Hot on the heels of Republican claims that Democrat Jon Ossoff is losing ground in the House special election campaign in the 6th district of Georgia, two new polls indicate he’s still in pretty good shape and could reach the magic 50 percent threshold that would eliminate the need for a June runoff and make him an unlikely congressman on April 18.
A SUSA survey of likely voters for an Atlanta television station shows Ossoff pulling 43 percent of the vote — his high-water mark in the polls so far. Republicans Karen Handel (15 percent) and Bob Gray (14 percent) are jockeying for a runoff spot. If no candidate clears 50 percent the first time around, there will be a runoff in June. Seven percent of voters are still undecided.
Another new poll from pro-Ossoff MoveOn by Lake Research also shows the 30-year-old to be in pretty good shape, with 40 percent in the first round (trailed by Handel with 18 percent and no one else in double digits), with 19 percent still undecided. More importantly, the survey shows him tied with Handel at 45 percent in a hypothetical runoff.
Just yesterday Paul Ryan’s super-PAC was suggesting that its own polling showed Ossoff slipping, though it released no head-to-head numbers for various candidates. As an analysis from Daily Kos Elections noted, this negative rap about Ossoff’s standing is belied by heavy national GOP spending against the Democrat in this traditionally Republican district.
Aside from Ossoff’s numbers in the new published polls, Republicans might be concerned by the nasty competition that has sprung up between Handel and Gray. The Club for Growth, which has endorsed Gray, has already gone harshly negative on Handel, the early front-runner. You can imagine the intra-GOP contest getting even nastier over the next two weeks, which might give Ossoff fresh hope even if he is forced into a runoff.