GA-Sen: FiveThirtyEight Claims A Runoff Would Be Good For Michelle Nunn's (D) Chances

GA-Sen: FiveThirtyEight Claims A Runoff Would Be Good For Michelle Nunn's (D) Chances

So we've been told that a runoff between David Perdue (R. GA) and Michelle Nunn (D. GA) would be bad for Democrats' chances because history in not on Team Blue's side when it comes to runoff. But FiveThirtyEight believes a runoff would be good for Nunn's chances:

Georgia U.S. Senatorial candidates Republican David Perdue, Democrat Michelle Nunn and Libertarian Amanda Swafford, from left to right, participate in a live televised debate at WSB-TV Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

FiveThirtyEight projects Perdue to get 49.7 percent of the vote Tuesday, Nunn to get 47.7 percent and Libertarian Amanda Swafford to get 2.6 percent. Swafford’s standing has slipped slightly in recent polls, from about 4 to 3 percent. Furthermore, our research has found that third-party candidates polling in the low-to-mid-single digits often slightly underperform their polls on Election Day. (This property is accounted for in our projection of Swafford’s vote share.)

Of course, there’s uncertainty in that forecast. Perdue is close to enough to 50 percent of the vote that he could fairly easily surpass it and win outright Tuesday. Specifically, our forecast gives him a 44 percent chance of doing so. Nunn, however, would need to beat her polling projection by 2 to 3 percentage points. There’s only about an 8 percent chance of that. The other 48 percent of the time, the race will go to a runoff.

What would Nunn’s chances be in that event? There are two complications in figuring this out.

First, we’d have two more months of campaigning. That increases the degree of uncertainty. Perhaps Nunn could find a new line of attack against Perdue. Perhaps Perdue would trip himself up, as he nearly did in October after comments he made about outsourcing. Or maybe Nunn would lose by 12 points. But higher uncertainty is good news for the trailing candidate.

The other complication is even wonkier. Conditional upon the race going to a runoff, Nunn will probably have slightly beaten her polling forecast Tuesday. Nunn trails Perdue by 2 percentage points in the FiveThirtyEight forecast. If she does any worse than that, her margin of defeat could be larger than Swafford’s vote share, which means Perdue would win the race outright. But if she does a little better Tuesday, she’ll secure a runoff.

Put another way, the race in Georgia will only go to a runoff if it was very close to begin with. And that suggests a runoff would be close as well. (The model assumes there’s some correlation between the Nov. 4 and runoff outcomes.) Thus, the FiveThirtyEight forecast gives Nunn a 36 percent chance of winning a runoff conditional upon one occurring — better than her chances of winning Tuesday. - FiveThirtyEight, 11/3/14

Not sure I agree with that analysis but maybe they're right. Nunn though seems confident that she can avoid a runoff:

Democrat Michelle Nunn says her campaign is preparing to win her battle for the Senate “the first time” and avoid a runoff election in January.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Nunn said she’s confident that she’s pulled together a broad enough coalition to reach the 50 percent mark in her contest with Republican David Perdue.

“We feel huge enthusiasm, excitement and energy and we really believe that we are going to win tomorrow and do it the first time,” she said. - NBC News, 11/3/14

Nunn's not the only one who feels confident:

Carter – the Democratic candidate for governor — offered a similar prediction while campaigning with U.S. Rep. John Lewis at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.

“Given the giant turnout that we have seen, we feel like we are going to avoid a runoff also and that we are going to win tomorrow on Election Day,” Carter said. “We are excited where we are.”

While their Republicans opponents, Senate hopeful David Perdue and Gov. Nathan Deal, are flying around the state Nunn has kept it “low to the ground,” as she says.

“We’ve been traveling the state for the last 15 months,” Nunn said. “We want to end the way we began. We don’t have a huge RV that says ‘Outsider’ on the side. We have our minivan to go talk to Georgia families and voters. We are very confident. Very excited. We see tremendous enthusiasm and momentum.”

Logan Fowler, a Mercer sophomore studying political science, stood to the side of the rally in his bow tie and blazer. He said Nunn has helped him reveal his true self.

“I’ve been a closeted Southern Democrat for too long,” Fowler said. “I’m a proud supporter now.” - Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/3/14

But if there is a runoff, prepare for this:

If a Jan. 6 runoff occurs, a vast network of super PACs on both sides of the partisan aisle are prepared to unleash a barrage of hard-hitting TV ads to influence voters if partisan control of the Senate still hangs in the balance.

Republicans must have a net gain of six seats today to become the majority in the Senate. As the races come down to the wire, some of the most competitive, in addition to this one in Georgia, are in Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, Colorado and Arkansas.

The candidates may also be heading for a courtroom because a state judge ruled last week against civil rights groups seeking to force the Georgia secretary of state to account for about 40,000 voter registrations that were filed but apparently have not appeared on the voting roles. Most of them were African Americans who tend to vote for Democrats.

