Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

The Jolt: Some harsh notes on a poll of the race for mayor of Atlanta

We told you earlier this week about an 11Alive/Survey USA horse-race poll that put Mary Norwood ahead with 28 percent in the race for mayor of Atlanta.

Late Thursday, Steve Anthony, a longtime observer of Georgia politics who once served as House Speaker Tom Murphy’s chief of staff, tapped out some worrisome objections to survey’s presumptions. He avoids the question of who benefited:

Yet again we are subjected to the “findings” of a seriously flawed poll and its methodology and weighting, or in this case, minimal to no weighting. The SurveyUSA poll of the Atlanta mayor’s race and a couple of other races, paid for by WXIA and released this week, showed some “results” that defy reason. And sure enough, when you look at the models they used, you can see why.

A couple of quick stats about Atlanta voters to set the table. Sixty-five percent are age 18 to 50, while 35 percent are over 50. Forty-eight percent are men and 52 percent are women.

But, according to information provided by the SurveyUSA poll, voters over age 50 are significantly over-represented.

Sixty-five percent of the sample is comprised of voters over 50, even though they only make up 35 percent of Atlanta’s registered voters.

The male-female numbers are off, as well. Even though there are more women registered to vote than men, the sample has 50 percent of each group.

Perhaps most egregious is that of all those called, 72 percent were reached on a landline---which does correspond to the over-50 demographic. All information currently says that fewer than half of all voters have a landline. Given that almost three-quarters of the sample was reached on a landline, it’s no wonder that older voters are so disproportionately represented. And that is where this poll falls apart.

I have no problem with someone putting out sloppy work. But, when it is covered in the news as valid and hence influences the serious task of electing our next mayor, I draw the line. I urge the media to be more responsible when putting this kind of information out there. It’s not fair to the voters or candidates vying for their support.


Speaking of the Atlanta race for mayor: The Buckhead Coalition, headed up by former mayor Sam Massell, has issued its list of endorsements, backed up with cash from the group’s political action committee:

-- Council president: Alex Wan;

-- Post 1 at-large: Michael Bond;

-- Post 2 at-large: Cory Ruth;

-- Post 3 at-large: Andre Dickens;

-- District 6: Kirk Rich;

-- District 7: Howard Shook;

-- District 8: J.P. Matzigkeit

Non-Buckhead representatives receiving endorsements/cash:

-- District 1: Carla Smith;

-- District 2: Amir Farokhi;

-- District 3: Ivory Young;

-- District 4: Cleta Winslow;

-- District 5: Natalyn Archibong;

-- District 9: Kwame Abernathy;

-- District 10: Kenneth Hill;

-- District 11: Marcia Overstreet;

-- District 12: Joyce Sheperd.

Of the 16 selected, half are incumbents. “It’s very important to preserve the progressive government we enjoy as a result of many years of economic and social success, and to nurture diversification,” Massell said.

Each candidate received the maximum contribution of $2,600, save for Dickens, who has no opposition. He received $1,809, equal to his qualifying fee.


Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue has been no shrinking violet when it comes to gun rights debate on Capitol Hill, but he's seen as a possible Republican vote on a Democratic proposal to ban “bump stock” rifle attachments, which were used by the Las Vegas gunman to mow down dozens of concertgoers. Via USA Today: 

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., originally thought bump stocks were illegal. When a reporter told him that they are currently legal, he responded: “I’d look at (Feinstein’s bill), for sure.” “You can’t buy a chain-fed machine gun in the United States today," he said. "There’s a reason for that, and I’d want to make sure that nobody has access to that, if that’s the law of the land."

The National Rifle Association indicated on Thursday that it would be open to regulating the accessory, a notable stance for an organization that has vehemently opposed other gun control legislation in the past. But Axios.com reports that Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump's former White House strategist, has promised to raise holy hell. "Impossible: will be the end of everything," Bannon texted the reporter. (Tamar Hallerman)


There's mounting evidence that President Donald Trump soon plans to formally back U.S. Sen. David Perdue's plan to tie DACA legislation to his bill cutting back on legal immigration levels. But roadblocks are already beginning to emerge, including one from the Senate's No. 2 Republican John Cornyn of Texas, who warned Thursday that so-called "dream kids" should be kept separate from any broader immigration deal. (TH)


Todd Rehm of GaPundit.com pointed us to this piece in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:

The week after the Muscogee County School District reassigned to a non-classroom position the teacher who used the N-word while speaking to three elementary school students, a school board member has proposed a “zero tolerance” policy against racial slurs.


Secretary of State Brian Kemp sent out an email on Thursday, on his official stationery, announcing the third annual “Peanut Straw Poll” at the Georgia National Fair in Perry.

Before you get hot and bothered by the fact that Kemp is also a Republican candidate for governor next year, note that – at least this year – the secretary of state has defused his survey.

Fair attendees are being invited to vote for their favorite high school football team.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the former Georgia governor, will also be at the fairgrounds today. We're assuming he's not arriving by private jet.


Among the GOP names we’re hearing as potential replacements for Stan Wise on the state Public Service Commission: Former state senators Ronnie Chance and Judson Hill; Tricia Pridemore, a member of the Nathan Deal administration; state Rep. Matt Dollar of east Cobb; and Bethany Walker, former assistant to Tim Echols, another member of the PSC.


The AJC’s James Salzer reported Thursday that former staffer Qiana Keith, who filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Georgia GOP,  has settled for an undisclosed sum. We understand that the agreement will put a lid on some very unsavory deposition statements.


On his Facebook page, Jaha Howard, a Democratic candidate for the seat being given up by state Sen. Hunter Hill, R-Atlanta, has posted his position on abortion: “I will never stand for the criminalization of women who make the very difficult decision to have an abortion. And at the end of the day, I believe in protecting a woman's right to choose.”

But we've been sent a screen shot of a previous Facebook post by Howard, that now appears to have disappeared. In it, Howard ponders: “I think I should do more research on this. The Girl Scouts have done a lot of great things over the decades, but are they being used as a vehicle to push a pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality positions?”

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About the Author

Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.