The Forecast for Georgia Runoffs

Elections

“It’s a sorry comment on the polling industry when the most relevant public data on the state of the January 5 Georgia Senate runoff elections may be the weather forecast,” notes our friend James Lucier of the political intelligence firm Capital Alpha.

A forecast of sunny and warm for Election Day bodes well for Republican chances of winning and preserving their majority in the Senate. It used to be that Republicans had a turnout advantage in case of rain. Now, for Republicans, it is all about turnout on Election Day, and sunny weather favors that.

The polling in Georgia is all over the map if one looks at statistically insignificant differences inside the margin of error. The best one can say is that the polls show a close race with the candidates basically tied.

Similarly, the early voting statistics don’t tell a clear story. Early voting numbers give both Democrats and Republicans something to cheer for.

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About 31 percent of early voters were African American, a higher number than their 30 percent share of the state’s registered voters.

But as data scientist Lenny Bronner points out in the Washington Post, absentee and early votes can often paint a false picture.

 In 2016, absentee votes indicated Hillary Clinton would win the swing state of Iowa but “Donald Trump ended up winning Iowa comfortably, by more than 9 percentage points. The Election Day electorate had simply been underestimated.”

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