June 20th, 2017

The Georgia special election is today—and I’m making only one prediction

I have no idea who will win. Neither does anyone else.

But it’s being hyped to the skies as very very important, as well as indicative of trends and signs and portents for the future not limited to this one Georgia district. That’s why, when I saw the headline to this article by pollster Nate Silver—“Why The Georgia Special Election Matters”—I thought “oh-oh, here’s another stupid piece on how the Georgia election is a predictor of a whole bunch of other things, including what will happen in the 2018 midterms.”

I don’t agree that it’s that big a deal; I actually think this particular battle is an idiosyncratic and atypical election that doesn’t tell us much about anything except whether Karen Handel or Jon Osoff will be going to Congress to represent Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

But it turns out I was wrong about the Silver article. For the most part, it agrees with much of what I was thinking:

In either case, the narrative that emerges from the Georgia 6 runoff will lack nuance and will oversimplify complex evidence. While special elections overall are a reasonably useful indicator in forecasting upcoming midterms, their power comes in numbers. A half-dozen special elections taken together are a useful sign; any one of them is less so.

Silver adds this:

But we’re at a moment when Republicans have a lot of decisions to make now, and the story they tell themselves about the political environment matters as much as the reality of it. The narrative will probably be dumb, but it might matter all the same.

I would add that the story the MSM and the Democrats will tell is likely to be every bit as dumb or perhaps even dumber.

Silver points out that Georgia’s 6th Congressional District has a varied electoral history, particularly if you look at presidential elections:

Georgia 6 is a tough district to diagnose because its politics in presidential elections shifted a lot from 2012 to 2016. In 2012, the district went for Mitt Romney by 23 percentage points in an election that then-President Barack Obama won by 4 points nationally. That made it 27 points more Republican than the country as a whole. In 2016, by contrast, it chose Trump over Hillary Clinton by only 1.5 points in an election where Clinton won the popular vote by about 2 points nationally. Therefore, it was only 3 to 4 points more Republican than the national average.

That’s strange, but there is a certain consistency there in that the Republican candidate won each time, although the margins of victory were wildly different in 2012 and 2016. Of course, Trump was hardly a generic Republican candidate, so his low margin of victory could be explained by Trump-aversion rather than aversion to Republican candidates in general. Silver goes into a lengthy analysis of the Congressional vote in the district in 2016—too lengthy and complicated to easily summarize—but probably worth reading. Silver did very very well in predicting the 2012 election. He did far less well in 2016.

So, what’s my one prediction? Whatever the outcome, it will be used for propaganda purposes to indicate far more than it really indicates. Of course, if the victory margin is yuge (as someone we know would say), that actually might be indicative of some sort of trend (however, Romney’s huge 2012 margin there was indicative of absolutely nothing). I also want to remind everyone that it’s about a year and a half till the 2018 midterms. That’s an aeon in political life.

25 Responses to “The Georgia special election is today—and I’m making only one prediction”

  1. n.n Says:

    Vote against the Woman. The feminists’ Choice.

    Vote for the Man. The feminists’ choice.

    The modern model of a political narrative: Dumb and Dumber.

    Two thumbs up!

  2. parker Says:

    If Handler wins by a ‘small’ margin (to be determined by the msm) it will be spun as victory for the #resistance. If Osoff wins, even with only 50.1 % of the vote, it will be declared a sure sign that Trump will not serve out his term.

  3. Tuvea Says:

    No mention in the Silver piece that the democrat candidate does not even live in the district. Nor do I recall it mentioning that over 80% of the money the democrat spent has come from out of state.

  4. M J R Says:


    Democrat Jon Ossoff dismissed concerns Tuesday over the fact that he doesn’t live in the Georgia congressional district in which he’s running for a House seat.

    “I grew up in this district; I grew up in this community — it’s my home. My family is still there,” Ossoff said during an interview on CNN’s “New Day.”

    Ossoff currently lives just outside Georgia’s 6th Congressional District with his girlfriend, while she is attending medical school. He said that he has been transparent about the fact that he doesn’t live in the district and pledged to move back to the district as soon as his girlfriend finishes school.

    “I’m a mile and a half down the street to support Alicia while she finishes medical school. It’s something I’ve been very transparent about,” he said. “In fact, I’m proud to be supporting her career.”

    “As soon as she finishes her medical training, I’ll be 10 minutes back up the road into the district where I grew up,” he continued.



  5. carl in atlanta Says:

    I heard on the radio today that by the time it’s all said and done more than $50 Million will have been spent on this special election (95+% of Ossoff’s money has come from out of State; mainly California).

    I don’t live in the 6th District (I’m in an adjoining district) but for months now I’ve been bombarded with TV radio and internet ads, day in day out, so many back to back ads that it kind of drives you crazy. If you live in the 6th you’ve been getting all that PLUS many telephone calls and items of junk mail every day, and during the last three weeks or so, door to door canvassers.

    Regardless of who wins I’ll be glad to see an end to those incessant ads.

    Ossoff is right out of Central Casting from the Left: He’s been well trained and is handled by people who know what they’re doing. He never says anything that could possibly offend anyone: “I’m here to stop waste in Washington!” “I’ll work with anyone to stop government waste.” “Make every tax dollar count!” etc. etc., ad nauseum. He presents nothing much to latch onto for an attack and is always ALWAYS on message.

