The Warner Robins Patriot: Turnout will decide Bishop-Keown race, pollster says

The same factors that have given a significant boost to Republican challenger Austin Scott in the 8th Congressional District could also spell defeat for Democrat incumbent Sanford Bishop in the adjacent 2nd District.

White voter retreat from the Democrat party and diminished black turnout are major issues for Bishop, according to Gabriel Sterling, vice president of Landmark Communications, a political consulting and communications firm in Duluth.

Landmark’s Oct. 19 polling of the 2nd District that includes Peach and Crawford counties showed upstart Republican Mike Keown with a narrow 47.2 to 44.9 edge over Bishop. The razor-thin edge was well within the poll’s 3.5 percent margin of error.

The same poll revealed a 16-point lead for Scott in the District 8 race with incumbent Democrat Jim Marshall.

Sterling said health care reform – passed into law earlier this year – has been instrumental in both races.

“One in two white Democrats was actively opposed to health care reform,” he said. “It was huge.”

Sterling said Bishop’s problems began as Congress considered the sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health care system.

“We were tracking his Web site and his responses went from about a hundred a day to more than one thousand,” the vice president reported.

Bishop voted for the legislation. “That has hurt him,” Sterling said, “although if he had voted no it might have impacted his base. So it’s hard to tell what impact it has had.”

The 2nd District outcome will depend on turnout, he added.

“Literally, it could depend on whether it rains,” he said. “It’s that close.”

Read more: The Warner Robins Patriot – Turnout will decide Bishop Keown race pollster says

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