Georgia Update and (Rasmussen) Polling Roundup
Well, the ongoing theme of razor thin continues to apply to the Georgia gubernatorial primary runoff between Karen Handel and Nathan Deal. Last night finished with Deal holding onto a narrow lead of fewer than 2500 votes. Handel has not conceded the race, as some absentee ballots are yet outstanding and Georgia does have a fair share of military voters. Nevertheless, claiming enough of a majority among the few thousand remaining absentee votes to win the election will be a tall order for Handel. While it is a strong enough possibility to warrant a wait and see attitude until the final numbers are in, closing a 2500 vote gap is somewhat of a long shot.
As with last week’s outcome in Michigan, should our favored candidate not find numbers on our side, the only proper move for conservatives is to rally behind Nathan Deal for Georgia governor. Although some principled conservatives are uncomfortable with the notion of falling in line behind the less desirable candidate, it is often a necessary move. While many Romney supporters have hoped, and still hope that Karen Handel will be the Republican candidate in Georgia, the fact remains that Nathan Deal will be a stronger conservative leader, and better for the state of Georgia than Roy Barnes or anybody the Democrats bring to the table. Remember, too, that with redistricting on the agenda after 2010, this is an extremely important cycle for state governments. Polling shows the potential for the statehouses to trend back toward the Republicans at a crucial time, but only if we avoid division within the party.
As for that polling, it speaks fairly well for the people of Georgia, giving the Republican candidate a narrow advantage over Roy Barnes. Rasmussen Reports polling from before the runoff showed Deal ahead of Barnes 49-43. Should Handel manage to find enough votes to claim victory in the runoff, her lead over Barnes was a bit more narrow, at 45-44. Either way it would not be surprising to see the numbers by the end of August somewhat better than these, as the divisive nature of the primary runoff is behind the voters and Republicans rally around their candidate in stronger numbers.
Republicans are almost certain to elect another Governor in South Dakota as well. In the wake of last week’s poll that showed SD At Large Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in deep trouble against Romney endorsed candidate Kristi Noem, Rasmussen has released a poll on the gubernatorial race showing how truly bad things can be for Democrats in the Mount Rushmore State. Dennis Daugaard, another beneficiary of Romney’s endorsement, has jumped out to a stunning thirty-two point lead over Democrat Scott Heidepriem. This race was never particularly close, and yet the latest poll shows Daugaard’s lead nearly doubling over the past month. If this news is bad for anybody who may have believed Heidepriem still had an outside chance, it is terrible for Herseth Sandlin. Closing her current nine point deficit will be near to impossible, with the candidate at the top of the ticket losing by such a margin. In fact, considering the fair degree of fondness South Dakota has historically shown for Democrats, such a margin should send shockwaves throughout the west.
In Michigan, where Rick Snyder took the primary victory last week, the moderate Republican now finds himself with a respectable twelve point lead in a Rasmussen poll taken the day after the primary. Whether the strong lead is due to Snyder’s recent primary victory is still in question until the numbers are backed by further polling. With the level of dissatisfaction in Michigan for current Democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm and the less than stellar numbers reflected within the poll for President Obama, a steady twelve point lead for Snyder is far from inconceivable. The poll also shows strong favorability ratings for Snyder, compared to a more evenly balanced favorable/unfavorable ratio for the Democrat Virg Bernero. RealClearPolitics and the Cook Political Report both currently see the Michigan gubernatorial race as “Leaning Republican.”
Finally, polling released today has touched on the strong campaign, backed by Mitt Romney, of Tennessee candidate Bill Haslam. Rasmussen reports takes the first post-primary look at the gubernatorial race and shows Haslam leading McWherter by a powerful 56-31 margin. Less than one week removed from the primary, this could also reflect something of a temporary post-primary bounce. Even so, it is hard to say this race will be close once the margin has settled. Factor in less recent polling by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research and by Crawford, Johnson and Northcott for WSMV-Nashville have also shown Haslam up by double digits, and it is safe to say that Republicans will be victorious in the Volunteer State come November.