David Perdue leads Michelle Nunn in NYT/CBS/YouGov.com poll

A new NYT/CBS/YouGov.com poll of battleground states shows Republican David Perdue well ahead of Democrat Michelle Nunn in the U.S. Senate race, 47 to 41 percent. Libertarian Amanda Swafford obtains a 3 percent sliver.

Not good news for a candidate who expects to spend the day touring Atlanta at the side of first lady Michelle Obama.

In Georgia, just who will show up to vote lies at the crux of the survey. Methodologically, pollsters apparently to hew to a more conservative path in this, a second wave polling. From Nate Cohn at the NYT’s Upshot:

The new results also reflect an adjustment, or screen, to capture likely voters. The result is an electorate that is older and whiter, and more Republican, than the overall pool of registered voters. The white share of likely voters is two percentage points higher than the white share of registered voters; the share of likely voters over age 65 is 4 percentage points higher than among registered voters.

In the Georgia portion of the poll, women were weighted at 52 percent of the electorate, and African-Americans at 25 percent. In the 2010 general election, female voters accounted for 53 percent of the vote, and black voters made up 28 percent of the electorate.

Earlier this summer, a first survey by the media group came in for some criticism. From Politico:

The American Association for Public Opinion Research’s statement on Friday criticized CBS and the Times for using a survey method that has “little grounding in theory” and for a lack of transparency.

“[M]any of the details required to honestly assess the methodology remain undisclosed,” according to the AAPOR statement, issued under the organization’s letterhead and signed by president Michael Link. “This may be an isolated incident with the Times / CBS News providing more information on this effort in the coming weeks. If not, it is a disappointing precedent being set by two of our leading media institutions.”

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Worth checking out: Holly LaBerge has been fired from her post as executive secretary of the state ethics commission, and the University of Georgia has been forced to shutdown an Obamacare program that connects the uninsured to insurers.

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The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Democrat Michelle Nunn will be heading to the West Coast to raise money Tuesday, after today's big Atlanta fundraiser with Michelle Obama. The Los Angeles event apparently includes the Deal or No Deal guy:

On Tuesday, Nunn -- who has been a frequent visitor to LA's Westside this season, arrives back in town Tuesday for an early evening reception at the Hancock Park mansion of media moguls Michael Kong and Stacey Twilley. Among the hosts contributing $5,200 each to fuel Nunn’s Georgia run are Keith Addis, Marcy Carsey, Sherry Lansing, Michael Lombardo & Sonny Ward, Howie Mandel and Nancy Stephens. Other tickets are scaled from $2,600 apiece down to $500.

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Buddy Carter still has a Democratic opponent to beat, but the coastal Republican state senator has begun examining some of the issues he would have to deal with as Jack Kingston’s successor in Congress. In a newsletter to constituents, he examines the U.S. Export-Import Bank, whose charter must be renewed this month if it is to survive.

Carter also notes that opposition to the overseas credit agency isn’t limited to tea party forces:

[T]he major opposition to the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank comes from the U.S. airline industry, including Georgia based Delta Air Lines, which says that it increases their competition abroad.

According to the airlines, between 2008 and 2013, 26 percent of wide-body aircraft made in the U.S. and sold overseas was financed by the Ex-Im Bank. The loan terms offered with these sales were more favorable than they could have received in the private market, creating an unfair advantage for the foreign airlines.

A major U.S. airline CEO cited one example of loans given by the Ex-Im Bank to an airline based in Dubai that amounted to the equivalent of $20 million per plane, essentially equaling one free plane for the foreign airline for every eight new planes the U.S. airline buys.

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U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County, had some red meat for the Cobb GOP breakfast crowd on Saturday. The "enemy" resides in the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is "ruthless and senile," Westmoreland said, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

A victory by Democrat Michelle Nunn in Georgia's Senate race would be "embarrassing," he said.

But most interesting were remarks by Westmoreland, who serves on the Intelligence Committee, on the topic of ISIS:

“I don’t want to put boots on the ground, but if we want to do what we’re doing right now, we’ll never defeat them,” Westmoreland said. “If you have troops on the ground, you can actually capture these guys and be able to get a little more (intelligence) out of them.”

As Congress returns to D.C. today, this will be a topic of considerable debate.

