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Democrat Michelle Nunn
Democrat Michelle Nunn
After a string of tough polls, Georgia Democrats were treated to some better numbers late on Friday. A new survey from Republican pollsters Landmark Communications and Rosetta Stone Communications, taken on behalf of WSB-TV in Atlanta, found Democrat Michelle Nunn leading Republican David Perdue 47-40 in the Senate contest and Democrat Jason Carter beating GOP Gov. Nathan Deal 44-40. In the firms' previous poll from late July, just after the Republican Senate runoff concluded, Nunn led 47-43, and Carter was up 47-40. It's a bit strange that Nunn apparently picked up 3 points at the same time Carter lost the same amount, but that could just be noise.

That's not the most notable thing about this data, though. Since Perdue won the GOP nomination on July 22, six pollsters have released numbers for the Senate race, including Landmark. Landmark, however, is the only outfit to show Nunn ahead. Polls from a variety of other firms have all found Perdue up anywhere from 6 to 9 points. Almost all of these companies surveyed the gubernatorial race as well, and have usually found Carter performing a bit better than Nunn. However, he, too, has generally been trailing or neck and neck with Deal; only Landmark has found him leading by more than a hair.

So Landmark is clearly the odd pollster out on the Senate race and also shows the best numbers for Carter in the gubernatorial contest. The good news for Democrats is that none of the pollsters who've been in the field here represents any sort of gold standard. Rasmussen has been awful for years; InsiderAdvantage was terrible in 2008 and has produced very few pre-election polls since then; and Vox Populi has only released one pre-election poll in its entire existence, a primary poll for the Eric Cantor race that it blew chunks. HEG does not appear to have any track record at all: We have no polls from them in our 2010 or 2012 pollster databases.

Of this batch, SurveyUSA (the most pessimistic pollster for Democrats this time around) is the only one that does have a decent track record. However, they have demonstrated some erratic behavior in the past, often releasing weird results and unexplained swings in the middle of the cycle, before coming down to earth at the end. Georgia Democrats can take some comfort in knowing that the polls showing them down aren't exactly of the highest quality (and in some cases are awful).

The bad news is that Landmark doesn't have much of a recent track record either. Head below the fold to learn more about how they've done.

Nate Silver didn't include Landmark in his 2008 pollster ratings, meaning they did not publish any polls within three weeks of the 2008 election (and nor did frequent partner Rosetta Stone). We also can find no late polls from either firm in 2012. Landmark did, however, conduct a few surveys in Georgia in the last week of the 2010 race:

GA-Sen: Landmark: Isakson (R) 56-35; Actual: Isakson (R) 58-39; error: +2 R

GA-Gov: Landmark: Deal (R) 49-42; Actual: Deal (R) 53-43; error: +3 D

GA-LG: Landmark: Cagle (R) 50-34; Actual: Cagle (R) 55-42; error: +3 R

GA-AG: Landmark: Olens (R) 47-40; Actual: Olens (R) 53-44; error: +2 D

GA-School Sup't: Landmark: Barge (R) 48-36; Actual: Barge (R) 54-42; error: +0

GA-Ins. Comm'r: Landmark: Hudgens (R) 54-28; Actual: Hudgens (R) 54-42; error: +14 R

GA-Ag. Comm'r: Landmark: Black (R) 48-32; Actual: Black (R) 56-40; error: +0

GA-02: Landmark: Keown (R) 50-46; Actual: Bishop (D) 51-49; error: +6 R

GA-07: Landmark: Woodall (R) 60-30; Actual Woodall (R) 67-33; error: +4 D

GA-08: Landmark: Scott (R) 53-39; Actual: Scott (R) 53-47; error: +8 R

In 2010, Landmark's average error was 2.4 percent in the Republican direction. Landmark underestimated the eventual winner (regardless of party) by an average of 4.2 percent. On balance, they were pretty good.

However, don't have much to go on beyond this 2010 data set. Earlier this year, they polled shortly before the Republican Senate primary runoff, where they gave Rep. Jack Kingston a 48-41 lead over Perdue; Perdue ended up winning 51-49, a miss of nine points. Other firms also found Kingston up a week before the runoff, but by a smaller amount. Republican runoffs are different animals than general elections, but it is worth noting Landmark missed here.

