Why The Georgia Special Election Matters

The “takes” you’ll read about the special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District on Tuesday night are probably going to be dumb. A close outcome in either direction would be consistent with what we know about the political environment. So if either Democrat Jon Ossoff or Republican Karen Handel wins narrowly, it will be portrayed as a more important predictive signal than it really is. A blowout result would be a bigger deal. But even then, Georgia 6 is a slightly unusual district, and the election would be one data point among many. Georgia isn’t even the only special election on Tuesday; South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District is holding one also.

Here’s the thing, though: Sometimes dumb things matter if everyone agrees that they matter. CONT.

Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight