Georgia Runoff Elections: Will The ‘Expert’ Pollsters Be Wrong Again?
LITHONIA, GA - OCTOBER 03: Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock are seen at a campaign event on October 3, 2020 in Lithonia, Georgia. The two are hoping to unseat incumbent Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

On Tuesday January 5th, Georgia will host two runoff elections to decide who will represent the state in the US Senate. On November 3rd, incumbents Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler and challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock failed to garner 50% of the vote. According to Georgia law, such races must be decided by a majority of the electorate.

Here is what the final polling data is showing on the eve of the elections which will determine whether the GOP will maintain control of the US Senate, or if the Democrats will achieve an effective majority with a 50-50 split being broken by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Latest Polls – Sen. David Perdue vs. Jon Ossoff

  • RealClear Politics Polling Average (12/14 – 1/3): Ossoff +1%.
  • Fox 5 (1/3): Tie
  • Trafalgar (12/23 – 12/27): Ossoff +2%.
  • WXIA/SUSA (12/16 – 12/20): Ossoff +5%
  • Emerson (12/14 – 12/16): Perdue +3%.

From July to late October, Sen. Perdue led Ossoff in the RCP polling average. However, in the month of October, Ossoff rapidly closed in on Perdue, overtaking him on October 29th.

The final polling average had Ossoff at +0.7%, while Perdue went on to beat Ossoff by 1.8% on Election Day.

Latest Polls – Sen. Kelly Loeffler vs. Raphael Warnock

  • RealClear Politics Polling Average (12/14 – 1/3): Warnock +1.3%.
  • Fox 5 (1/3): Tie
  • Trafalgar (12/23 – 12/27): Warnock +1%.
  • WXIA/SUSA (12/16 – 12/20): Warnock +7%.
  • Emerson (12/14 – 12/16): Loeffler +3%.

Prior to November’s General Election, polling data suggested that Warnock was ahead of Loeffler. The RCP polling average put Warnock at +15.7%, WSB-TV at +11%, Emerson at +12%, PPP at +19%, and Monmouth at +19%.

After Election Day, Warnock had a lead of +7%. It should be noted, however, that this was an open primary, with Republican Doug Collins receiving 20% of the total vote. Hypothetically, had Sen. Loeffler received Collins’ votes, she would have beaten Warnock by 13%.

Key Takeaways

  • The polls for the General Election were inaccurate for both races (off by 2.5% for Perdue vs Ossoff and off by 8.7% for Loeffler vs Warnock). Not only that, pollsters incorrectly predicted that Ossoff would beat Sen. Perdue.
  • Ossoff’s current polling lead of +1% is similar to his +0.7% lead prior to November’s election. However, Warnock’s lead of +15.7% in November for the General Election is now just +1.3% for the runoff. While this may be caused by the fact that only two candidates are now on the ballot, this could also indicate a decline in popularity for the radical Warnock.
  • No major poll correctly predicted the winner of both races. Emerson were the only organization to correctly predict that Perdue would emerge victorious, but they also incorrectly predicted that Loeffler would beat Warnock by 3%.
  • While the accuracy and reliability of the polling data is clearly questionable, it is interesting to note that there are several discrepancies between polls for the same candidate. While the Fox 5 poll predicts a tie for both candidates, and Emerson predicts a 3% victory by both Republican candidates, the RealClear Politics average differs by 0.3%, Trafalgar by 1%, and WXIA/SUSA by 2% for both Democrat candidates. If accurate, this indicates that Ossoff and Warnock are experiencing differing levels of support within their party.

Ian Haworth is host of The Ian Haworth Show and The Truth in 60 Seconds. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

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