WSB TV just released the results of a new Landmark Communications poll that has the Senate race in a virtual tie, with David Perdue having 47.4% of the vote and Michelle Nunn 46.6%. Amanda Swafford has 2.7%, and 313% are undecided.

In the Governor’s race, Nathan Deal leads Jason Carter 47.5% to 46.1%. Andrew Hunt has 3.5% of the vote, and 2.9% are undecided.

The poll of 1500 likely voters has a margin of error of 2.5%, which means both of the top ticket races are statistically tied. The poll’s sample is 55% female, and the African American percentage is 29.3%, ratios that Landmark President Mark Rountree has consistently stated he believes will be close to the final turnout percentages. You can view the results and crosstabs here.

In both races, around 28% of white voters favor the Democratic candidate, which would fall short of the estimated 30% needed for a Democratic win.

In down ballot races, Casey Cagle leads Connie Stokes 53%-42%. In the State School Superintendent’s race, Richard Woods holds a small lead over Valarie Wilson, 47.2%-46.5%, with 6.3% undecided. Brian Kemp is barely over the 50% mark against Doreen Carter in the Secretary of State race, 51.0 to 42.8%.

Commenting on the poll results, Rountree said,

Both Governor Deal and David Perdue have earned a slight lead in our poll going into the final weekend. Both have improved their polling numbers throughout the fall. With undecided voters removed from the equation, both are within striking distance of a majority — yet so are their opponents, who slightly trail them.

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Earlier this afternoon, I took part in a Google Hangout hosted by the Cato Institute on Tesla Motors and disruptive technologies that have entered the marketplace. Below are my prepared remarks — and, yes, I write them out because I have a terrible memory — as well as the video of the event. The Hangout was hosted by Cato’s Rebecca Bernbach. Andrew Moylan of the R Street Institute and Peter Van Doren of the Cato Institute spoke at length about the regulatory issues Tesla and other innovative technologies that have gained popularity.

Regulatory battles over disruptive technologies have slowly made their way to Georgia. Earlier this year, for example, legislation was introduced at the behest of the antiquated taxicab industry that would have driven ridesharing services, such as Uber and Lyft, out of the state. There was a significant amount of backlash that forced the measure’s House Republican sponsor to agree to a much less restrictive substitute in committee, though it never went to the floor for a vote.

Though this regulatory battle stalled out, at least for now, the legal battle between the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association and Tesla is one that could be one of the more interesting to watch in the 2015 legislation session, which begins on January 12 and is expected to run through late March or early April.
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Common Core was a common theme during the Republican primary for the School Superintendent’s race. Richard Woods pulled out a narrow victory utilizing a staunch anti-common core message. We now have an opportunity to see how his stance plays out with the general public as he faces up against Democrat Valarie Wilson, a strong proponent of common core.

Wilson has not backed down on her support of Common Core throughout her campaign. She also is not afraid to let the General Assembly know her feelings about the possible negative repercussions of replacing Common Core standards. From her campaign website:

The Common Core is a set of strong standards that will help our students to compete in the global labor market. Legislators’ efforts to replace these evidence-based standards with home-grown guidelines will hurt our students and could contribute to an exodus of educators from the public system.

Wilson sent out an email today to further support her position on Common Core and to address some of the issues often raised against it:

I’ve been across this state talking to educators, members of the military, university leaders and business executives, and what I’ve heard from them is to please stay the course with Common Core. Common Core standards are designed such that they are rigorous and teach our children to think critically and problem solve and are important factors in preparing our children for success in today’s global economy.

The problem, however, isn’t necessarily the standards, it’s been the implementation and the lack of support for teachers who have been tasked with teaching yet another set of standards. In this resource-challenged time, it’s difficult for districts to provide the professional development that educators need around implementation – this is a big issue, which is why we must restore funding that’s been cut over the years.

Additionally, the support for parents hasn’t been there, so there’s a fear that they can’t help their children with their homework. School districts must open their doors and invite parents in. We have to provide parents with the necessary support and tools so that they can help their children succeed in all subjects

That’s where the Department of Education comes in – we need to bring our educators to the table to be part of the development process so they can better implement the standards. We also need to be that resource for families; we must help them help their children.

Many political pundits see Wilson as the strongest opportunity for the Democrats to take a statewide office from the Republicans. Will her views on Common Core ultimately help or hurt her campaign? We may find out Tuesday.

