Polls show Cobb County voters want Braves closer, but don't want to pay for the move

With a primary vote only days away, a pair of polls commissioned by an anonymous group of Atlanta business interests has found that voters in the northern half of Cobb County – who are about to weigh in on two county commission races – like the idea of the Braves moving closer.

But they have no interest in paying taxes to move the team across the Chattahoochee River.

One poll examines the opinions of 400 voters in District 1, which covers the county’s northwest quandrant. Commissioner Helen Goreham, who supported the Braves incentive package, is not running for re-election.

In a separate survey, another 400 voters were tapped in District 3, which covers northeast Cobb. There, incumbent Commissioner JoAnn Birrell has two opponents in a GOP primary – Michael Opitz and Joseph Pond. Which means a runoff is possible.

Results of the two polls are roughly the same, but we’ll concentrate on the results in District 1 (northwest Cobb) for the sake of time and space:

-- 85 percent declared themselves very satisfied or satisfied with their community.

-- 84 percent have paid some or a lot of attention to the news about the Atlanta Braves.

-- 59 percent strongly or moderately support the Braves decision to move the team to Cobb. More (68 percent) if you don’t support the tea party. Less (55 percent) if you do.

-- But on the question of taxes, the bottom drops out. Thirty percent strongly or moderately support the use of public monies to help finance the Braves move. Sixty-four percent oppose.

-- And yet, 57 percent view the Braves deal as a fait accompli.

-- Fifty-three percent want more public hearings. And 39 percent think the county commission hasn’t been upfront about the true public costs of the Braves move. Only 13 percent believe the county commission has been transparent and open about the process.

The polls were not candidate specific. So it’s tough to say whether Birrell, the northeast Cobb incumbent, is in any trouble.

The methodology of the two polls appears strong. The voice interviews were conducted from April 29 to May 1, 2014 by landline and cell phone. In each, the margin of error is 4.8% at the 95% confidence level.


Ray Boyd has maxed out to Sam Snider, the high school wrestling coach who is challenging House Speaker David Ralston in a bitter north Georgia Republican primary fight.

The wealthy real estate executive is barred by state law from giving him any more cash.

But as an incentive to boost attendance at an Ellijay press conference on Saturday, Boyd offered $5,000 to one person who came. He did. Glen Snider, father of the candidate for state representative, won an impromptu raffle.

On Monday, Helen Snider gave $2,500 to her son’s House campaign, according to this contribution report.

Perhaps out of enthusiasm, perhaps out of ignorance, some good people may be doing things they ought not to up in north Georgia. And if we had a state ethics commission worthy of the name, they would be looking into things like this.


This is the apparent sequel to Kingston's Common Core mailer. We might need to sic Politifact on this line: "Now David Perdue wants to run the country." Ask Johnny Isakson or Saxby Chambliss sometime if they think they run the country.

As for Pillowtex, Perdue was on WGAU (1340am) with Tim Bryant and Martha Zoller this morning. Here's what he said about the criticism:

“These people making these attacks have never really run a public business, a big business. They knew this company was already in bankruptcy when I was called out there to help. They don’t remind anybody of that. So I went out there to help. We found some things that were missed during the bankruptcy, that could not be solved. The investors didn’t just didn’t have the money to solve a large pension liability, so there was no way to go.”


Branko Radulovacki had a traumatic experience driving home from a middle Georgia campaign event on Monday evening with his campaign manager Elliott Smith.

The Democratic candidate for Senate, who goes by Dr. Rad, said his manager wasn't speeding, didn't violate any rules of the road and hadn't been drinking when he was pulled over by a campus police officer in Milledgeville. His apparent crime, Radulovacki said, was "driving while black." Here's what Radulovacki told his supporters:

"That phrase -- "driving while black" -- had come up at our children's high school as part of a discussion of racism. Honestly, as a white male, I didn't take it seriously. But I do now.

The officer asked us both for driver's licenses -- even though I wasn't driving. He pulled Elliott out of the car for a breathalyzer -- which read .00, as he told the officer it would. When the policeman ran Elliott's license, he told us it was suspended. Elliott produced paperwork proving that was incorrect. The police officer took his license anyway....

