Post updated at 12:55 p.m.
The time has come to take you into the wild realm of raw, unweighted polling data – the kind that on-the-fly campaigns use to make final-approach decisions.
Chris Huttman is a numbers cruncher who has been polling state House and Senate districts where Democrats hope to make a mark on Nov. 6. Most of them are in metro Atlanta, where both Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney did well in presidential runs -- areas in which Democrats make up between 45 and 55 percent of the vote.
Huttman, a Democrat, thinks he’s come across evidence of a coming revolt among older, female voters. And his numbers were generated before whatever Rubicon is offered up Thursday in a U.S. Senate hearing that will feature U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of assaulting her sexually when they were both in high school.
Huttman shot us some interesting breakdowns of a generic ballot question – Would you vote for a Republican or a Democrat? -- by age and gender, 2016 versus 2018. First, a baseline among all respondents over 50:
-- 2016: 38 percent Democrat, 57 percent Republican (Total: 1,716);
-- 2018: 43 percent Democrat, 51 percent Republican (Total: 2,488);
That’s a Democratic gain of 5 points in two years, compared to a 6 percent loss for Republicans – or an 11-point shift in favor of Democrats. (The MOE is in the +/-2 percent neighborhood here.)
Now let’s break it down. The shift was smallest among men ages 65 and older:
-- 2016: 32 percent Democrat, 63 percent Republican;
-- 2018: 34 percent Democrat, 60 percent Republican;
That’s only a five-point gain for Democrats, well within the margin of error. (MOE for subgroups is +/-4-6)
The next smallest swing was among men between the ages of 50 and 64:
-- 2016: 40 percent Democrat; 53 percent Republican;
-- 2018: 41percent Democrat; 48 percent Republican;
That’s a six-point gain for Democrats, again within the likely margin of error.
It gets interesting when we shift genders: Among women over the age of 65:
-- 2016: 37 percent Democrat, 58 percent Republican;
-- 2018: 44 percent Democrat, 52 percent Republican;
That’s a 13-point Democratic swing, just a bit higher than the largest baseline group.
Finally, we come to women between the ages of 50 and 64:
-- 2016: 44 percent Democratic, 51 Republican;
-- 2018: 54 percent Democratic; 40 percent Republican;
That’s a 21-point shift within this group, far above the 11 percent swing among all older voters. Given that women between the ages of 50 and 64 make up about 18 percent of the voting pool in Georgia, Huttman told us, this is an age group that will hold more than a few political futures in their hands.
The above stats are nearly certain to have an impact in the Sixth District congressional race, never mind the state House and Senate district races contained within it.
Last Friday, U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, R-Roswell, spoke to the Cobb County Republican Women’s Club – before Christine Blasey Ford agreed to testify before a U.S. Senate committee on Thursday.
A 90-second audio clip of Handel’s appearance has surfaced, perhaps made by a Democratic tracker. It records an exchange between the Republican incumbent and an unidentified member of the audience, on the topic of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. It’s one of those rare instances in which the question posed was every bit as important as the answer, especially given the friendly GOP turf. From the audience:
“About this thing with Kavanaugh. I’m in my 70s now. [When I was] 18 years old, I was attacked just like she was. And thank God I got out of it without being raped. But I don’t forget one second of what he did to me. And how does she forget? Ask her that. Because it’s like when Kennedy was assassinated or when the towers fell. We don’t forget. You don’t forget when you’re almost raped.”
The recording at this point is fuzzy enough to draw questions about what the woman said next, but we were able to get her phone number and ask. The woman said she didn’t believe Ford. And here was Handel’s response:
“The country in which I grew up, that afforded such extraordinary opportunities to a young girl leaving home when she was 17, is a country that believes deeply in innocent before proven guilty. And what I most object to in all of this, is this rush to judgment for an individual who, by every account, has had an extraordinary career, has been an exemplary father, and a truly remarkably public servant. So I say, they should tell their stories. If she doesn’t want to stand up and say what happened, with real facts, call the vote.”
By our count, the above audio is the first hit we’ve seen from what appears to be a Democrat-aligned tracker in District race. Such sneak attacks were, of course, commonplace on both sides ahead of last year’s special election, but this year’s race has gotten off to a much sleepier start. We’ve heard mumblings about Republican trackers showing up at recent McBath events as well.
The owners of the lone remaining nuclear power plant under construction in the U.S. granted the project a slight reprieve on Monday, agreeing to proceed if, as one crucial partner demanded, a cap is placed on escalating costs.
That caveat came from Oglethorpe Power, which demanded that Southern Co. cover any costs associated with the Vogtle reactors that exceeded a limit of $800 million higher than the latest $27 billion estimate to finish the project.
That was welcome news to Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor who said she encourages “all parties to come to the table and work together to find a solution that supports the workers and the future of energy in Georgia.”
Her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, called the project “vital for economic development and Georgia’s future.”
“I am encouraged that the co-owners are negotiating a way forward that’s in the best interests of taxpayers,” he added.
A host of GOP leaders, including Gov. Nathan Deal and a majority of the Public Service Commission, have offered their full support for the expansion.
As a House member, Karen Handel doesn’t have a say in whether Kavanaugh will get confirmed. But her response to the recent allegations aligns pretty closely with what we’ve seen from most rank-and-file Republican senators, including U.S. Sen. David Perdue. The Republican on Monday evening said “all information needs to be considered” by the Senate Judiciary Committee, including the new allegations contained in the New Yorker article, but he also expressed a desire to move forward with Thursday’s hearing rather than delay it as Democrats have suggested.
One subject Perdue did not want to weigh in on was Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who’s said to be on the verge of leaving – or being fired from—the administration. Perdue said it was up to his ally President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to decide Rosenstein’s fate. “There's so much innuendo out there. I'm not sure any of us have all the facts,” he said.
One person who was happy about the reported departure was U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Monroe. On Twitter, he called Rosenstein’s exit “long overdue.” The House Freedom Caucus member was one of nine conservatives to introduce articles of impeachment against Rosenstein earlier this summer.
When you’re old enough, you can do this: WSB Radio’s Jamie Dupree said he went back and found his notes from the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearing in 1991. He’s put together a video on the topic, that you can watch here:
Stacey Abrams’ took a swing through New York to raise more cash for her campaign for governor. She met with former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and shared cookies with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo before hitting a fundraiser on billionaire Barry Diller’s yacht.
We’re a couple days late to this, but Hillary Clinton gave social media shoutouts to Stacey Abrams and Lucy McBath ahead of the weekend. In a series of tweets, the former presidential candidate linked to the Georgia Democrats’ campaign websites. “Donate your time or money to their campaigns if you can,” said Clinton. “Our government should represent us, and Congress is only 20% women right now. Let's change that ratio!” Clinton endorsed Abrams in May and McBath more quietly in July, a fact that Handel seized on in a recent fundraising note to supporters.
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