Survey USA released a poll on Monday that shows Democrat Jon Ossoff leading Republican Karen Handel by seven seven percent, 51 to 44, among likely voters in the runoff election to be held on June 20 in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.
The election is to replace former Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), who resigned after he was confirmed as President Trump’s pick as Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Ossoff barely missed obtaining the 50-percent-plus-one votes needed to secure the seat in the April 18 jungle primary. He finished in first place with 48.1 percent of the vote, followed in a distant second by Handel at 19.8 percent. Only the top two jungle primary finishers qualified for the June 20 special election.
The Survey USA Poll, commissioned by WXIA TV, was conducted over a four day period between May 16 and May 20, of 549 likely voters, and it has a margin of error of 4.3 percent.
“SurveyUSA interviewed 700 registered voters 5/16/17 through 5/20/17 using Registration-Based Sampling (aka: Voter List sample) purchased from Aristotle in Washington DC. Of the 700 registered voters, 549 were judged by SurveyUSA to have already voted in the runoff or to be certain to so before the 06/12/17 deadline,” the poll summary stated.
Two earlier polls conducted after the jungle primary showed the race in a statistical dead heat.
A Landmark Communications poll conducted between May 3 and 4 with a 3.9 percent margin of error showed Handel with a 2.6 percent lead.
A Gravis Marketing poll conducted between May 8 and May 10 with a 3.3 percent margin of error showed Ossoff with a two percent lead.
Survey USA portrayed Monday’s poll results as an indicator that media criticisms of President Trump have hurt his standing, as well as that of fellow Republicans around the country.
“The 06/20/17 runoff has national implications and will be seen as a referendum on the Republican President,” Survey USA said in its poll summary.
However, the race is unusual because of the sheer magnitude of money being spent on it, most of it coming from outside the district.
The Democratic candidate, Ossoff, benefited from that particularly during the election preceding the jungle primary on April 18, when liberals from Hollywood and elsewhere donated millions to his campaign. Less than ten percent of his funding actually came from the district. In contrast, Handel was one of eleven Republicans competing in the jungle primary and was far outspent by Ossoff prior to April 18.
“A highly energized effort by the Democrats that has raised more than $8.9 million from around the country for thirty-year-old Jon Ossoff has caught the Republican leadership napping,” Breitbart News reported on April 17, the day before the jungle primary.
Since the jungle primary, the financial disparity between Ossoff and Handel has diminished.
“[B]oth parties continue to flood Georgia with resources and ads in the final month of the most expensive House race in U.S. history,” the Hill reported on Tuesday.
“The pounding President Donald Trump is taking over loose lips may be taking a toll on Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, Karen Handel,” Survey USA said in its summary of the poll results, which it called “close enough in a low-turnout, stand-alone runoff to be anyone’s call, though clearly Ossoff is in a better position than is Handel.”
The district is Republican leaning but not Republican invincible: Trump carried the district in 2016, but only by 1.5 percentage points, compared to, say, the neighboring 9th Congressional District, which Trump carried by 58 percentage points.
Ossoff does not live in the 6th Congressional District, but voters shrug. 84% of Democrats and 21% of Republicans say the residency doesn’t bother them. Karen Handel does not have a college degree, but voters shrug. 45% of Democrats and 76% of Republicans say it is not an issue for them at all.
Survey USA interviewed a total of 700 registered voters for the poll. Responses from 549 voters “Survey USA ” were included in the Congressional candidate survey, while responses from the other 151 registered voters deemed likely not to vote in the June 20 special election were not.
All 700 registered voters surveyed, including those 151 deemed likely not to vote in the June 20 special election, were included in poll questions about President Trump’s job approval, health care, the firing of FBI Director James Comey, and the appointment of a special investigator.
Survey USA found that among those 700 registered voters in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, 34 percent approved of President Trump’s job performance, while 51 percent disapproved of it.
Voters were evenly split on the Republican plan to replace ObamaCare; 47 percent supported it, 47 percent opposed it.
Forty-five percent of registered voters opposed President Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, while 38 percent supported it.
Sixty percent supported naming a special investigator “to look into whether the Russians tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election,” while 32 percent opposed naming a special investigator.
With four weeks to go until the June 20 election, the record pace of spending and media coverage of the 6th Congressional District special election is likely to intensify until a victor is declared on election night.