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Elbert Guillory is a State Senator from Louisiana who wowed many conservatives by releasing a video last year called “Why I am a Republican.” In an apparent attempt to counteract some of the Democratic Party’s appeals to African Americans this election cycle, he has cut a number of videos for GOP candidates, including this one, which attacks Michelle Nunn:

Meanwhile some, Like the Washington Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson think Guillory’s move is a bad idea that will have the undesired effect of alienating black voters.

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Ah, the things you do when you’re days away from an election.  Like, you know, after you’ve spent over a year running as a “businessman” as your credential, but then decide the Chamber of Commerce has to be your enemy.  Well, maybe they decided that when they endorsed the other guy, but anyway….

Rick Allen – Businessman, has decided the US Chamber of Commerce is an evil pro-amnesty group.  From his press release:

Pro-Amnesty, Pro-Stimulus Group Enters Fray for Friend Barrow

– U.S. Chamber Fights for Barrow’s Continued Corporate Welfare Largesse –

AUGUSTA, GA – The U.S. Chamber entered the ad war today becoming the latest Washington Group to try and save John Barrow’s flailing campaign for a 6th term in Congress.  The Chamber is fighting for a continuation of corporate welfare plans supported by Barrow.

“John Barrow is a trial lawyer and professional politician who has never created a job in his life but that’s just fine with the Chamber which wants more taxpayer handouts and amnesty for illegal immigrants and sees a fellow traveler in John Barrow,” said Allen spokesman Dan McLagan. “While Congressman Barrow runs an attack ad lying about Rick’s immigration stance, he has accepted $250,000 from the U.S. Chamber which is an outspoken proponent of amnesty. Which side of the immigration issue is Congressman Barrow on?”

So….vote for the businessman who hates the organization of business people.  Or something.

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Dr. Bullock on the Midterms

October 30, 2014 13:36 pm

by Jon Richards · 0 comments

Dr. Charles Bullock is the Richard B. Russell Professor of Political Science at UGA. Wednesday evening, he spoke about the midterm elections to a group of College Republicans.

Reviewing the situation nationwide, he was able to point out many reasons why Republicans should do well this year. He cited some statistical realities, including the fact that the President’s party typically loses six Senate seats in the sixth year of a presidency, which is what the GOP needs to take the Senate. he pointed out the fact that Democrats have more seats to defend this cycle than Republicans do.

He also cited the mood of the country. Support for President Obama is at low levels, with his approval by women and younger voters less than what it had been in the past. Most people say the country is on the wrong track. While four years ago Obamacare drove voters to the polls, this year it’s the economy that is driving the public policy debate.

Other factors influencing the midterms include the ground game. While the ground game played a big role in the 2008 and 2012 elections for President Obama, it didn’t here in Georgia, where the parties are trying to catch up. Between the party and superPACs, Democrats generally have more money than the Republicans. Countering that are some better qualified Republican candidates, especially when compared to some Tea Party candidates in previous years that were unable to win a general election. While the President’s approval rating is low, the approval rating of the political parties–Democrats at 39% and Republicans at 33%–and an even lower approval rating of Congress in general will also affect the election

Against this background, he talked about the situation here in Georgia. Bullock notes that the Democratic strategy was laid bare when the Nunn campaign had a “Snowden moment” as a campaign strategy memo was leaked. Part of the Democrats’ overall strategy was to register and mobilize minority voters, but in Bullock’s opinion, that effort fell short of what was needed to guarantee wins. As a result, Nunn’s campaign is targeting white single women.
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Once again, whether Georgia voters have to endure a runoff over Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s will be up to a small group of voters who describe themselves as “Libertarian.” My firm partnered with Hicks Evaluation Group to poll folks who have already voted. (Nothing to disclose, really, as neither of us has a client in any of the races listed.) The full release is below the fold, but here’s the gist of what we found:

  • Support for Libertarian candidates is far smaller than previous polling has indicated
  • Democratic nominee Valarie Wilson is the best positioned Democrat to defeat a Republican on November 4th.
  • Carter is outperforming Nunn among African Americans. Nunn is outperforming Carter among women
  • Efforts by Perdue to reduce the “Gender Gap” among women (and widen it among men) appear to be working
  • Deal performs best with voters age 65 and over.

Release below. Release with Crosstabs available at this link.

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The results of the 2012 election show Republicans dominated most of the Peach State, with the exception of the major cities, and along the 'Black Belt" that runs along the fall line.  Credit: Real Clear Politics

The results of the 2012 election show Republicans dominated most of the Peach State, with the exception of the major cities, and along the ‘Black Belt” that runs along the fall line. Credit: Real Clear Politics

Over at Real Clear Politics, Sean Trende takes a close look at how Georgia’s politics have changed over the last century, moving from a mostly solid Democratic state to becoming more Republican in the 1990s to a period of GOP dominance in the 2000s.

