shock or a plan cancelled, there is probably someone else benefiting from a subsidy and saving money or getting insurance for the first time. The winners know who they are, the losers know who they are. The real problem with Obamacare politically for Democrats is the fear factor – seniors on Medicare, people on corporate plans, etc, who have not really been affected by Obamacare but fear (sometimes rationally but oftentimes irrationally baited on by Republicans) how it could affect them. If someone gets a cancellation notice, I can tell them to go to Humana and see how much a compliant plan would cost, or see if they qualify for a subsidy etc. The harm can be quantified – if it exists. If someone is irrationally scared about how Obamacare could one day change their life, well there’s not much bargaining to be had with that person.

The long term problem with a strategy based on exploiting fear is that it has a half life, though we don’t know how long it is right now. People’s fear will subside if they aren’t affected, or they’ll adjust and move on to something else. Eventually, Democrats who want to fix Obamacare will have the upper hand politically over Republicans who merely want to use scaremongering tactics against it without any real alternatives. Will this day be here before the November election? I do not know. Will it eventually be here? Yes. Would Republican rather win the Senate, not deliver any actual positive change with their new majority and usher in 8 years of Hillary? Probably.

John Konop April 2, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Chris,

In all due respect I disagree. The real issue is people want Cadillac health care at the cost of a Yugo. Both sides keep promising something that is impossible. Until people understand healthcare is a resource and we can only afford so much…..this will be a political football….the day of reckoned is soon…..The truth is we need to make major cuts…some less painful like dial a doc, living wills, VA drug pricing for all…..others more……It is what it is….

Chris Huttman April 2, 2014 at 5:01 pm

I’m just saying that for the most part, the average Americans is untouched so far by the ACA. The debate is completely theoretical. Sure everyone wants great health care and for the most part people that have healthcare in this country who aren’t sick think it is great – so the fear that it will change and change means worse is alive and present.

Similar to how taxes don’t have to be raised for people to fear what that would mean for them. At least with taxes you can say I haven’t raised them or I raised them by X and people can calculate what it actually means. When you start getting into death panels or losing your doctor or whatever, no one really knows what that will mean to them until it happens, which for most people will be never. Voters aren’t always rational.

John Konop April 2, 2014 at 5:06 pm

In reality must people are not happy with their healthcare policy unless they work for the government in some cases….People like their doctors in general, but hate the system….

The system is not sustainable…..and when you start making tough calls….both sides scream death panels or killing grandma….

Chris Huttman April 2, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Most people on a large corporate plan who are happy with their healthcare and aren’t sick would probably rather have the money as salary if they had their druthers, but if that was the case (and btw this is largely what Republicans want) corporate provided healthcare as we know it (the kind people like but are naive about the costs) would cease to exist as we know it.

Most people in the old individual market are happy because they were able to be individually rated and get in the market to begin with. And if they got sick their plan likely covered them which was great for them, unless the plan ended up with too many sick people and self-terminated.

People outside the individual market run from healthy enough to easily be individually rated but still too poor to afford it to not healthy and won’t be offered a policy at any price and all points in between. And then on an opposite axis healthy, wealthy, but don’t want to pay (rare) to sick, poor and showing up at the ER.

If I had my druthers, I’d extend the subsidies from 300% FPL to infinity – some of these plans are just too expensive because they’re trying to mimic the corporate plans, and I’d balance it out by taxing the insurance companies and higher taxes for the wealthy instead of forcing everyone over 400% FPL to shoulder the costs for the unlucky ones who used to be uninsured.

Still not sure what the feasible Republican alternative that could actually pass is though.

Mark Rountree April 2, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Last Demo: thanks for the post above. Just to be clear: the poll was not stacked with Democratic voters, as you wrote above. Self-described Republicans make up 34% of voters in Georgia, self-described Democrats made up 35% and self-described Independents made up 30% (numbers rounded).

Most Independents in Georgia are essentially disaffected Republicans. They can be disaffected for many reasons (some see them as too conservative, some see them as too liberal or not confrontational enough against the Democrats, some are Ron Paul-style voters, some are libertarians, etc). But the Independents normally lean Republican in Georgia.

We will likely see a reduction in the number of self-described Independents as well as a generally corresponding rise in GOP identification in the fall as partisanship and campaigns heat up. By election time it would be normal (though not guaranteed, obviously) to see more people calling themselves Republican than Democrat.

