Tag Archives: Georgia

Georgia Runoffs Underway Today

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 5, 2021 — At long last, the 2020 US Senate election cycle will end today, and the determination of which party will hold the chamber’s majority for the next two years will likely become known late tonight.

To recap, Sen. David Perdue (R) and documentary filmmaker Jon Ossoff (D) battle for the in-cycle seat with the winner being awarded a six-year term. The special election winner, the race between appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) and Rev. Raphael Warnock (D), will serve the final two years of the term that resigned Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) won back in 2016. The seat will be in-cycle for the full six-year term in 2022.

The 2020 regular election outcome, current polling, and the early/mail voting count all suggest very close results to unfold this evening.

To re-cap:

2020 Regular Election Tallies – Nov 3, 2020

Seat A
Sen. David Perdue (R) 2,462,617 49.73%
Jon Ossoff (D) 2,374,519 47.95%
Shane Hazel (Lib) 115,039 2.32%
Total Cast 4,952,175
Seat B
Raphael Warnock (D) 1,617,035 32.90%
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) 1,273,214 25.91%
18 Others (D/R/I) 2,024,112 41.19%
Total Votes
Total R Vote 2,426,120 49.37%
Total D Vote 2,377,712 48.38%
Total I Vote 110,529 2.25%
Total Cast 4,914,361

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Georgia Senate Races Unfold

(Sen. David Perdue Ad)

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 9, 2020 — We are over halfway into the Georgia US Senate runoff campaigns that will decide the national legislative body’s majority and it is clear that political prime time will determine the winners. Election Day is now less than a month away and the start of early voting begins next Monday, Dec. 14.

Setting the political table, the Republicans have a slight advantage coming from both Nov. 3 elections. GOP Sen. David Perdue (see ad above) placed ahead of Democrat Jon Ossoff (see ad below) by 88,098 votes but came up a quarter of a percentage point shy of obtaining the majority support necessary to win. In the 20-candidate field for the special election, when adding all of the Republican candidates and comparing that tabulation to the Democratic aggregate, we see the GOP holding a 47,808 vote edge.

(Jon Ossoff Ad)

The combined Georgia Senate runoff elections are sure to set a spending record once the campaigns end on January 5th. Already, according to the AdImpact marketing organization, as the Daily Kos Election site and Bloomberg Government reports, over $300 million has been spent since the beginning of these runoff campaigns.

(Raphael Warnock Ad)

A total of $170 million has been expended in the special election campaign, for example. Between the two candidates, Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock (see ad above) has outspent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler (see ad below), $60 million to $45 million, but outside groups supporting the appointed incumbent have more than made up the difference, outlaying $53 million as compared to $13 million from left-of-center organizations.

(Sen. Kelly Loeffler Ad)

Democrats have run approximately 42,000 commercials as compared to the Republicans’ 33,500 during the runoff period even though the latter party and its allies have spent more. Because the right-of-center organizations have dominated the non-candidate spending, and the cost to run such ads is greater than for an individual candidate’s committee, the monetary imbalance is thus explained.

Polling predictably shows a close race with virtually every study finding all four contenders within the polling margin of error, as a listing of the latest post-November 3rd election surveys reveal:

Senate – A

Trafalgar Group (Dec. 1-3; 1,083 likely voters)

• Jon Ossoff (D) 48%
• Sen. David Perdue (R) 47%

Survey USA (Nov. 27-30; 583 likely voters)

• Jon Ossoff (D) 50%
• Sen. David Perdue (R) 48%

RMG Research (Nov. 19-24; 1,377 likely voters)

• Jon Ossoff (D) 48%
• Sen. David Perdue (R) 47%

Insider Advantage (Nov. 16; 800 likely voters)

• Jon Ossoff (D) 49%
• Sen. David Perdue (R) 49%

Remington Research Group (Nov. 8-9; 1,450 likely voters)

• Sen. David Perdue (R) 50%
• Jon Ossoff (D) 46%

Senate – B – Special Election

Trafalgar Group (Dec. 1-3; 1,083 likely voters)

• Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) 50%
• Raphael Warnock (D) 45%

Survey USA (Nov. 27-30; 583 likely voters)

• Raphael Warnock (D) 52%
• Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) 45%

RMG Research (Nov. 19-24; 1,377 likely voters)

• Raphael Warnock (D) 48%
• Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) 46%

Insider Advantage (Nov. 16; 800 likely voters)

• Raphael Warnock (D) 49%
• Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) 48%

V-Creek/AMG (Nov. 10; 300 likely voters)

• Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) 50%
• Raphael Warnock (D) 46%

Remington Research Group (Nov. 8-9; 1,450 likely voters)

• Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) 49%
• Raphael Warnock (D) 48%

The campaign messages are also well defined. Sen. Perdue continues to emphasize the national negative themes that appeared to work well for the GOP in the down ballot races: socialism, defunding the police, packing the US Supreme Court, raising taxes, and illegal immigrant voting.

