| Daily Data Point: The New GA-6 Poll – The Comey Effect?
by David Byler
In February, Tom Price left the U.S. House to become the secretary of Health and Human Services– and in so doing kicked off the most highly watched special election of the year. Price’s well-educated, suburban, historically Republican district pulled significantly to the left in 2016, and Democrats are hoping that a win in that district will signal that they have permanently converted some traditionally Republican voters.
And the latest poll of that race shows Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate, leading Republican Karen Handel, 47 percent-45 percent. The previous two non-partisan polls each showed Handel up by two – so what happened?
Part of the answer might be pure randomness. Polls have error attached to them, and multiple polls of a close, stable race can produce small leads for either candidate.
But President Trump has also made some moves that might scare off skeptical Republicans. The House recently passed a health-care bill that, according to the poll, only 33 percent of voters in the district favor. Additionally, it’s possible that the firing of FBI Director James Comey played a role. The poll was conducted from May 8-10, and Comey’s tenure ended right in the middle. Some voters who disliked Trump’s decision may have been contacted during the poll.
That being said, it’s important not to over-interpret one survey. The race is close, and further polling (as well as the final results) will give us more clues as to what the voters think.