We spent the rest of the drive home talking about race relations and what it's like to be a person of color in the South. In minority communities, there is profound distrust of a system that permits an officer to confiscate the ID required to vote just before it's needed -- especially if the "violation" isn't one."

Radulovacki said in a followup interview that he hopes his experience encourages more dialogue about racial profiling. Already, he said, his inbox and Facebook page has been flooded with similar stories from others.

"Reading about it and hearing about it is one thing," he said. "But when you're actually in the car when it happens it really opens your eyes."


In a move that surprises no one, the Sierra Club of Georgia endorsed Democrat Jason Carter in the governor's race.

The endorsement cited the Deal administration's Earth Day decision to ease a 25-foot coastal marshland buffer as well as a refusal to partner with a Department of Interior program pushing more offshore wind generators. Mark Woodall, who chairs the local Sierra Club chapter, had this to say:

"Where Gov. Deal and his cronies have stalled or rolled back critical coastal protections, Jason Carter will move Georgia forward. Gov. Deal's friends in the state Legislature are also playing roulette with aquifers that supply millions of gallons of water for Georgia agriculture and industry. Jason Carter can and will do better for our coast and water resources."


We told you yesterday about a new Phil Gingrey ad, which for the first time in this race revives a 2010 point of attack against Karen Handel: Gay rights.

The Gingrey ad's narrator asks "will we condone Karen Handel's vote for YouthPride that promotes teenage homosexuality?"

In the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Nathan Deal took whacks at Handel for supporting gay adoption when she was on the Fulton County Commission. Handel's campaign said she never supported gay adoption and that emails from her stating otherwise were not actually written by Handel.

A Deal TV ad that year also brought up Fulton County grants to YouthPride. The Atlanta organization provides a social outlet for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning teenagers, and works to prevent teen suicide.

The Handel camp is taking the attack as a compliment. Said Corry Bliss, Handel's campaign manager:

“Gingrey’s attack is a laughable last-minute smear. But it does show that his campaign has polling data that has Karen either in first or second place.

"Each commissioner chose their own grants, and this was not Karen's grant. Karen has been clear: she believes marriage is between one man and one woman, and when the Fulton County Commission voted on gay partner benefits, she voted no."


The liberal folks at ThinkProgress captured Karen Handel's thoughts on the minimum wage the other day in Athens: She does not think it should exist:


WSB's Lori Geary caught up with Michelle Nunn yesterday to prod her about why she's forgoing the station's weekend debate between Democratic candidates for Senate. This was Nunn's answer:

“They are tired of hearing people, you know, politicians debate among themselves and what they want is someone who is going to listen to them.”


Here's a sign that Congress' Voting Rights Act update, which is backed by Rep. John Lewis, isn't going to happen this year: Advocacy organizations including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the League of Women Voters and the NAACP are holding a news conference on Thursday to "urge" the recalcitrant U.S. House to act.

They had been quiet for a while, fearing that raising a ruckus would make conservative Republicans dig in. But this bill has been on ice since it was introduced in January, so the silent treatment has not worked.


State Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs, up for a life-time job on the federal bench, endured a severe Senate Judiciary Committee grilling on Tuesday for votes he cast while a state lawmaker, on the topics of abortion and the 1956 state flag and its Confederate battle emblem. But all is not lost, according to the Washington Post:

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that he hopes to schedule a vote soon to confirm [David] Barron and that he will support him. But Reid said he would withhold judgment on Boggs.

Other Democratic senators said Tuesday that they also will withhold judgement on Boggs. But [Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa] predicted that Boggs will survive the confirmation process despite Democratic opposition.

“This is something the White House really wants,” Grassley said.


You can count this as the gaffe of the week. Maybe the year. From the New York Times:

For nearly 50 years, John Conyers Jr. has represented Detroit in the House of Representatives. He is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and the second-longest-serving member of Congress still holding office.

But now he may be felled by a political mistake fit for an amateur: His petitions for re-election lack enough valid signatures.

The misstep has left politicians and constituents amazed. After all, at this point in his career, Mr. Conyers should be a shoo-in, his campaign machine fine-tuned. He first took office in 1965 during the auto industry’s boom years, long before towering debt and municipal bankruptcy took hold. Many here cannot recall when they were last represented by someone else.

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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.