Polls are notoriously unreliable in special elections and even moreso in runoffs of those special elections. Yet the special elections to fill empty congressional seats in Montana (today) and the runoff in Georgia's 6th district (June 20) are widely seen as proxy readings on how much electoral trouble the Republican party is in -- and a bellwether for what may happen in the 2018 midterms.
In GA-06 (my home district and the Democratic candidate is a friend of my grandson), the previous poll I saw had Jon Ossoff (D) leading Karen Handel (R) by 47% to 45%, well within the margin of error.
Yesterday, tv station 11Alive released the results of a poll done for them by Survey USA, which showed this:
It's risky to compare but, for what it's worth it, this is good news for the Democrat Ossoff. The margin of error is 4.3%, so this 7% lead clearly exceeds that. And the movement since the last poll is all in Ossoff's direction: up from 47% to 51% while Handel lost a point: 45% and 44%. The undecided vote is 6% -- even if it all went to Handel, Ossoff would still win.
Now that obviously is putting too much faith in one poll and it really means not very much. In runoffs, it comes down to voter turn-out. But it's good to be on the "increasing the lead" side rather than otherwise.
Another encouraging factor is that Trump and the hapless Republicans in Congress are not likely to give voters anything much to cheer about in the next few weeks. Besides, the despicable, negative smear ads they're running against Jon don't seem to be working.
PS: Two days ago saw two state legislative seats flip from red to blue. One was in New Hampshire, where a Democrat won 52% to 48%; and one in New York, with a Democratic win by 52% to 44%. Trump won both districts in November. The needles moved to the left by 11 points in NH and by 39 points in NY. And today, Thursday, May 25th, we have the Montana congressional race, which is difficult to predict. If it flips, that will signal that Republicans are in serious trouble with the electorate.
PPS: BREAKING NEWS: I wrote the above just a few hours ago, and then I turned on the TV and began to hear the story out of Montana. The Republican candidate (Greg Gianforte) physically assaulted a reporter, Ben Jacobs of The Guardian, who had simply asked him a question about the CBO scoring of the health care bill. I heard the audio recording of the incident. Within seconds after Jacobs asked the question, and a couple of verbal back and forths, Gianforte begins yelling "Get the hell out of here!!!" And then immediately you hear sounds of a scuffle.
A witness who was part of a Fox News TV crew in the room said the reporter was not being aggressive (as Gianforte's campaign claimed in trying to blame it all on him), and she described Gianforte's attack as "vicious," as he grabbed Jacobs around the neck with both hands, threw him to the floor, and began punching him.
An investigation by the sheriff's office is ongoing. Voting begins at 7 AM Thursday, Montana time. Unfortunately, a lot of voters have already cast their ballots in early voting, which is exactly why I have mixed feelings about that whole practice of early voting.