POLL: Ossoff, Handel in Dead Heat Days Before Debate

Jon Ossoff, left, and Karen Handel (Getty/YouTube)

A new poll released by WSB-TV shows Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel in a dead heat just weeks before the runoff election for the vacant U.S. House of Representatives seat.

The survey was performed by Landmark Communications, and Ossoff held a slight lead — 49.1 percent to 47.6 percent — on Handel. It polled 500 voters in the district over the phone and online from May 30-31 and had a 4.38 percent margin of error.

Ossoff had the edge with the younger demographic. Fifty-nine percent of respondents ages 18 to 39 said they would vote for Ossoff if the election were held today. Handel received 37.3 percent of that age group. But the former Georgia Secretary of State showed promise with seniors, getting 58.5 percent support of those aged 65 or older.

“We’re looking at a dead heat,” Landmark Communications President Mark Rontree said to WSB-TV. “Probably right now we’re within a 2 to 3 point margin either way. Really, either candidate could win that.”

See the full results of the poll below:

The election is being held to replace former Rep. Tom Price, who was confirmed as the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Ossoff has led in a majority of the polls since he claimed 48.1 percent of the votes in the special election that was held April 18. Handel got 19.78 percent, and the two are now headed toward June 20 runoff — a candidate needed at least 50 percent of votes to win the seat outright.

The polling averages have shown Ossoff growing a lead on Handel since March, and a May 22 poll showed his lead had swelled to 7 points.

In addition to the polling, recent betting market odds have flipped to favor Ossoff in the race.

A Democrat hasn’t represented the 6th district since 1965 when John J. Flynt Jr. was elected to serve in the House. But Ossoff’s promising performance in the April 18 election raised many eyebrows in the historically red district, and the congressional race has gained national exposure.

On May 8, the race surpassed a record $30 million in spending, signifying just how important the race is for both parties.

Early voting is also approaching historic numbers, with almost 25,000 ballots being cast in two days, either through the mail or in-person.

With under three weeks remaining until Election Day, the two will debate publicly for the first time on June 6 on WSB-TV. They are set to debate three more times after that.

The race is largely seen as a referendum on President Donald Trump and his policies, though Ossoff has declined to say as much.

But Trump himself has realized the importance of the runoff for the GOP. He’s has publicly embraced Handel’s campaign, placing a robocall for her prior to the April 18 election, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has campaigned with her.

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