Ossoff has been concentrating his ad messages on COVID and what he claims are Perdue and President Trump’s failures in handling the issue. His latest ad linked below features film of former President Barack Obama at a rally for the Democratic candidate, along with Ossoff’s wife, Dr. Alisha Kramer, who is a physician.

Turning to the special election, the Loeffler and Warnock campaigns have been trading attacks, counterattacks, and defensive messages.

Rev. Warnock hits Sen. Loeffler on her controversial stock transactions, while she responds with an aggressive hit about him being an extremist who calls the police “thugs” and once invited Fidel Castro to speak at a church where Rev. Warnock was an assistant pastor. Warnock responds with the linked ad that shows him walking his dog and disposes of the animal’s excrement in a reference to characterizing the Loeffler attacks.

In the end, the races will come down to which side can better deliver its base votes to the polls. Turnout will be robust but certainly well under the 4.952 million people who originally voted in the Perdue-Ossoff campaign, the larger turnout figure from the two Senate contests.

At this point, the races’ conclusion is uncertain, but Republicans should still have at least a slight advantage heading into early voting period and the election itself. Such a premise is based upon past voting history even in this politically changing state, and the original vote margins recorded on Nov. 3.

The Early Vote Predictor

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 3, 2020 — While it became clear that the plethora of polling data published during the 2020 election cycle again proved to be a poor predictor of eventual campaign outcome in most states, another resource was discovered that might be the more reliable prognosticator.

The states releasing early voting numbers before the election – not the actual election results, of course, but the numbers of Democrats, Republicans, and Unaffiliated voters who had returned their ballots – provided the opportunity of charting possible race outcomes. As a predictor, the early voting numbers, largely because they are actual votes and not extrapolations and estimates as found in polling, look to be a more reliable gauge.

Let’s examine the results in the key battleground states and compare them to both the 2020 and 2016 early voting numbers as compiled by the Target Smart organization. Target Smart monitored, categorized, and published the early ballot return numbers throughout the acceptance period in every state that publicly released such data. Unfortunately, for purposes of our exercise, the Georgia 2020 numbers are among the states not currently available.

In Arizona, we see a difference in the 2016 and 2020 early vote numbers that indicated a small shift in the voting patterns. Detecting that Democratic early vote participation had increased several points from four years ago while Republicans were down slightly did prove indicative in relation to the final Arizona result that yielded an official 10,457 vote Biden victory.

In Florida, we see the Democratic early vote numbers dropping slightly. This is a bit surprising in that 2020 featured a record voter turnout. The fact that Republicans gained a bit in the swing was a predictor of President Trump’s stronger performance in the Sunshine State as compared to the result from four years previous.

As we can see from the Michigan numbers, Democrats increased their early voting participation while Republicans saw a decrease. Unaffiliated voters substantially increased. Considering the final result, it is apparent that most of the Unaffiliateds voted Democratic in the presidential contest.

The North Carolina early vote numbers gave us our first clear indication that the pollsters were mis-casting the state’s electorate. The clear indication that Democrats were missing their marks in early voting while Republicans were exceeding their expectations was the first indication that the final vote would produce a different result than the plethora of polls were suggesting.

Pennsylvania featured drastic changes in not only the partisan early vote pattern, but also in volume as early voting increased by more than twelve-fold in comparison to 2016. The stark difference in Democratic versus Republican participation levels did forecast a swing to the former party, though the final totals were not as drastically different as the early voting yields.

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Analyzing the Patterns

By Jim Ellis

President Trump | via Flickr

Dec. 2, 2020 — Now that election results are being certified around the country, we can begin to analyze the numbers in an attempt to detect what voting patterns developed throughout the electorate.

In looking at the presidential state-by-state totals from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, we can begin to see that President Trump fell below his previous vote marks not only in places like Arizona, Georgia, and the Great Lakes region, but in several other places, as well. This, despite seeing over 10.5 million more people voting for him in 2020 when comparing his totals from those recorded four years ago.

In a total of 18 states, Trump dropped below his 2016 performance rate, including eight places that he carried in both 2016 and 2020. In all eight, however, his drop-off rate was less than one-half percentage point.

