Ordinarily, a poll result favoring Republicans in Georgia wouldn’t make news, but 2016 is hardly an ordinary cycle. A Quinnipiac poll put Hillary Clinton into a tie with Donald Trump in the Peach State last week at 46-all in a two-way race and only down one when including Gary Johnson. That hinted at a potentially yuuuuuuge hole in Trump’s firewall, but a new poll from Survey USA and WXIA puts Trump firmly ahead by seven points:
Republican Donald Trump is at 49%, Clinton at 42%, and Libertarian Gary Johnson at 3% at this hour. Among voters who have already returned a ballot, Trump leads by 6. Among voters who have not yet returned a ballot but who promise to vote before polls close on 11/08/16, Trump leads Clinton by 8. When the 2 groups are combined, Trump leads by 7, up from a 4-point Trump lead when SurveyUSA last polled Georgia for WXIA in August.
Trump leads by 58 points among rural men, by 56 points among voters focused on immigration, by 46 points among evangelical voters, by 44 points among whites, by 37 points among rural women, by 28 points among seniors, by 26 points in Northwest GA (which includes Dalton, Rome and 53 counties to the North and West of Greater Atlanta), by 26 points among college-educated whites, by 22 points among middle-income voters and by 18 points among high-school educated men.
Interestingly, this survey period (10/25-10/27) overlaps with the Q-poll showing a much closer race. That gave Hillary her best result since mid-August in Georgia, but Trump has led ever since in all polling, even if it’s not by a lot; his RCP average lead is four points, and that includes both polls in the calculation.
The survey period doesn’t include Friday, when James Comey notified Congress of the FBI’s new look into Hillary’s e-mail scandal. That matters to Georgia voters more than any other oppo-research issue on both candidates:
* 62% of voters (87% of Republicans, 28% of Democrats) say Clinton’s leaked emails are important in 2016.
* 47% of voters (14% of Republicans, 88% of Democrats) say Trump’s income taxes are important in 2016.
* 46% of voters (15% of Republican, 85% of Democrats) say Trump’s history with women is important in 2016.
* 43% of voters (22% of Republicans, 73% of Democrats) say Trump talk about not accepting an election outcome is important.
* 27% of voters (42% of Republicans, 12% of Democrats) say Bill Clinton’s history with women is important in 2016.
This measures frequency rather than weight. It doesn’t say whether the e-mails are more (or less) important to voters than income taxes, but just that more voters think they’re important enough to cite. It still suggests that Hillary was carrying more baggage into Election Day even before Comey’s announcement. Now that the e-mail issue has become acute again, it will certainly get weighted more heavily than before. Even if the SUSA result of Trump +7 is a bit of an outlier, it may not be for long — even if we don’t see much more polling in the state over the next five days.
One point to watch will be enthusiasm. While the WaPo/ABC poll shows enthusiasm on the rise for Trump, the opposite is true in the SUSA poll, although the two data points are rather distant. On August 1, Trump’s vote was split 60/38 between voting for Trump or against Hillary. Now the split is 52/46, enough to be outside the margin of error. Hillary’s voters are more enthusiastic than Trump’s at 63/33, but that’s also a slight decline from 68/26 at the beginning of August. On the other hand, Trump has a lead already among those who have already voted — 30% of respondents — of 51/45, and leads among those who haven’t yet by eight points, 48/40. The enthusiastic voters might have already gotten their ballots in, and late-breaking issues like FBI investigations might well impact those who have put it off to Election Day.