RRH Poll (sponsored by Decision Desk HQ): Ossoff 39% Handel 15% Gray 12% in GA06

A little over a week ago, we saw that Red Racing Horses was trying to raise enough funds to conduct a poll in Georgia’s hotly contested Congressional contest. Public surveys have been rather scarce, with most releases having been sponsored by partisan sites or political organizations. We’ve whined in the past about a lack of more data points for special elections, so we decided to do something about it, and jumped in to help sponsor their work. For a full disclosure on their methodology and script, please contact them directly (a brief summary of their sample size, margin of error, and field dates is in italics at the end of this post).

Overall, the RRH poll finds Jon Ossoff in the lead with 39% of the vote, and a demolition derby of Republicans competing for second place in an assumed runoff: Karen Handel has 15%, Bob Gray 12%, Dan Moody 11%, and Judson Hill 10%. They also surveyed another Democrat, Ron Slotin, who earned 4% overall in the poll, and David Abroms, a Republican being backed by Evan McMullin, who earned 3%. Bruce Levell (R) was also surveyed but earned 0%. Combining the share all Democratic candidates and Republicans candidates earned, the Republicans lead slightly with 51% to 43%.

If you are looking for a referendum on President Donald Trump, here’s your district: he sports a 46% approve/ 46% disapprove on his performance as President. Among those who disapprove, Ossoff crushes the rest of the field with 86% of the vote. Among those who approve, it’s all bunched up: Handel earns 24% of these voters, Gray 23%, Hill 21%, and Moody 19%.

One of the biggest unknowns in this contest is the ratio of early voters to all voters. Per RRH, 28% of likely voters had already cast ballots through the end of the survey (April 10th), when the State of Georgia had reported a total of 26,717 votes banked. If their poll is correct, then we are looking at a total turnout of over 95,000 voters. We’re anticipating a higher tally, in the 110-130,000 vote range. If the overall vote is indeed lower, then early voting will account for the lion’s share of the overall ballots to be cast. As of yesterday, over 39,000 early votes were reported by the state, and residents can continue to turn out early today and tomorrow. Among the early voters, Jon Ossoff is the clear favorite per RRH:

Early Voters

  • Jon Ossoff (D) 50%
  • Ron Slotin (D) 6%
  • All Democrats surveyed 56%
  • Karen Handel (R) 13%
  • Dan Moody (R) 13%
  • Judson Hill (R) 7%
  • Bob Gray (R) 6%
  • David Abroms (R) 3%
  • All Republicans surveyed 42%
  • Undecided (RRH categorized this as “other” since the surveyed voters picked “already voted”): 4%

Nate Cohn of the New York Times has been analyzing the day-by-day early turnout, with his current overall estimate at 44% Democratic, 40% Republican. Even if the recent surge in Republican participation continues through Friday, Jon Ossoff will finish well ahead of the pack in the early count, perhaps exceeding 50% when those votes are reported. Among those left to vote?

Not Yet Voted

  • Ossoff (D) 35%
  • Handel (R) 16%
  • Gray (R) 15%
  • Hill (R) 11%
  • Moody (R) 10%
  • Slotin (D) 1%
  • Abroms (R) 1%
  • Undecided 7%

Republicans remain divided on who to back, and this is their Party’s blessing and curse going into Election Day. Ossoff is barely clearing a third of the remaining vote with much of the rest divided in a battle royal between four Republican hopefuls. If these voters stay engaged and do eventually show up, they’ll prevent Ossoff from clearing 50% Tuesday. If they aren’t as eager, things get hairy and Ossoff’s first round win odds improve greatly.

RRH Findings Compared to Other Georgia 6 Polls

The survey of 321 Likely Voters was conducted from April 5-10, 2017 using both an IVR automated phone survey (220 voters) and an online survey (101 voters) and has a margin of error of 5%. All survey design and data analysis is the responsibility of RRH Elections; funding was provided by their readership and co-sponsorship by Decision Desk HQ. For comments or questions on the poll, please email them at rrhelections@gmail.com or visit their website directly.