    He really gives me the creeps. I hope he doesn’t win but have a feeling he will (though it will be very close). Handel’s campaign has been lackluster (and a bit homespun compared to his) and she doesn’t project any authentic enthusiasm or “drive”. All she has going for her is the fact that she’s been a loyal party member forever. And her longtime GOP party membership pretty much nullifies any appeal she might have had as a woman.

  6. Alan F Says:

    As a Republican who had serious concerns about Trump, I feel much better about him now. His appointments especially have been good. So, I am glad we are not on our way to where the Democrats’ campaign was promising to take us. I hope many of GA 6’s Republican-leaners who did not vote for Trump will vote for Handel to protect us from Resistance inspired Democrats.

  7. parker Says:

    Desiciondesk has called the race for Handler with a 3% margin. But never underestimate the left for discovering uncounted ballots that give Ossoff a 107 vote victory.Thats how the bad comedian became a Minnesota senator.

  8. carl in atlanta Says:

    So glad that it’s looking like I was unduly pessimistic today (just like I was on election night last November).

    I guess I must be overly susceptible to the drumbeat of never-ending MSM/Dem propaganda; would probably not hold up well under physical torture.

    Hope there’s no hanky panky with the mail in ballots.

  9. Mr. Frank Says:

    You could say that Ossoff got a very expensive participation trophy.

  10. Yancey Ward Says:

    Some wag at Althouse wrote tomorrow’s NYTimes headline:

    “Trump Candidate Handel Finishes Next to Last in Georgia Race”.

  11. AesopFan Says:


    “11:10 pm: Finally, here is Karen Handel’s victory speech. At 2:30 Handel thanks President Trump and the crowd responds “Trump! Trump! Trump!” At 3:15 she thanks Steve Scalise and spends a moment talking about the need to find “a more civil way” to disagree. “In these United States of America, no one should ever feel their life threatened over political beliefs and positions,” she says.”

    How can a Handel not be a winner?


  12. Dave Says:

    I am playing devil’s advocate here: By defining themselves as the obstruction party do democrats realise that trump can blame the country’s lack of progress all on them? If I am a smart democrat and I truly believe trump is a stupid loser I would love to get out of trump’s way to allow him to get everything in his agenda passed. The only way democrats can show everyone in the country that trump is truly an idiot like they believed is to have everyone of his policies passed and failing miserably.

  13. Dave Says:

    Labelling yourselves as the obstructionist party is a no win strategy. If Trump does well democrats lose, If trump does poorly democrats still lose bc trump can easily blame all of his failure on the democrats.

  14. Esther Says:


    Yo, I can’t even say that out loud, but just wanted to say that somewhere. Thanks Neo.

    Woooo! (Shhhh.)

  15. NeoConScum Says:


    The lapdogs of the MSM have been robbed of their blather storm for the first half of the summer!!! And, Nancy and Chucky S. have a (temporary) Republican sock stuffed in their pie holes.


  16. OldTexan Says:

    Well, Ossoff came in second, not too bad for a scrawny, 30 year old, unknown, jerk who lives with his girlfriend real close to the district he was running in. I love seeing Dems spend a whole lot of money to come in second place.

    And Republicans have another woman in Congress so there’s that thing going on too.

  17. Avi Says:

    $23 and Pajama Goy couldn’t deadest Holly Petreaus!

  18. Avi Says:


  19. Lorenz Gude Says:

    Interesting that evidently Silver didn’t mention the outside money. I know he is a Democrat, but he is usually better than that on acknowledging the basic facts of a situation and examining them with statistical integrity.But even Silver is ignoring the furious million dollar paddling that is going on underneath the surface to prop up the narrative because that is what the folks who read the Times want to hear. I grew up a card carrying member of the Eastern Intellectual Establishment and got my ‘news’ from the NY Times so I know how the mindset works. You read the source you know is sane and solid to be reassured your world view is sane and solid. I first noticed the delta between the Timesworld and Realworld when Castro turned out to be a Marxist-Leninist instead of the Social Democrat they reported him to be. Recently that delta has been converging with infinity.

  20. Federicoson Says:

    The election being so close in the heart of Klan country (Cobb County) was amazing.

  21. DNW Says:

    Avi says,

    “Pajama Goy”

    Now, that’s funny … Trademark it Avi. Quick.

  22. DNW Says:

    Soon to come …

    Avi’s exclusive “Pajama Goy” line of products for the sensitive white male. (You don’t have to respect them to profit from them I always say)

    Featuring all natural and unbleached linen crying towels; unisex sandals; fly-less extra low rise trousers; “I shop at Whole Foods” extra skinny tee shirts …

    DNW gets first crack at the IPO

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    Keep telling yourself that, Federicoson

  24. AesopFan Says:

    Dave Says:
    June 21st, 2017 at 1:21 am
    I am playing devil’s advocate here: By defining themselves as the obstruction party do democrats realise that trump can blame the country’s lack of progress all on them? If I am a smart democrat and I truly believe trump is a stupid loser I would love to get out of trump’s way to allow him to get everything in his agenda passed. The only way democrats can show everyone in the country that trump is truly an idiot like they believed is to have everyone of his policies passed and failing miserably.
    * * *
    The problem with that is the Democrats in leadership (not the sock puppets in Congress, BTW), absolutely know that the conservative policies Trump is (sometimes and rather sporadically) implementing do, in fact, work better than the Dem’s agendas.
    They don’t dare let the people discover that, and would rather keep the status quo even if they get some mud on their face doing it.

  25. Sergey Says:

    Again: Dem win polls, Rep win elections. The anomaly persists, so the underlying statistical model must be faulty. At least, in the Age of Trump.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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