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.

[click to continue…]

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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 Boortz 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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With less than a week before the election, the Georgia Senate race is getting more national attention. This morning, a profile of the Perdue campaign from The Hill highlights the GOP candidate’s experience with outsourcing, and the Nunn campaign’s use of the contents of a deposition made during the time of the Pillowtex bankruptcy. In that deposition, Perdue admitted he was proud of outsourcing.

The outsourcing remarks and Perdue’s attempt to defend his record are not new news, especially for those who follow the race closely. The new element in the Hill story is the concern expressed by some GOP insiders over the campaign, and the need to defend it.

Perdue won a hard-fought, crowded primary last summer by framing himself as a political outsider and job creator. Even his allies admit the Democratic attacks have undercut one of his campaign’s main arguments: that he knows how to help grow the economy.

“He was a great businessman, and some things sometimes that businesspeople are involved in are not necessarily the most popular things with the citizens in this country,” Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett told The Hill following a GOP unity rally in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta on Friday evening. “That doesn’t mean that they’re not good candidates, but they have a job to do, and their job is to make sure the company they represent makes money.”

Privately, many Republicans are frustrated with Perdue’s campaign, worried he could cost them the seat.

One high-ranking Georgia Republican said that at a recent golf charity event, many in the party were complaining about having to support Perdue.

“I have never heard people say the following, and these are Republicans: ‘I have never felt more disgusted about who to vote for than this year,’ ” the GOP official said.

Discuss.

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Why I Support Jason Carter

October 29, 2014 8:30 am

by Stefan · 48 comments

The following is a guest post from Representative Stacey Evans (D- Smyrna). Evans is credited with crafting a bipartisan effort to increase access to HOPE Grants for technical colleges.

Yesterday Rep. Ed Lindsey posted his support for Governor Deal. Many chuckled at the lack of newsworthiness of a Republican legislator supporting a Republican governor.  And no doubt there are chuckles as now a Democratic legislator tells you why she supports the Democratic nominee. But I want to share with you why—party and politics aside—Jason has demonstrated the character and leadership I think we’d all like to see in our State’s chief executive.

HOPE drives me. Growing up, my mother—usually single, oftentimes fleeing hardscrabble men—shuffled my brother and me from rental trailer to rental house and back again just this side of the Tennessee border. College tuition was unthinkable or at least unreachable for us. The promise of HOPE allowed me opportunities beyond the paneling that separated my room from my mom’s. So when cuts to HOPE reared as the first major issue on the 2011 General Assembly’s calendar, I shuttered. To think that 18-year-old me may have missed UGA had I graduated high school after Deal’s cuts was humbling—and horrifying. No games between the Hedges, no law review at UGA, no wedding at the Chapel.

Deal altered HOPE so that only those students with a 3.7 GPA and 1200 SAT score would qualify for full tuition (Zell Miller Scholars). That wouldn’t have included me (I had the GPA, but not the SAT score). Jason urged the Governor to reconsider, noting that these criteria would exclude numerous students, most in rural counties. He offered a counter to Deal’s proposal: award Zell Miller Scholarships to the top 3% of students in every Georgia high school. Deal refused. Eventually though, he cratered and permitted the top 2 individuals from each high school to receive full tuition under HOPE. This change would not have happened without Jason.  Few know that. Without him, Deal would have gutted the lifeblood—and salvation—of countless rural kids yearning to be their family’s first college graduate, like myself.  Jason pushed the idea for the good of the State, not his resume.

The pattern repeated in 2011. In that year, Deal inserted a GPA requirement into the HOPE Grant for the first time, which now precluded technical-college students from receiving full coverage. The year Deal’s cuts took effect, 40,000 students—comprising 25% of the technical- college enrollment—fled Georgia’s technical colleges (more would continue to leave in the years to come). The loss of these students hurt Georgia’s efforts to close the skills gap. Jason and I introduced parallel legislation to reverse the cuts to the HOPE Grant. We urged Governor Deal to support our cause. Not only did he refuse, he questioned its relevance. Only after leaders in the Chamber of Commerce and Republicans buoyed the legislation did the Governor pivot toward us. He however conditioned his support on a self-serving notion: Jason Carter would get no credit. Jason acquiesced. Again, Jason elevated the state’s interests over his own.

Governor Deal still refuses to acknowledge the problem his draconian cuts to HOPE engendered. He credits an economic upswing as the culprit behind the enrollment plunge in technical schools. But two mutually exclusive facts belie that argument. First, unemployment has spiked, not dipped—Georgia now ranks dead last in state unemployment rate. Second, the rate of students leaving our technical colleges exceeded the rate of job growth by 350%. If students were dropping out of school to accept jobs, as Deal asserts, the rate of unemployment would have plunged. Further, work that requires technical skills, like welding, remain vacant in overwhelming numbers.

I visited 5 technical colleges in Georgia and talked to people from many others when I was crafting legislation with Senator Carter on HOPE. Everyone uttered the same message: help was needed. Nobody at those schools—not TCSG leaders, not campus leaders, not instructors, not financial-aid officers, not students—urged us to cease our pleas in the General Assembly.  No one told me that not to worry. Instead, and at every turn, I was told the problem was larger and more noxious than anticipated.