Conversely, in 32 states, he exceeded his 2016 performance mark and surprisingly so in such left of center states as California (+2.7 percent), Hawaii (+4.9 percent), Nevada (+2.2 percent), New Mexico (+3.5 percent), New York (+5.6 percent), and Washington (+2.2 percent). Mind you, he came nowhere near carrying any of these states, with the exception of Nevada, but the president did record slight improvement when compared with his 2016 vote performance.

The state where Trump outperformed his 2016 total by the most is Utah (12.6 percent), but that is largely because there was no strong Independent or significant minor party candidate on the ballot in the 2020 election. Four years ago, Independent Evan McMullen did well in Utah, attracting 21.5 percent of the Beehive State vote thus allowing Trump to carry the state with only a plurality of 45.5 percent. In 2020, his victory percentage improved to 58.1 percent.

One of the key reasons former vice president Joe Biden won the election is because he increased Democratic performance over Hillary Clinton’s 2016 vote totals in every state but New York. This allowed him to tip the balance away from President Trump in the critical states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, those states the latter man carried in 2016 but were lost to Biden in this current election.

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Presidential Polling Report – Part II

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 30, 2020 — Last week, we covered the cumulative polling community’s 2020 accuracy in the Great Lakes region (scroll down below), and today we look at how their predictions fared in President Trump’s five core states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. If the President had been able to carry all five states, and he has now officially failed in Arizona and Georgia, he would have only needed to win one of the battleground state bordering a Great Lake to secure re-election.

In each place, we take the five publicly released polls conducted closest to the election and analyze whether the cumulative and individual survey research firms came close to the final result or missed beyond the polling margin of error.


Arizona

Canvassing is not yet complete in Arizona, but it appears Mr. Biden scored a 49.4 to 49.1% victory, a margin of just 10,457 votes. Carrying Arizona was the first conversion step for Mr. Biden to win the national election.

The final five pollsters were the NBC News/Marist College; CNBC/Change Research; Reuters/Ipsos, Emerson College, and Rasmussen Reports. Here, NBC/Marist came the closest, predicting the two candidates landing in virtually a dead heat. All five, however, were within the polling margin of error, though Rasmussen Reports did call the winner wrong, predicting President Trump would carry the state by four percentage points.

Arizona – Biden 0.3 percent

NBC News/Marist 10/29 – 11/1 717 LV 48 48 Tie
CNBC/Change Research 10/29 – 11/1 409 LV 50 47 Biden +3
Reuters/Ipsos 10/27 – 11/1 610 LV 49 47 Biden +2
Emerson 10/29 – 31 732 LV 48 46 Biden +2
Rasmussen Reports 10/27 – 29 800 LV 45 49 Trump +4

Florida

Cumulative polling predictions again projected a close Democratic win during most of the late election cycle only to see, for the fourth consecutive time in a major Florida statewide race, the Republican candidate reversing the trend and clinching a close win. The latest Florida data was much closer to the mark as three of the final five pollsters correctly forecast a win for President Trump.

The Trafalgar Group proved the closest with their Trump +2 final projection. CNBC/Change Research missed by the most, a six-plus point swing from their Biden +3 prediction to a Trump +3.3 final result.

The final five Sunshine State pollsters were: Fox 35/Insider Advantage; the Trafalgar Group; CNBC/Change Research; Susquehanna Polling & Research; and Rasmussen Reports.

Florida – Trump 3.3 percent

FOX 35/Insider Adv 11/2 400 LV 47 48 Tie Trump +1
Trafalgar Group 10/31 – 11/2 1003 LV 47 49 Tie Trump +2
CNBC/Change Research 10/29 – 11/1 806 LV 51 49 Tie Biden +3
Susquehanna 10/29 – 11/1 400 LV 46 47 Tie Trump +1
Rasmussen Reports 10/29 – 31 800 LV 48 47 Tie Biden +1

Georgia

Just about everyone missed the final count in Georgia, though pollsters throughout the election cycle were clearly forecasting a close Peach State race that certainly ended in such a manner. With the race now certified, Biden won the state, 49.5 to 49.3 percent, a margin of just 12,670 votes.

The only pollster to correctly predict a Biden victory was Public Policy Polling, while the Trafalgar Group, despite being closest in Arizona, was furthest away in Georgia. The five pollsters were: WSB-TV/Landmark Communications; the Trafalgar Group; Insider Advantage; Emerson College; and Public Policy Polling.