Chris Huttman April 2, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Sure that’s possible – the numbers will still be close and without independents (who may lean one way or another or mostly one way for various reasons) neither party will be at a majority. When you have an actual majority of people calling themselves a Republican or a Democrat you typically have Idaho or Massachussetts – not a Georgia/Virginia type “swing” state.

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 2, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Virginia, with a Democratic governor, 2 Democratic U.S. Senators and having been narrowly won by Obama in both 2008 and 2012, is a swing state.

Georgia, with Republicans in control of all statewide offices, a Republican supermajority in its state legislature, and with no Democrats having won a statewide office in 8 years, is NOT a swing state.

The demographics obviously say that Georgia could likely be a swing state, but only with a robust state Democratic party, something that currently does not exist in Georgia and has not existed in Georgia since at least around the turn-of-the-century.

Chris Huttman April 3, 2014 at 12:29 am

So let me get this straight – Democrats win every office in Virginia over the last 8 years except for one cycle they had Republicans elected and they are a “swing” state.

We have all Republicans and we’re not? OK. BTW – supermajority in the legislature based on gerrymandering is great and all but last time I checked districts don’t vote for Governor.

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 3, 2014 at 3:49 am

“So let me get this straight – Democrats win every office in Virginia over the last 8 years except for one cycle they had Republicans elected and they are a “swing” state.”

You got it.

With the GOP holding a 68-seat supermajority in the 100-seat Virginia State House of Delegates and 20 of the 40 seats of the Virginia State Senate and with Republicans still having a legitimate shot at winning almost all of those statewide races they lost (including the 2013 VA Gubernatorial Race which the GOP only lost by 2.6 percentage points), Virginia is a swing state because most statewide races can go either way in that state in most years.

“We have all Republicans and we’re not? OK.”

You are correct.

In Georgia, Democrats hold a superminority of seats in both houses of the state legislature, have won only one statewide race in the past 12 years and have won no statewide races in 8 years. In Georgia, Democrats have had no truly legitimate shot at winning a statewide race in 8 years, even in closer races where they were not dominated or embarrassed.

A state (like Georgia) cannot be considered a swing state if it is completely dominated by one political party for more than a decade.

For any state to be considered a swing state, statewide races have to be competitive for both parties on a consistent basis, not just have a possibility of being competitive at sometime within the next decade or so while one party continues to be ultra-dominant.

“BTW – supermajority in the legislature based on gerrymandering is great and all but last time I checked districts don’t vote for Governor.”

Mr. Huttman, you know how the political game is played. You know that whichever party in charge gets to draw up the legislative maps to their political advantage. Just like Georgia Democrats drew up the legislative maps to their political advantage at the overwhelming expense of Georgia Republicans for over 130 years.

Besides, it doesn’t matter that districts don’t vote for Governor because there are just simply more non-Democrat (Republican, Conservative, Libertarian) voters than Democrat voters in the state at this point in time.

Chris Huttman April 4, 2014 at 1:02 am

Yeah but by your logic Georgia wasn’t a swing state in like 1992 because Democrats had pretty much every statewide seat and huge majorities in the legislature. I hate to break it to you but huge majorities in a legislature are typically a characteristic of who was able to win in the past, not the future. I point you to Virginia again, Republicans have a huge majority in the state house because they got to draw the maps after a very good election year for them – but on the statewide level they’ve lost 3 Senate elections in a row and even against a very flawed nominee couldn’t gain a single statewide seat.

We may have to just agree to disagree. Multiple polls show close races – in the BEST year for Republicans in decades in 2010, Georgia Republican candidates averaged 53%. Do they have an advantage? Sure, but if the national environment produced another year like 2006 or 2008, does anyone not think the Democrats would be in serious contention to win? That’s the definition of a swing state. No matter how good the national environment gets, Vermont is not electing a Republican to the Senate and Wyoming is not electing a Democrat. Either party could win in Georgia with a good wind behind their backs.

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 4, 2014 at 6:07 am

Mr. Huttman, those are good points about Virginia. Though one important difference between Virginia and Georgia is that the state Democratic Party is very-strong, if not robust, while the state Democratic Party in Georgia has been teetering on the brink of extinction during much of the past decade or so.

Democratic candidates can win statewide races on a consistent basis in Virginia because the state Democratic Party has the resources and the organization to get out their vote while winning over moderates and Independents in competitive races. The state Democratic Party in Georgia has neither the resources nor the organization to get out their vote on a consistent basis and has not had the resources and the organization to get out their vote while appealing to moderates and Independents for about 15 years or so.