The now 45,000 students who fled our technical colleges since 2011 are real. The over 350,000 people who comprise the 7.9% unemployment rate are real. The over 130,000 vacant jobs that could be filled by qualified people are real. But as per Deal’s cuts, Georgia is woefully short on educational resources and job training. It’s a sad day when Georgia has to look to Florida for skilled labor. Yet that’s the reality.

We need a Governor who will stand up for these Georgians. And we deserve a leader who will elevate people over credit; solutions over politics; Georgia over Florida. We need Jason Carter.

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More Early Voting Data

October 29, 2014 8:00 am

by Buzz Brockway · 40 comments

Two bits of information about early voting for your consideration.

First an analysis of Sunday’s voting by Landmark Communications, forwarded by Mark Rountree:

Eleven counties enabled early voting on Sunday October 26, 2014. Because these eleven counties generally have historically been more Democratic, many analysts assumed that this would create a large potential windfall of additional voters for Democratic candidates.

Once compiled, 12,708 voters were listed as having voted on Sunday.

Based on current polling conducted by Landmark Communications as well as based on election results from demographics groups in previous election, it is our analysis that Sunday voting resulted in approximately 5,500 net additional statewide votes for Democrats than Republicans.

However, many of these voters would have also likely voted on Tuesday, meaning that the large majority of these Democratic net votes are simply the result of “Robbing Peter to Pay Paul.”

Our conclusion is that, unless a statewide election is decided by around 1,000 votes, then Sunday voting will not have been decisive.

  # Votes % Votes
White 3,351 26.39%
Black 8,461 66.53%
Unknown 618 4.89%
Hispanic 111 0.88%
Other Race 84 0.66%
Asian 78 0.62%
Indian 5 0.04%

Georgia Early VotingSecond comes this cool map sent to us by Erick Erickson and produced by L2 VoterMapping.

Georgia Early Voting as of 10/28/14 – 412,807 (9.5% of Registered Voters)

  # Votes % Votes
Republican 197,711 47.9%
Non-Partisan 56,479 13.7%
Democrat 158,617 38.4%

Discuss.

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Morning Reads–There Goes Honey Boo-Boo

October 29, 2014 7:09 am

by Ed · 6 comments

How will the world function without the broadcast exploits of Mama June? We’re unfortunately about to find out. 

Chick Corea & Bobby McFerrin “Autumn Leaves” 

  1. Experts: Georgia State on par with Harvard. 
  2. GA Bar Admissions: GSU better than Emory. 
  3. Deal’s unanswered questions from ethics investigation. 
  4. Maybe Chris is right? Why you shouldn’t trust #GASen, four other states’ polls.
  5. Caught in ongoing labor dispute, MARTA’s CEO makes almost as much as NYC’s MTA chair. ATU not happy. 
  6. Mark Butler likes the jobs outlook for GA. 
  7. 411 on 311 for 404. 
  8. Eight arrested protesting in SoS office. 
  9. 96 million pounds of blueberries came from our soil; and now we’re getting pomegranates.
  10. The Elite of Buckhead’s WASPy elite are caught in a multi-billion-dollar family feud. 
  11. Dear the Elite of Buckhead’s elite: I’ll still accept membership into your rarefied air.

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Fulton County Superior Court Judge Christopher Brasher declined to order any remedies in the “missing voter” lawsuit brought by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. That group had filed the suit against Secretary of State Brian Kemp and five Georgia counties, claiming that some 50,000 voter registration applications had been submitted but not processed. Two of the counties, Chatham and DeKalb reached a separate agreement with the committee, which left Clayton, Fulton and Muscogee counties as defendants.

While the group was hoping for remedies including the hiring of additional staff to process applications, the judge wasn’t sure what more could be done. According to the AJC,

“What does the law require that they haven’t done?” Brasher asked during the hearing. “That’s what I’m a bit fuzzy about here.”

It seems like this may bring an end to the ongoing controversy that started in September after the New Georgia Project submitted thousands of registration applications and Secretary Kemp subpoenaed the group as part of an investigation into fraudulent applications.

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The bugaboo of electronic voting machines has been with us since the 2000 election. Security flaws that would cause an election’s results to be called into question has been documented in the laboratory, but I have yet to hear of a definitive case in our state where the validity of an election is called into question due to the tampering of our direct-record electronic (DRE) voting machines. If someone has a documented case that has been presented before a county’s board of elections or the secretary of state’s office, please let me know.

A research team from Rice University in Austin, TX is tackling the problem or, as they phrase it, the “impending crisis” that will face elections officials: the replacement of aging DRE voter machines. From a presser issued by the University:

The quest to build STAR began three years ago when DeBeauvoir spoke at a voting technology conference and asked the academics at the conference to work with her office to create an e-voting system with security features that are lacking in today’s market. For example, most e-voting systems offer no method for conducting a meaningful recount because there are no physical records — like paper ballots — that can be tallied.

Wallach, a longtime advocate of paper ballot backups to e-voting systems, leaped at DeBeauvoir’s offer to help design a more secure e-voting alternative.

The team is hoping to have a functional system for wide-spread use by the time of the 2018 mid-term elections.

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