The Politico newspaper ran a story yesterday Politico Ossoff Story - 3-30-17 that discusses the possibility that consensus Democratic special election candidate Jon Ossoff could win the 18-candidate contest with an outright victory, meaning taking more than 50% of the vote, in the jungle primary scheduled for April 18th. Polling has suggested that Ossoff could finish in first place and advance to the run-off, but the idea of him winning outright is far-fetched.
First, most of the polling for this race is flawed in that it only lists about a third of the candidates running, or less. But, even in that configuration Ossoff never comes close to 50%, and in all polls the sum of the Republican preference is greater than Ossoff’s total. In the one poll that did include all of the participants, Opinion Savvy’s data conducted for Fox 5 Atlanta (3/22-23; 462 GA-6 likely special election voters), Ossoff reaches 40%, and the combined Democratic total among their five candidates is 43.5%. The combined Republican total is 52.4%.
The crux of the article talks about how the Democrats are more energized, and thus Ossoff could accrue a majority because of favorable turnout patterns. One must remember that Republicans heavily outnumber Democrats in this seat. While generally a consensus candidate for one party in a crowded field can generate enough support to qualify for a two-person run-off, the mathematics, and even the polling, do not suggest that any candidate could receive a majority vote in this particular special election.
Despite the hype, the Republicans are still favored to hold this seat. While President Trump carried the district with only a 1.5 percent margin, it is important to remember that Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell), the seven-term GOP incumbent who left the seat to become Health and Human Services Secretary - hence the need for this special election - scored 62% in the same election last November and averaged 76.1% of the vote during his congressional career - 64.1% since the seat was re-drawn in its current configuration.
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