You’re within your rights to never trust another political survey after the fiasco of the 2020 election but I’ll give you two reasons to make an exception in this case. One: For whatever weird reason, the polls in Georgia were actually pretty close to the mark. The final RCP average had Trump winning the state by a single point. In reality, Biden won by 0.3 percent. The final FiveThirtyEight weighted average did even better, seeing Biden victorious by 1.1 points. Both averages were within 1.3 points of the actual result, in other words — quite good, and verrrry different from the disastrous polling in the midwest.

Two: InsiderAdvantage, the pollster responsible for today’s numbers, is Republican-leaning. They did reasonably well in Georgia (their final poll had Trump up two) and *very* well in Michigan, where they had Biden ahead by two points while most competitors saw him waltzing away with the state to the tune of seven or eight. Biden won by 2.7 points. IA has earned a little benefit of the doubt.

I feel surprised, although I shouldn’t, that they have both Georgia runoffs as pure toss-ups right now, with Raphael Warnock slightly ahead of Kelly Loeffler. It’s Warnock 49/48, says InsiderAdvantage’s Matt Towery, while David Perdue and Jon Ossoff are deadlocked at 49.

Towery said, “The challenge for the two Republicans will be how to hold on to the over ten percent level of support they have from African American voters, while at the same time trying to convert suburban Atlanta white voters who have drifted away from the GOP.”

Towery said the current ad campaign by Sen. Loeffler against Rev. Warnock may have opened a can of worms that could lead to an erosion of that fragile level of support.

“The two Republican campaigns have decided to run in tandem and as a result, any mistake by one campaign may impact both,” Towery said. “Warnock will be the centerpiece of attempting to drive African American vote higher than it was in the General Election, which is essential for a win for both Ossoff and him.”

Yeah, Warnock is the X factor here. The conventional wisdom before November 3 was that Stacey Abrams’s operation would manage to turn out black voters at an unusually high rate for Biden, giving him a fighting chance to win. He did end up winning — but not because of African-Americans. Nate Cohn noted yesterday that the percentage of black voters as a share of the electorate was the lowest in 14 years in Georgia this year. Suburbanites won the state for Biden, with just enough support from African-Americans to put him over the top. With a prominent black minister like Warnock at the top of the ballot on January 5, black turnout might surge — and if it does, Loeffler and Perdue are in trouble.

Sean Trende offered six reasons today why people like me are being foolish in thinking that Loeffler and Perdue are favored to win. *If* Dems can turn out suburbanites again, and *if* black voters surge to the polls for Warnock, and *if* GOP turnout is depressed due to Trump’s harangues about the state being rife with voter fraud, then a Democratic win is very much on the table.

5. Warnock and Ossoff complement each other. Had only Warnock or Ossoff advanced to the runoff, I would probably view the election differently. As it stands, with both of them advancing and able to motivate different portions of the Democratic coalition, they likely enhance the others’ chances. Ossoff’s appeal is rooted in the new, upscale Democratic coalition; he may serve to keep these voters in the Democratic fold.

On the other hand, Democrats’ runoff problems have often been a function of a lack of black enthusiasm. That seems unlikely to be the case this time. Warnock is now close to becoming the first African American senator from Georgia, and his stewardship of Martin Luther King’s A.M.E. church will doubtless be played up in the runoff. Combined, the two of them work hand-in-glove against the traditional decline in Democratic turnout in runoffs in a way that very few other candidates would.

Here’s the sort of ad that Loeffler’s running against Warnock, which has Towery nervous:

The play is obviously to scare suburbanites away from Democrats this time. It could work — and did work in lots of places around the country. Left-wing radicalism in wanting to defund the police nearly cost Pelosi the House and may yet cost Schumer the Senate. The wrinkle is that strategy didn’t work in Georgia: Biden won there, after all. And it’s now an open question whether the attacks on Warnock will irritate some of the black voters who supported Trump in the November 3 election. Combine that with Ossoff’s appeal to suburban voters as a perfectly familiar yuppie progressive and you can see why Trende smells an upset.

One other thing. The InsiderAdvantage poll has Gov. Brian Kemp’s job approval sliding to 37/44, evidence of a backlash driven by Trump’s criticism of Georgia’s electoral system. Loeffler and Perdue are on a tightrope right now, not wanting to say a word about Biden’s victory that risks pissing off Trumpers — that’s why they attacked Brad Raffensperger last week — but also not wanting to go all-in on “Trump was cheated” rhetoric lest it anger some of those suburban voters who backed Sleepy Joe but are considering voting Republican this time. As long as Trump persists in his attacks on Kemp and Raffensperger, Loeffler and Perdue are stuck. I’ll leave you with this: