There’s a lot of data that has been released in the AJC poll, and I’m working on a poll of my own right now, so I haven’t had time to dive into the AJC’s results in depth yet, so I’ll just offer a few tidbits here. The AJC poll released on the Governor’s race shows the following:

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll of 802 registered voters showed Deal with 47 percent support in a head-to-head matchup against 38 percent for state Sen. Jason Carter, his likely Democratic opponent.

But for sophisticated analysts, here’s the money quote:

Among respondents, 44 percent identified themselves as a Democrat or Democratic-leaning, while 43 percent identified as Republican or Republican-leaning.

That, my friends, is simply inconceivable. I believe that there currently exists a +10 point Republican advantage in the electorate. How did this happen? Let’s look at the raw data, which to their credit, the AJC released.

 

The first line of numbers represents the “raw” or “unweighted” results. Weighting was then added to bring the sample in line with the expected demographics of the electorate. The second line depicts the results after applying weighting. One thing stands out clearly in the totals under PARTY. The original sample, before weighting, showed an advantage in Party Identification for Republicans by 240 to 212. After weighting this becomes a 224-196 advantage for Democrats.

We’ve discussed previously how weighting for partisanship or correlated factors can effect the outcome of a ballot question in a poll. An chief among the correlated factors that can effect the outcome of a ballot question are race. Looking again at the table above, it appears that weighting was applied to the race of the poll respondents to bring it more in line with the pollster’s expectations. The question is whether the assumptions underlying the model are realistic. We shall discuss that later.

The difference here is enough to shift the electorate from a Republican-advantage to a Democratic advantage, and that will have the effect of lowering Governor Deal’s numbers and raising Jason Carter’s through the magic of mathematics.

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