By Jim Ellis
April 6, 2017 — As has been the case for the past few weeks, the GA-6 special election to replace Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price (R) has received the most attention of the five special elections currently in-cycle. Two more polls were just released, and the trend line pattern is beginning to stabilize.
Some are speculating that Democrat Jon Ossoff has a chance to win the seat outright on April 18, meaning garnering over 50 percent of the vote even though 18 candidates are on the ballot. Though all polling shows that Ossoff would finish first if the election were today, none find him within striking distance of the 50 percent threshold. Because the pollsters are not including all 18 names on their ballot test questions, for obvious reasons, the top candidates’ support is likely a bit over-stated.
The liberal organization, moveon.org, released a Lake Research poll (March 26-28; 350 likely GA-6 special election voters) that posts Ossoff at 40 percent, far ahead of Republican and former Secretary of State Karen Handel who registers 18 percent. State Sen. Judson Hill (R), former state Sen. Dan Moody (R), and businessman and local city councilman Bob Gray (R) all follow with 8, 7, and 7 percent, respectively. Combining the listed Democrats and Republicans, the Ds would maintain a bare 42-40 percent edge.
If Ossoff and Handel advance to the run-off, as this poll suggests, the two would tie at 45 percent according to the Lake Research data. These numbers are all very similar to the Opinion Savvy poll results conducted for Fox5 Atlanta last week.
Survey USA (March 27-April 2; 900 GA-6 registered voters including 503 who report voting early or will vote prior to the April 18 election) also went into the field and they, too, report similar conclusions, at least concerning Ossoff and Handel. Here, S-USA finds Ossoff at 43 percent with Handel getting 15 percent, while businessman Gray touches 14 percent.
There has been a great deal of disparity pertaining to the Handel’s Republican opponents’ strength. The final two weeks of this special election will prove interesting. While Ossoff has not solidified the district, in contrast to what some national and local news reports suggest, he has become a consensus Democratic candidate. Therefore, such will likely allow Ossoff to place first in the jungle primary since Republicans will divide their votes among four credible candidates.