GA-Sen A & B: Emerson Poll Has Both Jon Ossoff (D) & Raphael Warnock (D) Leading

Here’s the latest news today out of Georgia courtesy of Emerson College’s latest poll:

The final Emerson College poll before the November 3rd election in Georgia finds President Trump leading Biden by less than a point, 49% to 48%. Two percent (2%) of voters plan to vote for someone else and 2% are undecided.

Biden leads Trump among independent voters in Georgia 52% to 35%. The majority (72%) of those who did not vote in 2016 and the majority (56%) of voters who voted third party in 2016 are supporting Biden this November

In the first US Senate race, Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff leads incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue 47% to 46%.

In the special US Senate election in Georgia, no candidate reaches the necessary 50% to win the election before a runoff. The plurality of Georgia voters supports Democrat Ralphael Warnock with 37%, followed by Republican Doug Collins with 25%, incumbent senator Kelly Loeffler with 23%, Democrat Matt Lieberman with 6%, and Democrat Ed Tarver with 2%. Five percent (5%) are undecided and 2% plan to vote for someone else.

Georgia voters are split on the job Donald Trump is doing as President, 47% of Georgia voters disapprove and 47% approve of the job he is doing as president.

Voters were asked how much of a public health threat they think coronavirus is and the majority (51%) think it is a major threat while 30% say it is a moderate threat, 15% think it is a minor threat and 5% think it is no threat at all. The majority (79%) of those voting for Biden think it is a major threat while the plurality (42%) of those voting for Trump thinks it is a moderate threat.

The plurality (39%) of Georgia voters say the economy is the most important issue in deciding their vote for president, followed by social justice with 17%, COVID-19 response with 14%, healthcare with 13%, climate change with 6%, and the Supreme Court with 3%.

Among Trump voters, the majority (65%) say the economy is the most important issue.

Biden voters are split between COVID-19 response (27%), social justice (27%), and healthcare (19%).

Even the conservative leaning Landmark Communications final poll shows the momentum for Democrats:

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Perdue took a real beating going into the final stretch:

Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) will skip the final scheduled debate with rival Jon Ossoff after the Democrat launched a fiery attack at a Wednesday forum that went viral.

In the Wednesday debate on WTOC, Ossoff criticized Perdue for downplaying the threat of the coronavirus pandemic at the same time he was buying stocks in health care companies and selling shares in travel-related industries.

“Perhaps Sen. Perdue would have been able to respond properly to the Covid-19 pandemic if you hadn’t been fending off multiple federal investigations for insider trading,” Ossoff said, as Perdue looked stoically into the camera. “It’s not just that you’re a crook, senator. It’s that you’re attacking the health of the people that you represent.”

Video of the exchange posted to Ossoff’s Twitter feed had been viewed nearly 10 million times by late Thursday.

And here’s the current state of the race for Warnock:

So far, Dr. Warnock has benefited from the peculiar nature of his race, an open, multiparty contest that includes two Republicans who are currently splitting the conservative vote, Representative Doug Collins and Senator Kelly Loeffler. Matt Lieberman, a Democrat and the son of former Connecticut Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, has declined to drop out, despite pleas from numerous party leaders.

All of this presents the possibility that no candidate will get a majority of the votes. That would trigger a January runoff, in which Dr. Warnock could face off against a single Republican, who would most likely consolidate conservative support.

For now, though, Ms. Loeffler and Mr. Collins have been so busy attacking each other, and fighting to prove they are the more conservative candidate, that they have had little time to savage Dr. Warnock. That has left him free to define himself, emphasizing his up-from-poverty life story in ads.

And we will have the WNBA to thank for Loeffler’s defeat:

The WNBPA called for Loeffler’s removal from the league in a tweet: “E-N-O-U-G-H! O-U-T!” The league’s statement didn’t go as far, but distanced the WNBA from Loeffler, noting that she hasn’t served on the board of governors since October 2019. “The WNBA is based on the principle of equal and fair treatment of all people and we, along with the teams and players, will continue to use our platforms to vigorously advocate for social justice,” it read.

Days after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Loeffler’s letter to Engelbert, the Dream players, led by center–power forward Elizabeth Williams, shared a signed statement from the franchise account: “Our team is unified in the Movement for Black Lives,” it read. “It is not extreme to demand change after centuries of inequality.” The message did not mention Loeffler by name.

