NEW POLL: Jon Ossoff, Karen Handel In Dead Heat In Georgia’s 6th District Runoff

Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel are in a dead heat in Georgia’s 6th congressional runoff election for the vacant House seat. (Ossoff for Congress/Handel for Congress)

A new poll released May 14 shows Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff in a dead heat as the two campaigns approach the June 20 runoff election.

Florida-based Gravis Marketing performed the poll, which shows Ossoff leading Handel 47 percent to 45 percent with just over one month until voters in Georgia’s 6th congressional district go to the voting booth. It was conducted from May 8-10 and had a 3.3 percent margin of error, signifying that the race is virtually a tossup.

Click here to see the full results of the poll.

Gravis conducted a random survey of 870 likely voters in Georgia via voice responses and an online panel of cell phone users.

One of the more interesting findings in the poll was that people who didn’t vote during the primary are supporting Ossoff over Handel. The poll found that 53 percent of respondents who are in that category are leaning Ossoff’s way. Another 32 percent said they were likely to vote Handel.

Although the poll showed that Ossoff has a slight lead on Handel, she has a lead when it comes to favorability. Forty-one percent of respondents to the survey said they have a favorable opinion of her, while 35 percent gave her an unfavorable rating.

Ossoff, on the other hand, had a 40 percent favorability rating compared to 45 percent unfavorability.

Other Polling Suggests Similar Outcome

Previous polls in the runoff election have shown similar results. When compiling those polls together, Ossoff has an overall average lead of just 0.6 points on Handel.

One poll released in early May conducted for WSB-TV showed Handel leading Ossoff 49.1 percent to 46.5 percent.

But a separate poll performed by a Democratic polling firm showed results very similar to the most recent one. Respondents were surveyed right after the first round of the special election, and the results showed Ossoff ahead of Handel by one point (48-47).

The results of the three recent polls for the runoff continue to show just how close the race in the 6th district is. The district, which covers much of Atlanta’s northern suburbs, hasn’t voted a Democrat into the seat since 1965 with John J. Flynt Jr.

A Race of National Importance

The race is to replace former Republican Rep. Tom Price in the U.S. House of Representatives. Price was selected to serve as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services by President Donald Trump.

Sensing the importance of the congressional race, record amounts of money and national support has continuously poured into the race. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the current cost of the race is now over $30 million, which makes it the most expensive race for a House seat ever.

The election is largely seen as a referrendum on the Trump administration and its policies. Because of that, national Republicans such as Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump himself have backed Handel by putting on fundraisers and issuing robocalls.

Ossoff has received the support of Sen. Bernie Sanders and national Democratic groups, which have also poured their support and funds into the race.

Ossoff Close to Winning Election Outright

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Jon Ossoff speaks with the media on April 15, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Getty)

The first round of voting was April 18, and Ossoff fell just short of the 50 percent support needed to win the special election outright. He got 48.1 percent of the vote to Handel’s 19.8 in the crowded field of 18 candidates.

The outcome sent the special election to the June 20 runoff.

Because there were 11 Republican candidates in the original field, many thought those votes would be passed onto Handel, the former Georgia secretary of state.

But Ossoff’s key has remained to get new voters of the younger demographic out to the polls in the district, and in large numbers. He’s a first-time candidate whose popularity with voters has taken many by surprise.

Ossoff, the CEO at an investigative film making-company, was a relatively unknown player in the political system just months ago. His past includes working as a staffer for Rep. John Lewis’ office.

Debate Schedule Up In the Air

Democrat Jon Ossoff, left, and Republican Karen Handel are likely to face off in a runoff election in Georgia’s 6th district June 20. (Twitter)

Shortly after the first round of voting, Ossoff challenged Handel to six debates, and her campaign seemed to encourage them.

“We welcome any chance to highlight Jon Ossoff’s inexperience and are excited to have a robust debate on the issues,” a campaign spokesperson said.

But the six debates were whittled down to three, and then two, after Handel declined an invitation to debate at Dunwoody Homeowners Association.

Handel’s campaign spokesperson Charlie Harper told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the campaign is vetting debate invites and will eventually produce an official schedule.

“Karen is looking forward to having several debates where she will highlight for Georgia families how Jon Ossoff’s dangerously liberal policies will increase taxes and put our national security at risk,” Harper told the paper.