Georgia On My Mind
by Jonathan Singer, Fri Jun 20, 2008 at 02:54:07 AM EDT
A New InsiderAdvantage / PollPosition survey conducted June 18 of registered likely voters in the November presidential contest shows Sen. John McCain leading Sen. Barack Obama by a single point in Georgia, making the race in Georgia a statistical tie. Libertarian Bob Barr, a former Republican Congressman from Georgia, received 6 percent of the vote.
The telephone survey of 408 registered likely voters is weighted for age, race, gender, and political affiliation. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 5%. It was conducted with InsiderAdvantage's research partner Majority Opinion Research. PollPosition is InsiderAdvantage's new branding name (look for additional information and expansion of PollPosition in the coming months).
I have to admit that I just didn't see this coming. Virginia, which has been trending towards the Democrats (two straight governorship wins, soon-to-be two straight Senate wins, retaking the state Senate), I could see. Colorado, which has been trending towards the Democrats (a gubernatorial win, soon-to-be two straight Senate wins, two pick-ups in the House, retaking both chambers of the state legislature), I could see. Even Alaska I could see.
But Georgia? A state that has appeared to be one of the very few (and I do mean very few) to be trending towards the GOP? Georgia is on the map? Apparently. According to the Real Clear Politics average of recent polling out of the state, John McCain's lead over Barack Obama is just 49.7 percent to 41.3 percent. Nate Silver gives Obama a 28 percent shot at carrying the state -- not overwhelming, but certainly much higher than I would have anticipated.
So will Obama carry Georgia with the help of Bob Barr, who represented the state in Congress? At this point, it doesn't even really matter. It would be yet another back-breaker were it the case that Obama beat McCain in Georgia, making it that much more difficult (if not impossible) for McCain to make it to the White House without those 15 electoral votes. But even more important, by making the McCain campaign play defense in a state that the GOP hasn't had to defend during the last two presidential elections, thus spreading its resources even more thinly, Obama increases the likelihood that he is able to win overall. It almost makes you wonder why the Democrats weren't operating under a 50-state strategy earlier...