Georgia – Biden 0.2 percent

WSB-TV/Landmark 11/1 500 LV 50 46 Trump +4
Trafalgar Group 10/31 – 11/2 1013 LV 50 45 Trump +5
Insider Advantage 11/1 500 LV 48 46 Trump +2
Emerson 10/29 – 31 749 LV 49 48 Trump +1
PPP 10/27 – 28 661 LV 46 48 Biden +2

North Carolina

North Carolina, being one of the quintessential swing states in the country, again produced a close race in 2020 as President Trump claimed the Tar Heel State with just a 1.3 percentage margin, 49.9 – 48.6 percent. Rasmussen Reports was again closest to the mark, as they were in Pennsylvania. Most of the polling throughout the entire election cycle, however, 57 of 85 published polls with eight ties, forecast Biden as holding a North Carolina lead.

The five final pollsters were: Insider Advantage; CNBC/Change Research; Emerson College; Reuters/Ipsos; and Rasmussen Reports. While RR was the closest, CNBC/Change Research was furthest away.

North Carolina – Trump 1.3 percent

Insider Advantage 10/30 – 31 450 LV 48 44 Trump +4
CNBC/Change Research 10/29 – 11/1 473 LV 47 49 Biden +2
Emerson 10/29 – 30 855 LV 47 47 Tie
Reuters/Ipsos 10/27 – 11/1 707 LV 48 49 Biden +1
Rasmussen Reports 10/28 – 29 800 LV 48 47 Trump +1

Texas

Media report after media report continued along the theme that the Lone Star State of Texas was in play for Biden but, in the end, Texas remained red and voted for President Trump in a 5.5 percentage spread, 52.0 – 46.5 percent, which was the closest major statewide race in nearly two decades.

At the end of the race, the pollsters were detecting a clear move toward President Trump largely because the oil and gas industry issues, so important to the Texas economy, became the focal point of attack throughout most of the campaign.

The University of Houston poll called the race almost exactly correct, while two academic institution pollsters, Emerson College and Quinnipiac University, were furthest away. The five pollsters were: Emerson College; University of Massachusetts at Lowell; Siena College/New York Times; Quinnipiac University; and the University of Houston.

Texas – Trump 5.5 percent

Emerson 10/29 – 31 763 LV 49 49 Tie
UMass Lowell 10/20 – 26 873 LV 48 47 Trump +1
Siena College/NYT 10/20 – 25 802 LV 47 43 Trump +4
Quinnipiac 10/16 – 19 1145 LV 47 47 Tie
University of Houston 10/13 – 20 1000 LV 50 45 Trump +5

ME-2

For the second time in two presidential elections, the 2nd Congressional District of Maine bucked the statewide trend and supported President Trump. Biden’s larger margin in the ME-1 CD allowed him to carry the statewide count, which earned him three of Maine’s four electoral votes.

As in the US Senate election in which the polling community missed the final result by the largest margin in the country, so too did they underestimate President Trump’s strength in northern Maine.

All five final pollsters forecast a Joe Biden victory in ME-2, but the end result was a substantial win for President Trump. Each missed well beyond the polling margin of error. The five polling firms were: Change Research; Emerson College; Survey USA; Colby College; and Pan Atlantic Research.

ME-2 – Trump 7.9 percent

Change Research 10/29 – 11/2 475 LV 47 46 Biden +1
Emerson College 10/29 – 31 301 LV 50 47 Biden +3
Survey USA 10/23 – 27 509 LV 48 45 Biden +3
Colby College 10/21 – 25 453 LV 46 42 Biden +4
Pan Atlantic Research 10/2 – 6 300 LV 47 43 Biden +4

Attack of the Attack Ads

(Sen. Perdue Ad)

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 17, 2020 — All four Georgia Senate runoff candidates are already hitting the airwaves with new messages that telegraph just where they want their campaigns to head in the final weeks of 2020 political overtime.

As you know, Sen. David Perdue (R) faces Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff for the in-cycle six-year term, and appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) opposes Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) in the special election to fill the final two years of resigned Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R) final term. Loeffler was appointed when Isakson left office at the end of 2019 for health reasons. Both contests will be decided on Jan. 5.

The outcome will decide the Senate majority. If the Democrats sweep the two races, they will become the majority party because the new vice president, Kamala Harris, will break the 50-50 tie. If Republicans just win one of the two, they will maintain their current majority status, albeit smaller, at 51-49. Winning the pair means the GOP will have only lost a net of one seat in the 2020 election cycle as their majority would register 52-48.

Sen. Perdue set the tone of his runoff effort with a new ad (top) that highlights Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) saying, “when we (meaning the Democrats) take Georgia, we will change America.” The Perdue ad defines “the Schumer-Pelosi-Ossoff” change as “defund[ing] the police, voting rights for illegal immigrants, and making Washington, DC the 51st state.” The message then quotes Ossoff as saying, “change is coming to America.” The ad closes with the narrator saying, “believe them. Vote Perdue to stop them.”

