That issue would, in theory, influence whether or not a certain type of Republican voter would bother to vote at all.
SUSA alludes to what they found in the very first paragraph of their polling summary:
Georgia is a hot mess and no opinion pollster could possibly say what will happen when votes are counted in 2 weeks, 01/05/2021. Any outcome is possible, including victories for the 2 Republican incumbent US Senators. But: the polling data at this hour does not support that, and heading into Christmas week, Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock appear to be benefiting — at least momentarily — from a GOP cacophony, according to fresh SurveyUSA research conducted exclusively for WXIA-TV in Atlanta.
SUSA found a significant portion of conservative voters who declared that they were dubious whether their vote would count, and a small but significant fraction who declared that they would not vote at all.
As Riga summarizes for us:
Just over 11 percent of the 691 Georgia registered voters polled (from a total pool of 800 voting-age adults polled) said that they will not vote in the runoff election. That group is disproportionately comprised of conservatives. And 55 percent of those who identify as “very conservative” added that they are skipping the runoff because “the voting process is rigged.” Another seven percent of the very conservative voters reported that they are “intentionally boycotting” the election.
All told, that pool who aren’t likely to vote in the runoff is made up of 78 registered voters, so its usefulness is limited — as SurveyUSA itself acknowledges.
Because Trump supporters and Republicans in general are notoriously baldfaced liars (in polls and in other circumstances) I’d normally be hesitant to even highlight these findings and comments.
But Tuesday’s New York Times also provides a window into the unprecedented torrent of disinformation by “conservative media personalities” that is currently bombarding Georgians through Facebook and other social media sites. As the Times notes, some of the disinformation amounts to repackaging the lies that were successfully deployed by right-wing social media in Florida, specifically in Miami-Dade county against Biden. Here they’re trying to tie Reverend Warnock in particular to “socialism” and “Fidel Castro” (who apparently once visited the Harlem, New York Baptist church where Warnock was a 26-year old youth pastor), and beaming that message towards Latino voters in Spanish-speaking areas of the state.
But the same cast of pro-Trump social media grifters (Diamond and Silk, Mark Levin, and similar ilk) are simultaneously spreading disinformation at Trump’s behest, suggesting that the entire procedure in Georgia was fraudulent and rigged. So there’s some question here about how such messaging discouraging the entire process will work to turn out the vote.
As Riga points out, Black turnout is exceptionally high thus far in the early voting, but both she and the SUSA pollsters caution that Trump’s upcoming visit may also disproportionately affect same-day turnout by Georgia’s Republican voters.
But the dispiriting psychological impact of not believing your vote will count can’t be ignored, either:
“Just 18 percent of Perdue and Loeffler voters have ‘full confidence’ their runoff vote will be counted accurately, compared to 67 percent of Ossoff and Warnock voters,” the SurveyUSA analysis reads. “How this astonishing 4:1 disparity in the very underpinning of Democracy will affect turnout in a pandemic is unknowable.”
Another point to consider is the fact that the state of the Republican Senate races in Georgia was apparently the straw that broke the turtle’s shell, so to speak, as Sen. Mitch McConnell departed at the last minute from his customary obstruction and allowed the COVID-19 relief bill to proceed to a vote in the Senate. This was immediately followed up by announcements today through administration sources emphasizing that “stimulus checks” will allegedly be going out as early as “next week.” Such expressed concern for ordinary Americans is completely out of character for this administration and frankly suggests an ulterior motive.
As Riga points out, we probably won’t get any better polling than this before the runoff. She interviewed Jay Leve, SUSA’s CEO, who noted that “the dead time between Christmas and New Years is a particularly inopportune stretch for pollsters to try to get ahold of runoff voters, a group that tends to be hard — and, thus, expensive — to find and poll.”
Bottom line, of course, which can’t be overemphasized: GOTV.