Looking behind a poll that shows – gasp! – a Democrat leading in Sixth District

Oh, dear. My heavens. Good gosh. A poll of the Sixth District congressional race shows Democrat Jon Ossoff in the lead, doing better than Republican Karen Handel. Wait, wait -- we're not doing this right. Better:

Or, if you’re the Handel campaign, put out a fund-raising email:

"National Democrats have placed a large target on Karen’s campaign, and the poll numbers show they're going all-in against Karen. Will you step up right now to fight back against Nancy Pelosi and her liberal allies?"

The poll that Handel cites was conducted by Clout Research of Dublin, Ohio. It first appeared on Monday at zpolitics.com. You can find the questions and crosstabs by clicking here.

We’re not saying the poll was rigged. But we are saying that if you wanted to rig a poll to portray all Republicans in the race as underdogs and thus in desperate need of campaign cash, this would be one way to do it.

The April 18 race to replace U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, is a non-partisan special election, but is being conducted in a heavily Republican congressional district. There are 18 candidates, including five Democrats and 11 Republicans. The Clout Research poll listed only six candidates – not just by name, but by party:

-- Republican Bob Gray;

-- Republican Karen Handel;

-- Republican Judson Hill;

-- Republican Bruce LeVell:

-- Republican Dan Moody;

-- Democrat Jon Ossoff;

-- Someone else/Don't know.

See what happened? Clout Research did what the Georgia Democratic party itself only dreams it could do – funnel all Democratic votes into the arms of a single candidate. Thus boosting his total.

Actually, Ossoff is under performing here. Democrat Hillary Clinton took 47 percent in the Sixth District just last November. (Donald Trump won it with 48 percent.)

The remaining five Republican candidates in the poll split the rest of the vote. Handel has the name recognition, so her 25 percent share is quite reasonable – and not at all worth panicking over.

An era of fake news and weaponized polls requires all of us to be just a little more astute than usual. Caveat lector.


Speaking of the Sixth District race: Republican state Sen. Judson Hill of Marietta has picked up the endorsement of Georgia Right to Life.


The star power didn't do much for Democrat Hillary Clinton, but Jon Ossoff has some celebrity support for his 6th District congressional bid:


Georgia Alliance for Social Justice and MoveOn.org are hosting a "town hall" protest in front of U.S. Sen. David Perdue's Peachtree Street office at 12:30 p.m. today.


The Democratic National Committee will gather in Atlanta for a three-day meeting that starts Thursday. The locale will be the Westin Peachtree downtown – except on Saturday.

That’s when the party’s new national chairman will be chosen. An overflow crowd of witnesses is expected, and so the festivities will be moved to the nearby AmericasMart facility.


Here’s a press release worth paying attention to:

WSB-TV will partner with the Miller Institute for Public Policy to produce a primetime special celebrating 25 years of the HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K in Georgia. Local news legends Monica Pearson and John Pruitt will host the primetime special that pays tribute to Gov. Zell Miller. The two will also emcee the inaugural Miller Legacy Dinner in Atlanta on Feb. 28, the Miller Institute for Public Policy announced today.


“This partnership with WSB-TV allows us to educate the public on the success of the HOPE Scholarship and Pre-K. These programs represent the signature achievements of my grandfather’s administration,” said Bryan Miller, chairman of the Miller Institute.

Here’s the current invite:

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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.