PPP gooses Georgia dems

Brandon Howell Contributor, Georgia Tipsheet
Font Size:

Pro-Democratic polling outfit Public Policy Polling continues to appear desperate to push its own narrative of a changing Georgia rather than offering a true snapshot of the state, with separate polls blatantly defying the state’s electoral composition in a span of two weeks.

The first sought to paint Republican Governor Nathan Deal, whose re-election has long been considered near-afterthought in spite of two primary opponents, as suddenly vulnerable to a challenge from beleaguered Georgia Democrats.

Some 34 percent of respondents gave the incumbent a favorable mark, a precipitous 10 point drop from PPP’s August numbers.

Meanwhile, Democratic state senator Jason Carter, grandson of the former president, had apparently closed a 48-33 deficit without even announcing a challenge to Deal, now only trailing 44-40 percent.

That was followed by another PPP tally of the Georgia Senate race, sporting a wide-open GOP primary and Michelle Nunn, awaiting a May coronation from Democrats in-state and nationally.

Here was a narrative aimed at laying shutdown backlash at the feet of Peach State Republicans, and an embedded advantage for Nunn defying virtually any statewide contest in over a decade.

As expected, the numbers showed the Points of Light CEO, also brandishing a famous last name, statistically tying a generic GOPer while holding a single-digit lead when paired against a trio of would-be opponents.

All of which serves to offer optimism to a party far removed from its glory days, and eager for resurgence wrought by changing demographics that has onlookers branding Georgia a Virginia in-waiting.

Yet the real culprit of the shift is a precipitous altering of the state’s demographic trends, not backlash to GOP tactics or a relatively well-liked incumbent gone sour.

The aforementioned August survey featured an electorate 71 percent white in its makeup, yet somehow that share massively decreased, dipping to 63 and 62 percent this month.

Had PPP used the previous weights in these recent polls, Nunn would have found herself facing a 6 point disadvantage and Deal would have led a hypothetical Democratic challenger by 10.

“And obviously, it was in PPP’s interest to avoid both of those outcomes,” noted The New Republic’s Nate Cohn.

Gaming polls is hardly the way to spoon feed revival to a party beset with internal strife, fundraising woes, and the reality that Georgia remains a red state.

Roughly 46 percent of respondents blamed Democrats for the shutdown in a non-PPP Georgia poll, compared to 39 percent who cast it with Republicans, hardly tantamount to claiming the shutdown boosted Nunn’s already-long odds.

As for Deal’s re-election bid, Democrats are conflicted on even attempting contest it, with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed publicly stating he’d “done a good job” and calling on his party to focus scarce resources elsewhere.

Beyond skewering Georgia’s electoral turnout in favor of political machinations, another tell lies in the questions not asked.

A July PPP poll of the Senate race also took the time to gauge favorability of Michelle Nunn’s father, Sam Nunn, who’s seat is the one now opened by Saxby Chambliss’s coming retirement. The elder remains a lion of Georgia’s political landscape, with the real question being how many Georgian’s would remember the name, given that his last ballot appearance was in 1990.

His numbers clocked in 56 percent favorable, compared to 12 percent who disapproved.

Jason Carter too boasts a last name etched in Georgia’s political history, yet it apparently has never been important enough for PPP poll name recognition, despite Jimmy Carter being the only president to come from the state.

One has to wonder what kind of numbers that would yield.

PPP’s colossal decision to decline to release Colorado recall polls that didn’t fit an expected narrative is still in the bloodstream of many onlookers, serving as a tangible indictment for those who’ve long decried the group’s methodology.

Kowtowing to the progressive groups commissioning these polls is hardly a service, and these Georgia antics serve as the latest sign that PPP is growing more brazen in its pro-Democratic appeals, yet the narrative it and others are pushing continues to be dispelled by political reality.