Are voters buying into all those attack ads? We polled to find out.
Reports have shown that well over $14 million has been spent by special interests alone in the race to replace Tom Price. The number probably doesn't come as much of a surprise to residents of Georgia's Sixth District, who have been pummeled for weeks by mailers, robocalls, and television, radio, and online ads. Since most of the dollars spent in the race have gone toward candidate attacks, zpolitics and Clout Research partnered to test some of the most prevalent negative messages that we wish to God would stop as soon as possible.
As part of a survey released on Monday, some of the main message points against the race's top candidates- Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republicans Karen Handel and Bob Gray- were evaluated.
Understanding the numbers
Conducted on April 14 and 15, the poll questioned 453 likely special election voters. Pollster Fritz Wenzel says that a truly strong attack against any candidate has a "movable" impact on 60 percent of voters.
"Anything less than that percentage of response pushes us to look for other, more visceral messaging," he said. "We almost always find something."
Claim 1: Jon Ossoff doesn't live in the district
First, likely special election voters were asked how they felt about Ossoff not living in the district he's seeking to represent. Among respondents, about 40 percent said they were "much less likely" to vote for the Democrat front runner because of his residency, though 32 percent said they don't care, and another 24 percent said it makes them want to support him more.
While the negative message seems most offensive to Republicans and some Independents, Wenzel said the backlash is likely not effective enough to cost Ossoff the election. However, it could prove useful in preventing an outright win with over 50 percent of the vote, which "may be well enough."
Claim 2: 95 percent of Ossoff's campaign money comes from outside of Georgia
When asked what they thought about 95 percent of Ossoff's campaign funds coming from outside the state, about 47 percent of voters had an overall negative reaction. 26 percent of those polled said the news makes no difference to them, while another 26 percent of voters say they favor him more knowing that his money is largely sourced outside the Sixth Congressional District.
While the claim is not a silver bullet for the GOP, Wenzel says it has a "corrosive" impact on Independents.
"Remembering that Ossoff’s goal has been to win over as many independent voters as possible, this message certainly gets in his way," Wenzel said.
Claim 3: Karen Handel has run for too many elected offices
Karen Handel has faced a series of attacks labeling her as a "career politician," but it doesn't seem to make much of an impact on voters. In fact, 39 percent of respondents said that they're not moved one way or the other knowing that the former Secretary of State has run for several elected positions in the past.
Only 29 percent said they would be less likely to support her because of it. Though, of those, 45 percent are Republicans- meaning that the attack could prove more problematic before she has a chance to make it to a runoff.
Claim 4: Bob Gray is a flip-flopper
Was Bob Gray once a "never Trumper" or a did he waffle on his stance over the GOP's recent healthcare bill? His opponents have claimed so, and while it may have shown to be one of the more powerful attacks against a candidate in the race for the Sixth District, it's not enough to stop Gray from mounting a serious bid on Tuesday.
Overall, 48 percent of voters had a negative reaction to the attack. Meanwhile, 21 percent of voters are more likely to vote for Gray because of the hit. 31 percent of voters were not swayed by the accusation.
Overall, the race for CD-6 remains deeply polarized, and-according to Wenzel- "just about the only variable left is the Election Day turnout effort."
You can read the full and complete analysis of the results below.