Nunn faces an uphill battle because Democrats in Georgia have lost all five runoffs for various offices since 1992. Thanks to recent demographic changes, Nunn's chances in the runoff are considered better than most Democrat candidates in the South, where 49 percent of the nation's Republicans live. Between 2000 and 2010, 80 percent of the new residents who arrived in Georgia were non-whites, Census data shows.

If a nine-week runoff takes place, Nunn and Perdue are expected to argue over who is best qualified to help Georgia bounce back from the 2008 recession. In September, Georgia's unemployment rate of nearly 8 percent was the highest in the nation. The U.S. rate-- just under 6 percent--was the lowest in six years. - Women's E News, 11/4/14

But then again, the GOP's voter suppression tactics could also greatly backfire:

It was a stray comment at the end of a conversation, but it said volumes about how a controversy over voter registration in Georgia might prompt African-American voters to head to the polls Tuesday.

I was walking out of the Rev. Raphael Warnock’s third floor office at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood east of downtown.

As we neared the door, Warnock was speaking about allegations that Georgia’s secretary of state, Brian Kemp, has lost some 40,000 new voter registrations sent in from majority black counties. Kemp has called the complaint “frivolous.” But a coalition of groups, including Warnock’s church and the state and national NAACP, are pressing the issue.

“We hate what (Kemp’s) doing,” Warnock said, “but at the end of the day, he may have done us a favor.” Warnock predicted “historic African-American turnout” on Nov. 4.

“And we have him and his shenanigans to thank," said Warnock.

Warnock’s executive assistant, Esther Harris — who had been listening — looked up from her computer. “Amen,” she said. “Because I wasn’t going to vote.”

Warnock looked surprised that a staffer at what was once Martin Luther King Jr.’s home church hadn’t planned to vote, and the two of them began a conversation as I walked down the hall to an elevator. There I could hear, through the closed door, Harris’ voice rising as she again explained her newfound determination to cast a ballot: “Because of this, I’m going to vote!” - Yahoo News, 11/3/14

What is clear is Perdue is walking a tight rope right now and being incredibly cautious:

Perdue canceled an interview Monday with NBC News, citing a schedule logjam. But reporters were able to reach him at an airport hangar in Atlanta after a campaign event Monday night.

"What this is is another distraction to the people of Georgia away from the critical issue, and that is that the ... policies of this administration are not producing jobs here at home," Perdue said as he headed for a car.

Asked three times by NBC News whether he had ever outsourced jobs, Perdue refused to answer, saying only that he was "energized" by the support he'd received during the campaign,

Then he got into the car and was driven off. - NBC News, 11/3/14

Another thing to consider is the GOP may not appear to be as united behind Perdue:

The week before an election is when partisans normally rally behind their party’s choice. So most Georgia Republicans are keeping their complaints to themselves. But those who spoke with Yahoo News made clear that even if Perdue can pull out a win, there is a reckoning for the state party coming after the election.

And there’s a chance Perdue could actually lose. If neither Perdue nor Democrat Michelle Nunn gets above 50 percent, they will compete in a runoff set for Jan. 6 that could potentially decide control of the U.S. Senate.

One of the main Republican critiques of Perdue is that after the July runoff, the nominee and his campaign scorned those who had supported other candidates in the primary.

“Since the spring, I have said Perdue’s greatest liability was a personal and campaign arrogance,” wrote Georgia native Erick Erickson, the outspoken founder of and a talk radio host, on his blog in October.

Erickson recounted private conversations with Georgia political and opinion leaders who said their offers to help the Perdue campaign had been ignored. “People who opposed Perdue in the primary, reached out after it was over to pledge support, then never heard back,” Erickson wrote.

Chip Lake, a Georgia political consultant who worked for one of Perdue’s rivals in the primary, Rep. Phil Gingrey, said the bigger problem for Perdue’s campaign after the primary was a lack of time to unify the party.

“I don’t know that he’s been reluctant to reach out,” Lake said. “It’s just a multitude of factors, including time. Because of how expensive a state like Georgia is, David’s had to spend a lot of time on the phone raising money to match what Michelle has been able to put up.

“Time was just not on their side, given that they had such a bruising competitive primary and Michelle Nunn didn’t,” Lake added. “That’s clearly worked against him as he attempted to heal a lot of the wounds that were created by individuals that might have been with another candidate.”

But the discontent is real enough that one anonymous Republican told The Hill that having to vote for Perdue is “disgusting,” and that many others in the party feel the same way. - Yahoo News, 11/2/14

We shall see. Runoff or no runoff, Nunn's run a great campaign and maybe Nunn can break Democrats bad luck with runoffs. We'll see. Still time to help with GOTV efforts for Nunn and Carter's campaigns. Click here: