OK, folks, you wanted a poll, here's a poll:
The position of Jack Kingston is equally precarious. Kingston’s support is exactly 50 percent with almost one in four registered voters undecided, according to the survey, making a runoff in Georgia’s First Congressional District with challenger Bill Gillespie a possibility.
Valdosta Daily Times, on a telephone survey of 453 random phone numbers (MoE 4.6%) in Lowndes County on 16-26 October by the Center for Applied Research (CAR) at Valdosta State University (VSU), Professor James LaPlant.
I have the whole poll, and among respondents who said they'd already voted, Kingston was below 50%. This is ignominious for Kingston, who in 2006 got 59% against 41% for Democrat Jim Nelson in Lowndes County. Bill Gillespie can win GA-01 this year.
There's more about GA-01, also GA-Sen and GA-Pres.
The Valdosta Daily Times relegated a story on massive new voter registrations to the inside pages and put a story about Lowndes County supposedly always being Republican on the front page of the same issue. The VDT later declined to endorse anyone, because they didn't expect so much early voting! If even the VDT says Kingston's position is precarious, Kingston is perched on a precipice indeed.
Back to early voters vs. likely voters:
Chris Prine (D) and Freddie Taylor (R) are running for sheriff, Ashley Paulk (D) and G. Norman Bennett (R) for county commission chair, Bill Gillespie (D) and Jack Kingston (R) for U.S. House GA-01, Jim Martin (D) and Saxby Chambliss (R) for U.S. Senate GA-Sen, and Barack Obama (D) and John McCain (R) for U.S. president GA-Pres. As you can see, the local races are not even close; the Democrat is way ahead in each of those. The national races show the Democrat trailing, but much closer in early voting. In GA-01, Jack Kingston (R) fell below 50% in early voting, and Bill Gillespie (D) is catching up. The poll showed 28% early voters at a time when more than 20% had voted early. The last day of early voting was packed in Lowndes County. Final early voting was about 22,000 out of about 57,000 registered voters, or about 38%. So if the trend shown in this survey continued, the Democrats are even closer in the national races now.
The professor who organized the survey, Jim LaPlant, tells me:
I should also note that the survey found that Democrats outnumber
Republicans in our sample of Lowndes County registered voters. Our
sample was 36% Democrat, 34% Republican, 26% Independent and 4% no
response. In 2004, Republicans outnumbered Democrats and the numbers
were roughly equivalent in the 2006 survey.
And even better, what do voters care about:
It's the economy, stupid. Bill Clinton won Georgia when the economy was the biggest issue.
How are the voters leaning on each issue?
This figure shows which presidential candidate the voters favor on each issue. It doesn't show the effects on GA-01, but Bill Gillespie's top issue is the economy, and regarding terrorism and Iraq, he's a decorated Iraq veteran, and Kingston is not.
OK, what about the presidential race?
As the survey summary says:
Given the sampling error of our survey as well as the 5% of registered voters still undecided at this late stage, the presidential race in Lowndes County is too close to call. In the 2004 presidential election, George Bush received 55% of the vote in Lowndes County. If McCain is able to win this county on November 4th, it is likely to be with a smaller percentage of the vote than Bush received in 2004.
Let's look at the demographics:
Democrats, black people, poor people, and women favor Obama. These demographics agree with what we found by examining county-by-county primary results. Guess who the Obama campaign is getting out to vote, in numbers larger than anyone can remember: Democrats, black people, poor people, and women and men. Also students, a demographic not shown in the figure, yet VSU has 13,000 students, of which a significant number plan to vote Tuesday Democratic. All these same people will likely favor Bill Gillespie for GA-01, especially since the Valdosta Obama office has handed out thousands of Gillespie flyers and mentions his name at every opportunity. Bill Gillespie should benefit from what the poll summary calls
...a presidential election that has the potential to generate the highest voter turnout since the 1960 presidential election.
What about everybody's favorite race, GA-Sen, with Jim Martin set to pitch out Saxby "Shameless" Chambliss?
Saxby is below 50%, and remember even lower in early voting, so if the state goes like Lowndes County, we're talking runoff at best for Saxby, and possible outright victory for Jim Martin.
Jim Martin had seen this poll earlier the same day when he said "Bill Gillespie's race is going to be close":
Listen to Uncle Jim. GOTV!