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29 October 2010

UGA Political Scientist Says Likelihood of Gubernatorial Runoff Slim

Charles Bullock, the Richard B. Russell Professor of Political Science and Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Georgia, penned a column for Southern Political Report that examined the possibility of a runoff in Georgia's gubernatorial election.

Here's the meat & potatoes of Bullock's analysis:

Past Libertarian candidates for governor and other statewide positions struggle to reach 4% of the vote. If Monds achieves that level of support, then the second-place candidate would need at least 46% of the vote to deny the frontrunner a majority. The latest Insider Advantage poll has Monds at 5% which means that if the runner-up got just over 45% of the vote, a runoff would result. If the Monds’ vote falls closer to 3%, then the runner-up would have to take more than 47% to hold his opponent below 50%. The latest Survey USA Poll puts Monds at 8% which would mean Barnes would need 42% to keep Deal below 50%.

During the last seven and a half months, Barnes has never scored more than 43% support. Three of the four most recent polls put Barnes at 39% while Insider Advantage has him at 41. Two of the polls done since October 19 show Deal with 47% and the other two have him just short of a majority with 49%.

While polls can be instructive, each is no more than a snapshot. Like any snapshot, the images captured may become outdated. Democrats and Republicans are spending fortunes trying to change voter preferences. But unless Democratic advertising suddenly becomes far more persuasive than it has been during the last couple of months, the likelihood of a runoff appears slim.

Bullock, Charles (2010-10-28). A gubernatorial runoff in Georgia?. Southern Political Report. Retrieved on 2010-10-29.

Nate Silver, the statistician who correctly predicted the winner of 49 of the 50 states during the 2008 presidential election, says Republican Nathan Deal has a 90.7% chance of victory November 2nd.