Trende’s examination of Georgia politics takes into account both geography and demographic change. As an example, he notes that until whites south of the Fall Line flipped from Democratic to Republican in the early 2000s, Democratic candidates still dominated under the Gold Dome.

That brings us to 2014, and the closely fought battle between the parties in the Senate and Governor’s races. For all the discussion on the impact of the declining percentage of white voters, Trende points out that a bigger factor may be the increasing number of voters of ‘Unknown Race.’

What I think we do know, however, is that the growth of the non-white electorate is probably overstated. In nominal terms, the white share of registered voters is down 4.6 percent from 2008, 3.7 percent from 2010, and 1.1 percent from 2012.

What’s odd, however, is that the black vote is perfectly stable, at 30 percent. The Asian share is up 0.2 percent since 2008, from 1.2 percent to 1.4 percent. The Hispanic share is up 0.4 percent, from 1.4 percent to 1.8 percent. The “other” share is stable.

The change in the electorate is almost entirely due to the “unknown” vote. Who are the “unknowns”? To be honest, we don’t know! “Unknown” means the question is left blank. If someone marks two races, they are categorized as “other.”

While it’s easy to assume (as some have done in comments on other posts here) that voters of unknown race are likely to be minorities, and therefore likely Democratic votes, Trende’s analysis shows that many may in fact be rural whites. And he postulates that an increase in the rural white vote could be a boost for Michelle Nunn in a runoff:

If Nunn makes it to a runoff as the result of a strong showing among white voters, that strength could very well carry through to the runoff. It’s far too early to say what a runoff electorate looks like, and Nunn will have other problems besides minority turnout to deal with (the University of Georgia goes back into session the day before that election). But if Nunn is really performing better among rural whites due to Perdue’s status as a wealthy businessman who says favorable things about outsourcing, she might have a shot at upending the conventional wisdom in a runoff, and re-creating the coalition that enabled Democrats to win elections in the 1990s.

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The tax reform proposal known as the Fair Tax came up in Sunday night’s U.S. Senate debate. Republican David Perdue and Libertarian Amanda Swafford expressed support for the national sales tax proposal introduced in the Congress by Georgia Republican Rob Woodall of the 7th district.

Democrat Michelle Nunn expressed opposition to the plan saying it was “unfair.” Nunn also has a Fair Tax “fact check” page on her website.

Congressman Woodall issued this statement:

“It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Democrat in this race is critical of the only tax plan that shifts power away from Washington and back to Georgia. David Perdue wants create jobs, he wants to put more money in the pockets of middle class families, and most importantly, he wants to provide freedom for his neighbors from a burdensome and costly tax code, and he knows that the FairTax bill is the only bill that can accomplish these goals. I’m proud to have him as a partner on this issue, and I know a lot of other Georgians are as well.”

Georgians for Fair Taxation issued a press release saying they had tried to meet with Nunn but were unsuccessful:

Georgia For FairTax attempted on two different occasions to meet with Ms. Nunn during the course of this campaign to make sure that she had good information with which to form her position on this vitally important issue. We have yet to even get the courtesy of a response. It is obvious that Ms. Nunn is getting information on the FairTax from unreliable sources. However, she refuses to hear our side. This does not speak well for a candidate who claims she is running to try and bridge the partisan divide and she intends to work with all sides in solving problems for the people of Georgia.

Neal Bootz weighed in from Hawaii to dispute Nunn’s statements about the Fair Tax and challenge her to a debate (wouldn’t that be fun?!?):

Now there’s not much time left before the vote next Tuesday. I’m out of town. In fact — rather far away in Hawaii. As I type these notes I can hear the surf crashing on the waves below. But I do have a working telephone – and I make this challenge to Michelle Nunn. You chose the venue. You chose the radio talk show – the news program – the press conference – and you allow me to patch in by telephone so that you and I can debate the FairTax. Think you can handle that Michelle? Think you could survive in that debate without your Democrat/Obama talking points?Let’s give it a try.

You people know how to reach me.

The full press release from Georgians For Fair Taxation is below the fold. [click to continue…]

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On this date in 1945, the U.S. government announced the end of shoe rationing. Woo!

