Experts try to make sense of gap between polls and vote in… | www.myajc.com

5
Nov

Experts try to make sense of gap between polls and vote in… | www.myajc.com

“We have major polling problems (in Georgia),” said Kerwin Swint, chairman of the political science department at Kennesaw State University.

“No one here knows how to model turnout based on voting patterns, population, and issues.”

Across the nation, some polls underestimated Republican groundswell on Tuesday. But in Georgia the results were among the most heavily skewed. Survey after survey suggested that Republicans Gov. Nathan Deal and U.S. Senator-elect David Perdue might not surpass the 50 percent benchmarks needed to avoid long, costly and unpredictable runoffs.

The state attracted national attention as pundits speculated that the outcome in Georgia could decide whether Republicans won control of the U.S. Senate.

Instead, Deal and Perdue won election Tuesday with 53 percent of the vote, a full 8 percentage points ahead of their Democratic opponents.

A morning-after analysis by polling guru Nate Silver listed Georgia as one of the states with polling that was the most heavily biased toward Democrats — off by 6.4 percentage points in the race for the U.S. Senate and 4.6 points in the governor’s contest.

Buoyed by demographic changes and waves of newly registered voters, out-of-power Democrats were hopeful for a resurgence. Republicans have dominated state politics even since underdog Sonny Perdue in 2002 was elected the first Republican governor since Reconstruction.

Landmark Communications, based in Alpharetta, surveyed Georgia voters in the final days before the election and placed both Deal and Perdue with  leads.

 

“We identified the Republican surge that took place in the closing days,” Landmark president Mark Rountree said.

 

“And in the end Georgia had the same surge for Republicans that the rest of the country saw, so the GOP candidates scored a few more percentage points than our, or anyone’s, poll reflected.”

 

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