(Jon Ossoff Ad)

Ossoff responds with an ad (above) solely devoted to COVID-19. The media consultants found virtually identical COVID related statements from President Trump and Sen. Perdue, and then runs their audio consecutively in an attempt to tie the two together. The ad closes with the narrator saying that “David Perdue ignored the medical experts, downplayed the crisis, and left us unprepared.”

The special election is taking a much different tone. Challenger Raphael Warnock, the Baptist minister who pastors the church over which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his father once presided, Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta, re-visits Sen. Loeffler’s controversial COVID related stock transactions and creates an ad around this subject (below).

(Raphael Warnock Ad)

The script says Sen. Loeffler, “after receiving confidential briefings on Coronavirus immediately starts dumping stocks …making sale after sale and getting rid of $3.1 million before the market crashed.” The tagline ends with the narrator saying, “Kelly is for Kelly. Warnock is for us.”

The ad, of course, makes no mention of Sen. Loeffler’s transactions being investigated and cleared by the Securities and Exchange Commission, but it is more than probable that we will be hearing that part of the story in future Loeffler campaign communications.

Sen. Loeffler launched a hard-hitting new attack centered around her theme, “saving the Senate is about saving America.” The ad attacks Rev. Warnock for “calling police thugs and gangsters, host[ing] a rally for Communist dictator Fidel Castro, and prais[ing] Marxism in speeches and writings.” (below)

(Sen. Loeffler Ad)

With the campaign battle lines being drawn early in this two-month runoff campaign, we can expect this type of hard-hitting rhetoric to continue all the way to the Jan. 5 election as both sides attempt to motivate their base voters to return for the runoff.

The last time we saw a US Senate runoff in Georgia – Georgia and Maine are the only two states that require general election winners receive majority support – occurred in 2008 when Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) was forced into a secondary vote. The circumstances were similar. Sen. Chambliss placed first in the general election but, like Sen. Perdue, finished just a few thousand votes under the 50 percent threshold (49.8 percent). This forced Chambliss and his opponent, Democrat Jim Martin who received 46.8 percent, into a Dec. 2 runoff election of that year.

Sen. Chambliss prevailed in the runoff with 57.4 percent of the vote. In that year, 3.752 million people voted in the general election with 2.138 million returned for the runoff election for a drop-off rate of 43 percent. In 2020, a total of 4,945,702 individuals cast a vote in the Perdue-Ossoff Senate race, while the figure was approximately 37,000 people lower for the special election, 4,907,872. While a drop-off from the 2020 general election is expected, political intensity suggests it will likely not be as high as we saw in the 2008 US Senate runoff campaign.

Calls, Uncalled, and a Recount

By Jim Ellis

New York state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R) wins the US House Staten Island District.

Nov. 13, 2020 — With the presidential race heading to the courts in order to resolve challenges and outstanding legal issues, and the final two Senate races advancing to Jan. 5 runoff elections in Georgia, we find the most recent relevant political action occurring in the outstanding US House races.

Two more congressional race winners have been officially called. In New York, Staten Island freshman Rep. Max Rose (D) yesterday publicly conceded defeat to state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R). While the counting substantial numbers of mail ballots continues, Malliotakis’ large 37,000-plus vote lead appears strong enough to defend against any last minute Rose charge.

The congressman indicated that he is conceding even though the vote gap is closing between he and Assemblywoman Malliotakis, a former New York City mayoral candidate. Rose stated his late-breaking progress would not be enough to overcome Malliotakis’ overall lead, thus he ends the race before the counting process concludes.

The Republican win boosts the party’s national gain total to a net seven official seats, but that number is likely to expand to at least nine and could go as high as a dozen once all of the races are completed and officially certified.

For the Democrats, Illinois freshman Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Naperville) also capped her come-from-behind victory with an official call yesterday. After trailing for most of the counting period, Underwood surpassed state senator and frequent candidate Jim Oberweis (R) to secure a second term. Her unofficial margin is 4,604 votes from a turnout of just over 396,000 individuals, a record participation factor for this Chicago suburban district.

While other races are being called, one contest that had been declared on election night is now coming back into the undetermined realm. Originally, New Jersey freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) had been projected the winner over state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R), but now the Associated Press and New York Times have rescinded their victory calls. The reason is the post-election vote totals continue to favor Kean to a large degree, cutting the congressman’s lead to only 6,275 ballots with potentially as many as 60,000 votes remaining to be counted.

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