A new poll conducted by Lake Research Partners, a Washington-based Democratic consulting group, reports that Hillary Clinton holds a 13-point margin over Donald Trump here in Georgia, and a seven-point margin over Ted Cruz.¹
According to the pollsters, such numbers "show the promising nature of Georgia as the next emerging swing state in the South, following North Carolina and Virginia," but they warn that "resources -- including both time and money -- will be needed to see these positive figures come to fruition for Georgia to be a swing state in 2016 and beyond."
I am not buying it, not for a minute.
Sure, Trump and Cruz are both badly flawed general-election candidates, and at the national level Republicans are in trouble in the fall regardless of which man tops their ticket. The Lake poll reports that 64 percent of Georgia voters look at Trump unfavorably, with 50 percent looking unfavorably upon Cruz, to which I say maybe. In this kind of political environment, and depending on how the next seven months go, it is possible that red states such as Georgia can be brought into play by the Democrats. In 2012, Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama by eight points in Georgia, and if the GOP campaign is a total trainwreck, eight points are not insurmountable.
But with all that said, the numbers in this poll still do not seem credible.
Among other warning signs, the poll reports that Barack Obama has a 56 percent approval rating in Georgia, with just 41 percent of Georgians viewing him unfavorably. While national polls do show a significant uptick in approval for Obama, none put him as high as the 56 percent reported here. And the number is frankly implausible in Georgia.
The poll also reports that Hillary Clinton has a 49 percent approval rating in Georgia, with 48 percent viewing her unfavorably. That's not great, but again, it's significantly higher than the numbers being reported nationally. According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Clinton has a 40 percent approval rating and a 54 percent disapproval rating nationally. There is no reason to believe that she's doing significantly better in Georgia than she's doing nationally.
Any Democratic strategists who base their approach to the campaign on numbers like these are falling for fool's gold.
¹The poll of 400 likely voters has a margin of error of +-4.9 percent. It was conducted March 31-April 3.