Political Insider

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The Jolt: Georgia’s Democratic future may begin with those born after 1974


By now, you’ve probably seen the results of an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News poll of Georgia’s race for governor that shows Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp deadlocked at 45 percent, with a mere 8 percent undecided. Libertarian candidate Ted is getting 2 percent of the vote.

More than 1,000 likely voters were polled, which brings the margin of effort down to 3.1 percentage points. Click here to download the crosstabs, or see them below

Racially, the contest is highly polarized, with Kemp attracting support from 4 percent of African-Americans, and Abrams – seeking to become the first black woman governor in the nation – pulling 27 percent of white voters surveyed.

That last state could be interpreted as good news for Abrams. In the 2014 race for governor, Democratic challenger Jason Carter, facing an incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal, pulled an estimated 23 percent of the white vote.

Democrats appear to be winning the intensity game. Forty-three percent of Democrats voters polled say they’ve become more politically active since President Donald Trump’s election, compared to 24 percent of Republicans.

Remember that this is just a snapshot. Georgia voters can be elastic, and have a history of snapping back to favor Republican candidates in the final weeks of a campaign.

Yet even a snapshot can reveal some long-term trends. If you want to see the future of Georgia, check out the age crosstab in the race for governor.

Among voters 65 years and older, Kemp has a comfortable 54 to 40 percent lead, a margin that would be familiar to Republicans in past years. Even among voters between the ages of 45 and 64, the gap remains workable, 49 to 42 percent.

It is among voters born after 1974 that Republican ground begins to slip away. Among voters between the ages of 30 and 44, Abrams surges to 61 percent in the AJC/Channel 2 poll, compared to 29 percent for Kemp. She leads Kemp 44 to 38 percent among voters between 18 and 29 years old – the smallest age category, representing 7 percent of those polled.

Inject President Donald Trump’s name into the conversation, and the Democratic age advantage quickly grows. Trump’s disapproval/approval rating among those 45 to 64 years old is within the margin of error, at 49 to 44 percent. Two-thirds of those between 30 and 44 disapprove, as do 61 percent of voters under 29. The president’s approval rating exceeds his disapproval, barely, only among voters 65 and over, 49 to 45 percent. Have a look:

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A poll isn’t absolutely necessary to see that Georgia’s race for governor has become a tight one. Attacks are growing harsher.

On Thursday, a press release from Brian Kemp spokesman Cody Hall criticized Abrams for taking a “walk on efforts to crack down on sex trafficking.” He alleged that Abrams wants to turn Georgia “into the next California.” Wrote Hall: 

“She will coddle criminals, protect sex offenders, and ignore the gang crisis that’s flooding our streets with drugs, violence, and fear. It’s clear that Stacey Abrams will always put George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and her out-of-state, out-of-touch backers first.”

It’s the latest example of the Nancy Pelosi effect we explored here.

But Kemp’s team said he was also specifically targeting Abrams’ 2017 non-vote on House Bill 341, a measure that broadened the definition of sex trafficking and set a mandatory minimum of 10 years for certain offenses.

Abrams’ spokeswoman Priyanka Mantha said the accusation was the mark of a “desperate campaign,” and said Abrams has a “trusted, proven track record of working closely with survivors of assault.”

Mantha did not address Abrams’ non-vote on the proposal, although the former House minority leader often opposed mandatory minimum sentences that don’t give judges discretion. 

We also heard from Grace Starling, a prominent sexual assault survivor and Abrams backer who called Kemp’s attacks “despicable.”

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In Washington, Democrats have been warning their candidates not to use the “I-word.” But President Donald Trump was in Billings, Mont., last night, to boost Republican challenger Matt Rosendale’s U.S. Senate campaign against Democratic Jon Tester. And Trump didn’t hesitate. From the Associated Press:

"Let's say a Democrat gets elected and let's say we have a Republican House. We will impeach that Democrat, right?" Trump said. "You're going to have a country that's going to turn into a third-world country because if the opposite party becomes president, every time before it even starts, before you even found out whether or not he or she is going to do a great job, they'll say, 'We want to impeach him!'"

"If it does happen, it's your fault because you didn't go out to vote," Trump said.

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By the way, Axios says you can add Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to the list of Trump administration officials who have denied being the author of that anonymous op-ed of “resistance” published Wednesday by the New York Times.

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A bill with U.S. Rep. Karen Handel’s name on it is cruising through the House this morning – but not without some controversy. Bear with us as we break it down.

The Community Safety and Security Act is essentially the House GOP’s response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court verdict that found the definition for what constituted a “violent felony” as it relates to the deportation of immigrants to be unconstitutionally vague. After the 5-4 ruling, in which Neil Gorsuch sided with the court’s liberals, President Trump called on Congress to “close loopholes that block the removal of dangerous criminal aliens.”

Handel’s bill seeks to clarify what specifically constitutes a “crime of violence,” including voluntary manslaughter, attempted kidnapping and sexual assault. “This provides legal clarity for law enforcement and the judicial system rather than leaving it up to each judge to decide,” Handel’s office said about the legislation.

But some Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee say the GOP is ramming the bill through Congress without taking the time to fully understand all of its implications. Via National Journal

Democrats said the haste with which the bill is being brought to the floor could lead to more ambiguity and unintended consequences in non-immigrant criminal law. Although most of the crimes enumerated in the bill are undoubtedly crimes of violence, Democrats homed in on "fleeing" and "interference with a flight crew" as particularly problematic.

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In endorsement news, Attorney General Chris Carr’s campaign unveiled more than 400 members of the “Women for Carr” coalition that includes U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tricia Pridemore and First Lady Sandra Deal. See the entire list here. 

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