An interesting if brief week thanks to the holiday down in this Atlanta suburban battleground. First, in-person early voting began Tuesday, and per the New York Times’ Nate Cohn, the early vote overall is more Republican* than it was during the first round of voting. This shouldn’t come as a shock: Republican voters had to pick from a dozen candidates back in April, and many made up their minds in the last minute. Now, the options are Karen Handel or Jon Ossoff. What also shouldn’t surprise anyone is the volume of votes: over 25,000 mail-ins have been requested, 8,000 of them already mailed back. The total early vote now stands at 32,990 cast, well on its way to exceeding the total early vote cast in April by Monday or Tuesday of next week. We are very likely to see most of the vote cast early, like we saw in Montana last month.
A review of voter registration figures since the March 20th deadline revealed almost 8,000 now eligible voters for the runoff. While a big surge, the number since the ruling that enabled voters to register until mid-May- announced on the 4th of last month, total just over 2,000 per the Secretary of State’s office. The district is one of the fastest growing in the nation, so it’s unclear if that overall figure is attributable to either candidate’s campaign efforts, or to the general phenomenon of growth we’ve seen over the past year. That smaller, since-ruling figure is not insignificant, though, so if the winning margin in June falls within a few hundred votes, it would be hard to dismiss local registration efforts.
Lastly, WSB-TV released a poll yesterday conducted by Landmark that found Jon Ossoff leading Karen Handel 49.1% to 47.6%. The poll finds a dramatic divide in the vote, with Handel dominating voters over 65 years of age, Ossoff winning non-seniors, and Ossoff dominating Handel among the under 40 seat. This marks about a half-point drop for Handel and a two-and-a-half point increase for Ossoff since the last such poll, conducted a month ago. The first debate between the candidates will be held on Tuesday.