Peaches

Jimmy Carter

Sweet Tea

Liberty Drum

 

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New Carter Ad: Georgia’s Ready

October 29, 2014 18:26 pm

by Will Kremer · 10 comments

With six days remaining, Jason Carter’s campaign released a new television ad this afternoon. The ad says that Georgia is ready for a new direction.

Here’s the transcript:

Georgia is ready, right now, for a new direction.

Georgia is ready to invest in its future, to protect its education system every year.

Georgia is ready to make sure that we’re not just letting special interests run our government.

Georgia is ready to have a strong middle class.

If we can harness that energy that we felt all across this state—from Dalton to Brunswick to Savannah to Columbus and everywhere in between—we will have that bright future.

Georgia will be leading the way again.

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In what could be considered a sign of concern over the possible outcome of the November elections, the College Republican National Committee extended the GOTV campaign it announced in August to eight additional states, including Georgia. The other states are Massachusetts, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Maryland, Kansas, Minnesota, and Virginia.

Designed to reach millennials under age 25 and to get them to vote for the GOP candidates, the campaign features two sets of ads. One, entitles Shark Vote, which plays off the Shark Tank TV series. The other is College CSI, which echoes the popular CBS TV series. Both sets of ads will be shown over the Internet on channels such as Hulu.

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Breaking now, but an investigation set off by a report from WSB’s Justin Gray will be moving forward in the U.S. House Ethics Committee.  The questions at hand are whether Congressman Broun used taxpayer funded Congressional Staff for his Senate Campaign activities.  This goes beyond Broun’s history of franking the heck out of his district, and to whether or not the fees paid to campaign consultants who were or became staff members crossed a legal and ethical line.

The findings of the committee, who voted 6-0 to proceed, can be found here.   The cover page is printed after the jump: [click to continue…]

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A new shocking poll from Monmouth University Polling might have been the biggest news of the morning had the NCAA not released their ruling on Todd Gurley’s eligibility. The poll found David Perdue leading Michelle Nunn by 8 points, 49-41, with Governor Nathan Deal leading Senator Jason Carter by 6 points, 48-42.

However, diving into the polls’ sample will likely make Democrats breathe easier and Republicans not smile quite as wide. Responding to questions on Twitter, pollster Patrick Murray shared the racial makeup of his poll’s 436 person sample (the smallest used so far this cycle in Georgia): 25% African-American, dramatically lower than 2010 turnout and the 29-30% that most other polls are now using.

Emory’s Dr. Alan Abramowitz had some critiques, too.

When comparing the poll’s age sample to Georgia’s 2010 turnout, the contrast is very apparent. Seniors, which predominantly cast Republican ballots in Georgia, make up an especially high percent of the electorate, while younger voters are under-sampled.

If it turns out that the electorate has taken a sharp turn towards an older crowd than the 2010 GOP wave election, with depressed African-American turnout, Democrats are definitely in trouble. However, I don’t think anyone, regardless of political affiliation in Georgia, would be willing to wager on that.

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Georgians often complain about traffic and road conditions, yet we complain more when a solution is offered. I find that those who stomp their feet and cross their arms whenever a solution is offered are the same people who never come up with solutions themselves. The voters of Forsyth County have the chance to approve a bond that the county desperately needs to accommodate its rapid growth.

Residents can point their fingers at a multitude of people when dishing out blame for the county’s dismal traffic problem. This is the time to end the blame-game and push forward a solution. The roads that need improvement the most are on the Georgia Department of Transportation’s backburner or not on their radar at all. Voters can take the matter into their own hands and expand the county’s most traveled roads.

In the simplest of terms, if the voters approve the bond, Forsyth County would be allowed to borrow up to $200 million at incredibly low interest rates to expand roads and alleviate traffic. There is a collaborative effort between Forsyth County and the Georgia Department of Transportation to fund the road projects. An $81,000,000 commitment from Forsyth County would be matched with $93,000,000 in state and federal funding. In essence, Forsyth County residents have the potential to get a $293 million investment while spending $200 million in local investment. Forsyth County created a map with the proposed road projects.

For a house valued at $250,000, this bond would add approximately $10 a month to property taxes. It’s a small price to pay to expand GA-400 within a few years. If this bond is voted down, GA-400 will not see expansion until 2030 at the earliest. Not to mention the state roads that experience heavy flows of traffic such as SR 371 and SR 369 would not see construction for years to come.

Transportation solutions are far and few between in Georgia; it would be a shame for the voters in Forsyth County to turn down a solution that promises a better future.

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