Ultimately, this newest Landmark poll leaves us with more questions than answers. Just as Democrats shouldn't have despaired when they were on the wrong end of the last few polls, they shouldn't celebrate right now. As frustrating as it is, the best thing we can probably do right now is wait for more numbers to see if anyone backs up Landmark or if they continue to be the only ones to show Nunn up. To paraphrase the West Wing's Leo McGarry, with Landmark showing Nunn up 7 and SurveyUSA showing Perdue up 9, we can at least be confident of one thing: A few months from now, at least one of them is going to look pretty stupid.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kos Georgia and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I still believe both the Senate and Governor races (13+ / 0-)

    are competitive. Maybe Landmark or Survey USA aren't completely accurate with their latest polling and I believe Perdue is in the lead but it's within the MOE. GA Dems have been working hard on both ground game and voter registration. I also think that the scandal is hurting Deal and he's tied with Carter.

    Funny Stuff at http://www.funnyordie.com/oresmas

    by poopdogcomedy on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 09:41:59 AM PDT

  •  If Nunn and Carter win a plurality (4+ / 0-)

    the issue will be the run-off, where Dems don't typically do well. However, both of their surnames are household names in the state and they should get a good turnout.

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    by khyber900 on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 10:48:39 AM PDT

  •  Polling is part of the "preparing the ground" (6+ / 0-)

    operation, akin to a military campaign. In this case, the pollsters aim to encourage the fan base by assuring them they've got a winner and to discourage the opposition by positing a hopeless cause.

    Fact is that the Republican and Democratic electorate are not made up of the same kind of people. What discourages Democrats from going all out at the polls is the idea that, to be fair, the other side deserves a turn, or a second turn, or an opportunity to reform. Democrats are just too damned nice.
    That's why the predators eat their lunch.

  •  GA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Geogre, sebastianguy99

    Anyone who thinks these races won't remain very competitive is a bigger fool than well, fill in the blank

  •  Just Remember the Lessons of 2000! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence, PorridgeGun

    It ain't over until the Republicans quit manipulating the ballots!

    I wish it were different, or maybe I wish I were stronger and I could throw an elephant further, but I don't trust ANY Republican.  

    Those were the days when Republicans included great Americans like Ike Eisenhower, Bob Dole, and other honorable folks.  If you remember, Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren to the Supreme Court before Nixon appointed Rehnquist and Powell.

    If Money is Speech, Speech isn't Free! I wonder what it is about that that Antonin Scalia cannot understand?

    by NM Ray on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 03:40:09 PM PDT

  •  Dairy Queen TV during lunch news (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    petral, bluenick, GayHillbilly

    Watching during the super conservatoid TV station's news at the Dairy Queen (the local restaurant upped prices 30%, my pay is not up any, so my principles have taken a backseat to my wallet in my back seat), the ads in the SE of the state (Savannah TV) have been crazy to nuts, with weird tossed in.

    1. Rick Allen, running against the True Blew Dog Barrow, appears in a checkered shirt that makes moire and says that he'll make the criminals who caused the border crisis and the veterans die go to jail, because not one "career politician" has been fired, and he'll push for term limits "for the politicians who made this mess" (but not in general, one supposes). It's a melange du nut that's short (no cash) and filled with old man smell.

    2. One outside group on Rick Allen's behalf, which says that "John Barrow voted with Obama 85% of the time!" In micro-print, that 85% is from Barrow's first term. In the last two terms, I doubt he's voted with "Obama" once. (Cue the Party before Principles people to tell me that that's not true. . . why, he voted with the party at least once in 2011!) What's interesting about this ad is that it is identical to an ad run two years ago, with Barrow's opponent's name changed. The writing and claims are almost identical, except that "Obamacare website" was tossed in.

    3. Perdue ads from the GOP that are visual oatmeal. "Johnny Isaakson and David Perdue: sensible conservatives who will help Georgia grow." It actually touts a record of steady economic growth that other GOP advertising says does not exist (on account of Obamadeficitsmuslimborderwebsitefails).

    4. An extremely effective outside group parachuting in. An actress with a monkey on her back, while generic female voice talks about the addiction to spending. It's visually compelling, and the group producing it is dark money. The purpose is an "issue" rather than a candidate. I would suspect it's American Grossroads.

    I saw no advertising from Democratic candidates, but most of the GOP advertising was bland and used phrases guaranteed to wash over the audience. We will see more dark money flow in soon, though. Perdue is connected to a very large sack of cash, and Deal seems to be holding back.

    The GOP's stuff is insipid, but their allies have, for a long time, done the dirty work.

    "for all the murders, rapes, and thefts,/ Committed in the horrid lust of war,/ He that unjustly caus'd it first proceed,/ Shall find it in his grave and in his seed." -- Webster, "The White Devil," IV i 8-12.

    by The Geogre on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 04:16:32 PM PDT

  •  polling in red states (0+ / 0-)

    often makes dems look like they are competitive because i believe many people answer realizing that the goper they support is as repugnant as they are.

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