Gulp: Dem leads by seven in new GA special-election poll

For the second time in three weeks, a poll in Georgia’s 6th Congressional district shows the Democratic insurgent up by seven points over the Republican chosen to defend Tom Price’s old seat. The poll from Atlanta’s major newspaper puts Jon Ossoff up 51-44 over Karen Handel, the same found by a WXIA-Survey USA poll in late May (via Politico):

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released Friday shows Democrat Jon Ossoff has a 7-point edge over Republican Karen Handel in the nationally-watched race to represent Georgia’s 6th District.

The poll of likely voters has Ossoff leading Handel by a 51-44 margin ahead of the June 20 runoff. About 5 percent of voters are undecided. The margin of error is 4 percentage points. …

The findings show Ossoff has an enormous lead over Handel among women, leading 60-34. The Republican is beating Ossoff among male voters by a 52-41 margin. He has a solid advantage over Handel among younger voters, while she has a slim majority of voters who are over 65.

It’s only the second poll to show Ossoff with a lead outside the margin of error, but the demos appear to show trends seen in other polling as well — with one exception. Despite Handel’s presence in the race, Ossoff has an astounding +15 in the gender gap. To compare, Donald Trump only trailed by two points in the nationwide gender gap last November, and had a +12 advantage in Georgia over Hillary Clinton in the gender gap. Ossoff’s edge here looks so dramatic as to suggest that this poll might be an outlier. The WXIA/SUSA poll that showed Ossoff up seven in late May gave Ossoff a +15 gender gap too, but that’s because he led among both men (+9) and women (+6), not because he had a 26-point lead with women over a female candidate. That’s something to watch in any other polling that takes place.

The news isn’t all bad on the polling front. The most recent WSB-TV/Landmark Communications poll shows a closer race — still within the margin of error, but with Ossoff ticking upward slightly. The problem for Handel is that it shows Ossoff winning Tuesday’s debate by 14 points:

Note how closely the demos run, especially on gender:

Handel’s biggest problem in this poll is the mid-range age demo. Younger voters tend to be unreliable voters, but 40-64YOs do go to the polls on a regular basis. She’s trailing by nine points here, and the 16-point lead among seniors won’t be enough to balance that out in terms of sheer numbers, not unless the turnout model gets seriously skewed … as special elections tend to do. She’s also trailing independents by 15 points, which is a big problem since every poll has her giving up double digits among Republicans.

The race will come down to “getting out the vote,” the Landmark pollster says. True, but there Democrats have built a temporary advantage in a special election, too. Both parties are now throwing a lot of money into the runoff, but Democrats gave themselves a huge advantage early in GOTV efforts. None of this will outlast the special election, but for now it looks like they may pull off a temporary — and meaningless — win in an R+8 district.