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Gov. Nathan Deal is steering clear of the debate over GOP heavyweight Randy Evans' comments linking the turmoil in Ferguson, Mo. to President Barack Obama's administration.

Democrats quickly tried to tie Evans, who is Deal's attorney, to the Republican's re-election bid. Asked in Augusta whether he had any comment about the remarks, the governor declined to chime in. "I read a report on it, but I don't have any comment on that."

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Democrat Jason Carter's campaign is getting some heavyweight help. Former Gov. Roy Barnes and Democratic Party of Georgia chair DuBose Porter are among the co-hosts of a Sept. 14 fundraiser at the Capital City Country Club.

Meanwhile, Gov. Nathan Deal is tapping support from a group of Atlanta elite, including prominent developer Scott Taylor, at a Sept. 21 fundraiser in Buckhead.

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Roll Call's annual 50 Richest Members of Congress list is out, and two Georgia Republicans made the cut: Sen. Johnny Isakson and Rep. Tom Price of Roswell.

Isakson, who made his money in real estate, comes in at No. 43 with a minimum $8.93 million net worth. A blind trust in his name doubled in value in 2013, boosting him from No. 54 a year ago.

Price, an orthopedic surgeon, was one spot behind Isakson at No. 44 -- down from No. 42 -- with a minimum $8.87 million to his name.

They have a long way to go to catch the man at the top. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who is worth at least $357 million. But since lawmakers report their assets in ranges, it could be a lot more. Roll Call notes:

"Issa lists seven high-yield bonds as being worth more than $50 million — the highest disclosure category. How much those bonds are actually worth is unknown; they could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars each."

He's not there yet, but Republican U.S. Senate hopeful David Perdue's minimum $11.89 million net worth would make him No. 33 on this list -- between U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

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Over at the Savannah Morning News, Tom Barton has a column on an 18-year-old Georgia Southern student from north metro Atlanta who was beaten to death at a bar – by another underaged young man from metro Atlanta, who served as the bouncer:

It hasn’t been reported whether alcohol was a factor in this so-called bar fight — which, given the extent of Gatto’s injuries, sounds more like savage beat-down. But the legal drinking age in Georgia is 21. That makes the victim and the alleged killer minors in the eyes of the law. It also raises countless questions.

What were both young men doing at Rude Rudy’s in the wee hours of Thursday? How does a minor get hired as a bar bouncer? If Spencer wasn’t working that night, what kind of security did this bar have to protect its patrons? What is Statesboro City Council doing to make sure the town’s local watering holes are following the law? What is GSU doing to reassure parents of its 20,000-plus students that Statesboro is still a relatively a safe place where young people don’t typically get into bar fights and die?

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Our former AJC colleague Ron Martz, who now teaches journalism and history at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, has an op-ed in the Gainesville Times in which he condemns Georgia Republicans for behaving like Washington Democrats when it comes to open government:

Republicans claim to be the party of smaller and more open government. Yet here in Georgia they seem to have no qualms about using the police power of the state to expand government to suppress the free flow of information and cloak their accountability from the people they are supposed to represent.

But it may be that Republicans here are only modeling the current Democrat administration in Washington, D.C.

Shortly after President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, he promised his administration would be the most transparent ever. Yet in 2013 The Nation magazine reported that the Obama administration has trotted out the World War I Espionage Act to prosecute whistle blowers far more than any administration since the law was enacted.

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The Cleveland Plain Dealer says we could have another entrant in the 2016 Republican presidential sweepstakes – if the U.S. Supreme Court cooperates:

He could be hailed as farsighted, a serious leader who opened his party's doors for all people and generations. Rob Portman could be the Republican Party's first post-gay-marriage presidential candidate.

Social conservatives say a Portman presidency, let alone candidacy, cannot happen for that very reason – that Republicans will vote in primaries to reject someone who flipped on gay marriage. Social conservatives see the issue as fundamental to their values.

Yet several forces, political as well as demographic, may converge to render a presidential candidacy by Portman, the Ohio Republican U.S. senator, as at least nominally viable. Key to this is the fact that a Portman candidacy could align with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that would end the legal and constitutional fight over same-sex marriage. Such a ruling could come by next summer, well before the Republican voters go to the first 2016 caucuses and primaries.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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