The players didn’t stop there. Realizing that Loeffler was using their attacks to play victim, they made a strategic shift: Instead of simply aiming to take the senator down, they would try to lift one of her opponents up. Led by Bird, they vetted the 21 candidates running in the special election and decided to throw their weight behind one.

On Aug. 4 and 5, players from all 12 teams wore black T-shirts reading VOTE WARNOCK to their games, in support of one of the Democratic candidates facing Loeffler, Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Black man who supports criminal justice reform and LGBTQ issues. At the time, Warnock had a relatively low profile: In the most recent poll before the players’ endorsement, he had come in fourth place overall and second among Democrats, with just 9% of the vote. Suddenly, though, his name was national news.

And Stacey Abrams:

If there is one person who is both most responsible for Georgia’s emergence as a competitive state, and most likely to benefit from a Democratic victory here, it is Stacey Abrams. The 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate’s near miss — she lost by 1.4 points — made Georgia the new North Carolina: a recently red Southern state undergoing dramatic demographic change that has made it competitive for the foreseeable future.

Since her campaign ended in November 2018, Abrams, who is 46, has flirted with running for president, was recruited and passed up a chance to run for Senate, and was vetted by the Biden campaign as a potential running mate. Through it all, she has kept an eye on a couple of things: making sure Georgia was treated as a serious swing state by the Democratic presidential campaign and preparing for a likely race for governor in 2022.

“Back in 2019, I met with every major candidate who was running for president and I had two messages,” she told me. “One, voter suppression is real and it’s one of the reasons that we lost across the country. But two, Georgia is a competitive state and it would be malpractice to not pay attention. Luckily both of those messages broke through.”

Abrams wrote the playbook for Democrats in the state — literally. She and her former campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, put together a 16-page data-rich document detailing the trends in the state benefitting her party and the strategies and resources necessary to take advantage of them. The state was attracting thousands of new voters, many from blue Northern states, and “[e]ach person who moves to Georgia and votes is almost twice as likely to vote Democratic than Republican.”

Black voters were growing as a percentage of the electorate, populations of Latino and Asian American voters were getting large enough to be significant Democratic-leaning voting blocs, and white suburban voters, especially women, were trending away from Trump. (Abrams won 25 percent of white voters in 2018, four points more than Hillary Clinton in 2016.)

And it’s paying off:

The state hasn't backed a Democratic presidential nominee since 1992, but an influx of young, college-educated transplants to the Atlanta metro area are boosting the state’s numbers of Democratic voters. Additionally, recent polling shows there's the possibility that larger numbers of white suburban women turned off by Trump could vote Democratic, plus two extremely competitive Senate races further juicing the turnout.

Still, the biggest one is the sheer number of new, mostly Black voters.

Many of these newly registered voters are now politically engaged because of the group Fair Fight, a voter rights organization started by the Democrat Stacey Abrams following her narrow loss in the 2018 gubernatorial race, that says it has registered more than 800,000 new voters in the state.

And now, those people are going to the polls.

As of Saturday, nearly 3.9 million Georgians had already cast their ballots — more than 94 percent of the total number cast in the state in 2016.

More than 26 percent of those voters are new or infrequent voters, according to a recent Associated Press analysis of political data — a fact that, given the Democrats’ large registration numbers, heavily favors the party.

As for Doug Collins, this is who he’s bringing in to help close out his campaign:

Longtime presidential ally and GOP operative Roger Stone will campaign with Rep. Doug Collins in Georgia on Monday in an effort to boost the Republican's Senate bid.

Collins’s appearance with the right-wing provocateur and Trump ally on the eve of Election Day comes as he looks to shore up conservative support in the Peach State.

The GOP lawmaker is locked in a tight race against incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) as well as Democrat Raphael Warnock for a chance to finish Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R) term in Georgia.

And as for the presidential election:

Former President Obama will head to Florida and Georgia on Monday to stump for Joe Biden and down-ballot Democrats on the eve of Election Day, the former vice president’s campaign announced.

Obama will campaign on behalf of Biden and Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in Atlanta. He will also travel to South Florida, a key Democratic stronghold in the Sunshine State to rally support for Biden’s presidential bid.

The former president has taken a more active role in campaigning for Biden in recent weeks. He is set to appear alongside his former vice president at events in Detroit and Flint, Mich., on Saturday.

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