Cook Political Moves Georgia Governor’s Race to “Tossup”

August 29, 2014 14:45 pm

by Jon Richards · 16 comments

It may be Labor Day weekend, but with the general election just over two months away, the political analysts are still at work. Over at the Cook Political Report (subscription required), today gives us rating revisions for governor’s races in six states, including Georgia. The race between Nathan Deal and Jason Carter is now listed as a toss-up.

The new rating appears to have taken into consideration the recent Landmark / WSB poll, which showed Deal behind. Also cited are the continuing drumbeat of ethics complaints and other scandals.

Here’s the meat of the ratings change:

[T]his is not a state where one would expect a competitive gubernatorial race, but Democrats seem to be in a position to make it one…. National Democrats plan to put a lot of resources in the state on behalf of Senate nominee Michelle Nunn, and some of those efforts will also benefit Carter. Polling over the summer showed the race closing to within single digits. As a result, the race is now in the Toss Up column.

We’ve talked about how early polling doesn’t always affect what will happen in November. Beginning in September, non-political people traditionally start to pay attention. For the Deal campaign, it’s time to put up or shut up.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Huttman August 29, 2014 at 2:59 pm

If the D/R got the same % of the vote from white, black, hispanic and other voters that they got in 2010, instead of 43-53 it would now be 45-51.

Does anyone think Deal is stronger this year?

Chris Huttman August 29, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Race, 2010 Active Registration as of Election Day, 2014 Active Reg as of 8/1
Black: 1,470,160 – 1,509,639 (+39,479)
White: 3,110,274 – 2,959,124 (-151,150)
Hisp: 75,658 – 89,189 (+13,531)
Other/Unknown: 376,200 – 501,085 (+124,825)

Turnout rates in 2010:
Black: 50.4%
White: 55.9%
Hisp: 25.5%
Other: 32.9%

Estimated 2010 vote by race (it adds up)
Black: 95-3
White: 19-76
Hisp: 65-33
Other: 65-33

Bobloblaw August 29, 2014 at 7:40 pm

I never put my race down when I registered.

Chris Huttman August 30, 2014 at 2:38 pm

There are certainly a lot of people of all races newly registering who are declining to put race and end up in either the other or more likely unknown category. My research shows that only about 30% of them are white though.

Mark Rountree August 31, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Agreed, Chris. Our research shows similar information, maybe slightly higher white percentage than you show, but within the ballpark.

Chris Huttman August 29, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Not a lot of Deal defense. Maybe its the holiday weekend?

MikeS August 29, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Chris is correct in stating that if all things are equal, it will be a closer race. Plus, there are a lot more independent voters in the last two years than in the past. Most do not trust either party and while they are no friend to Obama in 2012, they are not automatic Republican voters either. IMHO both sides have yet to make a good case to these voters. If the Democrats win 1/3 of these undecided generally White voters the GOP will be in trouble. The primary saving grace for the GOP is that few of these voters regularly vote Democrat in a General. In my book it is too close to call.

Bobloblaw August 29, 2014 at 7:24 pm

It should be a closer race. Deal has ethics problems. Chris ascribes everything to demographics. I don’t think it will be 95-5 blacks for Carter.

Chris Huttman August 30, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Then you should accept my friendly wager about the # of precincts in DeKalb Carter gets more than 95% in (or 90% can’t remember).

And btw belated welcome to Southern politics. It has been all about demographics for 200 years.

Bobloblaw August 30, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Dekalb is Carter’s home. How many precincts will Deal get 95% in places like Hall or Fanin?

MikeS August 29, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Deal gets 10% black, but that has no real effect on the final numbers. Key is undecided whites and black turnout.

Chris Huttman August 30, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Definitely right about the keys, however I don’t see him getting 10% black. Maybe 6 or 7 (which would be double last time).

Bobloblaw August 30, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Im still waiting for the prediction of a Dem sweep of statewide offices. Afterall I cant believe that only the Gov and Sen races are toss ups but everything else safe GOP.

Mark Rountree August 31, 2014 at 6:36 pm

At this point the other races for statewide office are actually probably pretty safe for Republicans. Other than for PSC and Insurance Commissioner, Libertarians aren’t on the ballot to essentially create runoffs.

Our research has concluded that in previous elections voters who chose Libertarian voters were much more likely to vote for Republicans than Democrats (by 3-1 or 4-1) in a runoff.

Also in most races, the Republican incumbents will likely have better resources to spend on advertising. They also have a name recognition advantage against opponents who will likely have none (unlike in the top-tier races).

Bobloblaw September 1, 2014 at 9:43 am

But why?
If the the Senate and Govs race are likely Dem pickups and the reason is Demographics why aren’t the other offices in jeopardy? Will Deal/Perdue get 5-10% of the black voted but Olens will get 25%? How much ticket splitting will there be? Will the GOP lose a number of legislative seats? If you believe the landmark poll and Chris, why can’t the Dems sweep?

georgiahack September 1, 2014 at 11:07 am

Because most people don’t give a rats ass about the other races. No one really cares who gets elected the Commissioner of Insurance, Labor, Agriculture, etc (Just think of yourself who as such an astute political observer had to ask last week what PSC meant. Low information voters indeed.) Those races also don’t have the resources to put forth a real campaign that speaks effectively to voters. They may have a yard sign or a radio ad, but they will not have the money to run real communications.

If Jason and Michelle were in the same boat, with no money, then they too would be destined for a huge loss. But, they have done a good job of getting in the cash and therefore are competitive.

The demographic shifts are far from turning GA blue or even purple just yet. They are just enough that if a dem candidate has the resources and all the other stars align just right they have a chance. Would I bet money that Carter or Nunn win? No. But I would bet that the polls showing Deal getting 15% of the AA vote and that AA turnout is going to be 26% are wrong.