There are also fewer moderate voters in Georgia than there are in Virginia and the Independent voters in Georgia appear to be much more conservative than in Virginia, meaning that the Independent voters in GA almost always vote Republican.

You also have a good point that (if they had a robust organization) GA Democrats could be in a better position to contend in a year like ’06 or ’08 that was highly-favorable to Democrats. But 2014 is not a year that is or will be favorable to Democrats. 2014 is a year that will likely be extremely toxic to Democrats, particularly in red states like Georgia.

It is also difficult to agree that “either party could win in Georgia with a good wind behind their backs” when the last 12 years have been particularly extremely difficult for Democrats in Georgia. The demographics say that Georgia could very-likely become a swing state in the future, but with one party completely dominating the state’s political scene for more than a decade, Georgia is clearly not a swing state at present.

Nor is the state guaranteed to become a swing state just off of demographic changes alone. Even with the state’s demographics rapidly changing in favor of the Democrats, Democrats will still need a viable, active and robust state party organization, something that just simply does not exist for Georgia Democrats at present.

If Hillary Clinton decides to run for the Presidency and runs a successful campaign, there is a good possibility that Georgia could potentially become a swing state, but ONLY if Hillary Clinton runs and ONLY if Hillary Clinton runs a successful campaign. Something which at this point in time is still a pretty high bar for Georgia Democrats until they prove that they can clear that bar, something which they have not been able to do with certainty since around the turn-of-the-century.

Dave Bearse April 3, 2014 at 12:40 am

What is your objective definition of a landslide, so that we’ll know what you think is exceedingly well?

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 3, 2014 at 1:52 am

Generally, a landslide is a margin of about 10 points or more between the winning and losing candidates. Though, a landslide could be as a margin that is as little as 8 points (or even 6 points) between the winning and losing candidates depending on the size of the electorate, the situation, etc.

Considering where Georgia Democrats have been over the last decade or so, if Carter and Nunn can avoid losing by double digits in a non-Presidential Election statewide race, it’ll mean that Georgia Democrats will have made some very-meaningful progress in moving the party in the right direction in an extremely-hostile and toxic political environment in Georgia.

If Carter and Nunn can get the party to 45% in a non-Presidential election year, it will help set up Georgia Democrats to better compete in future election years in ’16, ’18, ’20, etc. Something which will be key in helping the party to recruit voters as the state’s demographics continue to evolve in favor of the Democrats.

The importance of getting 45% of the vote in two statewide races in the same election cycle in an extremely-hostile and very-toxic political environment cannot be understated for a Georgia Democratic Party that has struggled mightily to survive and flirted with extinction in recent years.

Chris Huttman April 4, 2014 at 1:14 am

By your own standard apparently not. Jim Martin and Jim Powell both exceeded 45% in 2008. Hodges lost by less than double digits four years ago. Obama and Oppenheimer both lost by less than double digits in 2012.

Why is 45% so important anyway? Guy Millner didn’t get 45% of the vote in an extremely hostile and very toxic political environment in 1998 and Republicans swept into office four years later. Democrats in Virginia didn’t even get 40% in 2009 and swept into office 4 years later. In my time at the state party I saw many districts (going in both directions) where one party didn’t break 40% in one election cycle and was winning by 10%+ 2 years later.

You seem to like throwing out numbers so here are a few: Since 2010, the number of white registered voters in the state is down by more than 200,000. The number of non-white voters is up by more than 100,000.

You are correct in part of your thinking – Democrats can not win the Georgia of 2002, 2006 or 2010. The non conservative party won’t win in a state where white conservatives make up a majority of the electorate. That’s the point – Georgia doesn’t look like what it looked like in 2002 or even 2010. The state is changing – it is “Swinging” back in the direction of Democrats. Will it happen this November? Maybe not. Maybe the mood of the electorate will be such that Democrats lose and don’t get 45%. Does that have any bearing on future success? No.

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 4, 2014 at 6:40 am

Those are good points that Jim Martin and Jim Powell both exceeded 45% in 2008 and that Obama and Oppenheimer lost by less than double digits in 2012, but outside of Hodges losing by less than double digits four years ago, those statewide races where Democrats did not lose by more than double digits or in a landslide all took place in Presidential election years where Democratic voters turnout to the polls in their highest numbers in an otherwise staunchly conservative state like Georgia.

