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An exclusive zpolitics/Clout Research poll has found that Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel hold the greatest early leads among voters in the race for the Sixth Congressional District.
Eight weeks out from the special election to replace Tom Price, the survey found that Democrat Ossoff leads over other candidates with 32 percent support. Behind him is former Republican Secretary of State Handel, who holds 25 percent support, while John’s Creek Councilman Bob Gray was favored by 11 percent of respondents.
The poll also included former State Senator Judson Hill (nine percent), former State Senator Dan Moody (two percent), and Trump diversity coalition leader Bruce LeVell (one percent).
While the upcoming special election has garnered national attention for the seat’s potential to go blue, the poll results hint that efforts to disparage Donald Trump may not pay off. 58 percent of all respondents said that they have a favorable opinion of the Republican President, while 42 percent said they felt unfavorably. It’s good news for many GOP candidates, who have made their support for the commander-in-chief central to their campaign’s messaging.
It also means that a runoff election could likely lead to a defeat of heavily-funded Democratic candidate Ossoff.
“Democrats are much more settled in their decision about this race,” Clout pollster Fritz Wenzel said, adding that 69 percent of Democrats are solid in their support of Ossoff. “While Ossoff may win the primary, it is highly unlikely he would win the runoff election.”
According to the survey, the loyalty of Republican voters is still up for grabs. While 45 percent of GOP respondents said they are “somewhat firm” in their choice, 26 percent said that they are not committed to one particular candidate.
Jay Williams, a Georgia-based political consultant and founder of The Stoneridge Group, said Handel’s lead will make her a target for other Republican hopefuls looking to gain momentum.
“I don’t think it’s any surprise that Handel is the leading among Republicans at this point,” Williams said. “It’s still very early, but I think it’s fair to say that among Republicans, she’s the one to beat. You are going to see folks starting to take some swings at her to bring her numbers down.”
He added that others, like former State Senator Judson Hill, could have a fighting chance for the House seat if he plays his cards well.
“Judson Hill was the initial ‘Conventional Wisdom’ pick to challenge Handel, but he has almost no support outside of Cobb. He announced months ago and has been campaigning longer than anyone but statistically trails a first-term city council member. He’s going to need to do a better job telling his story,” Williams said. “Things tend to settle out from the first poll but this race is very short. Early voting starts in 5 weeks. If a campaign hasn’t significantly differentiated itself by then, they shouldn’t plan on going to Washington.”
The survey, which ran between February 17 to 18, polled 694 likely special election voters from the Sixth Congressional District.
The special election will take place on April 18th, with a runoff set for June 20th. The District includes Cobb, DeKalb, and Fulton counties.
Check back for more, or take a look at the topline report below if you just can’t take the anticipation:
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