Outside of Presidential election years, Democratic voters don’t turnout in meaningful numbers in conservative states like Georgia, largely because of the lack of a strong Democratic Party apparatus to motivate those voters to go out to the polls when a Barack Obama is not on the ballot.

Another important question for Democrats to ask is whether the current demographic makeup of the Georgia electorate yet mirrors the changing demographic makeup of the Georgia population? The answer to which appears to be that the state’s electorate is still overwhelmingly dominated by conservative white voters, though likely somewhat less so than in years’ past.

It also appears that the Georgia electorate will likely continue to be dominated by conservative white voters for the foreseeable future (about the next decade or so), unless some kind of major course-changing event happens (…a major course-changing event like a successful Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in ’16 and/or the unlikely sudden appearance of a robust statewide organization for Georgia Democrats).

Noway April 2, 2014 at 8:16 am

As usual, we have way too many smart folks commenting here. I think it can be much more simple. My opinion: There will be endless commercials with Obama saying “if you like your doctor/insurance coverage you can keep them. Period….blah, blah, blah.” Then political guys like Mark (who commented above) will show the candidates’ face morphing into Obama’s like they did against Clinton in ’94. Just show the Dems to be the calculating liars they have been on this issue alone and the Repubs win.

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 2, 2014 at 4:23 pm

+1

Chris Huttman April 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Hope for your sake that the Democrats don’t find anyone between now and November who signed up for healthcare on the exchange and is now getting their newly discovered cancer treated. The odds are those people will start existing, with more popping up every day. Their stories may be a little easier to fact check than the Michigan lady’s.

Will Durant April 2, 2014 at 9:35 pm

When I was younger almost all of the Democrats in Georgia were variations of Pappy O’Daniel so I considered myself a Republican. The Republicans took over, many of the Pappy O’Daniels moved over, so now I consider myself an independent. I really don’t like party politics and wish we didn’t have them, but since we do, we need at least two or preferably 3 or 4 because the super majority thing just doesn’t leave us with enough people to point out those times when the emperor has no clothes.

NoTeabagging April 3, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Chris et al: Good Points.
My experience is healthy people with prior individual coverage saw plans dropped and rates rise.
People that never had insurance or doctors did get benefits.

A family member had a $10K deductible plan which was to be dropped, not grandfathered by a few months, but a last minute rule/bill passed can they keep it only for one year more.

New ACA approved plans force those to lower max deductibles. This penalizes people who have savings for emergencies and forces them into plans with double the cost of their current monthly premiums.

Not all doctors accept the ACA plans, so some people will be forced to change doctors if they switch to lower premium plans or subsidized plans. So much for keeping your doctor, if you have to take a plan that is affordable.

I nearly had to drop my current grandfathered plan in order to use accrued employment benefits, luckily I found a loophole. Not sure if my premiums will rise dramatically. the ACA approved plan premiums were double my current rate, with less benefits. The ACA plans are NOT affordable.

If people start seeing their plans dropped or dramatic premium increases before the November elections there will be an uproar.

Republicans are still just fighting ACA because it was a democratic proposal under a democrat president. They clearly show they have no interest in taking all the public comments and doing something constructive to change the law. That requires work. Much easier just to attack it wholesale and never bother to understand the law or the effects it is having on real people.

I’ve found representative from both parties really do not understand the law or its effects on people with insurance. I had not received good response to my letters of concern with legislators of either persuasion.

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 3, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Good comments.

Chris Huttman April 4, 2014 at 1:20 am

You’re correct. A functioning Republican party would have put up more of a stink when regulations were being written which set benefit levels. I think many people would have been happy to get plans similar to what existed in the old market but with subsidies to help pay for them. Liberals pushed for more comprehensive plans which are more expensive.

But since Republicans seem to only be able to plug their ears and shout about repeal, in a fair reading of history they don’t have much standing to stand around and say I told you so. I like to say if you live in a Republican state that refuses to expand Medicaid and refuses to engage and stand up for their own beliefs when it comes to regulation (as Georgia’s Republican party has refused to allow its leaders to actually lead on health reform) all you’re doing is ensuring that you get the worst possible version of Obamacare. It’s amazing to think that 7 years ago Judson Hill was trying to pass his own version of it here, that 3 years ago a bill was dropped to create an exchange, that just last year Ralph Hudgens was making noise about wanting to do his job and regulate, and all of that is history thanks to the selective amnesia of the ruling party in this state. And the only people that are suffering are the voters and taxpayers.

Comments on this entry are closed.