Saturday, November 01, 2008
Could Georgia Really Turn Blue ?
Georgia is a part of the "Solid South" that Republicans can usually count on as a large part of their base support in the electoral college. The only Democratic presidential candidates who have eked out victories there in many years are Jimmy Carter (a Georgian himself) and fellow southerner Bill Clinton (who managed only a plurality in 1992). Is it really logical to think Barack Obama can now carry the state?
Most of the major-media pundits say no. They believe the polls, which say that although the race has tightened in Georgia, McCain still leads by a few points. But are the polls correct? Or are they using outdated numbers that may have been appropriate for 2000 or 2004, but fail to account for the changing electorate of 2008?
In past elections in Georgia, African-Americans have supplied around 26% of the total vote. If that figure remains the same this year, then McCain will probably win a slim victory in Georgia. But the NAACP asked hundreds of small Mom and Pop stores across the state to help register new voters, and they did even better than expected. They registered nearly a quarter of a million new voters -- most of them African-American.
The registration drive was so effective that African-Americans now make up a full third of the total registered voters in Georgia. This new fact is what could turn Georgia blue. If, instead of 26%, African-Americans make up over 30% of the vote this year, then Obama (and many down-ballot Democrats could win the state this year.
So far, that is happening. In the early voting, African-Americans made up 35% of all voters. If they turn out in similar numbers on election day (and there's no reason to believe they won't) then it could be good for Democrats. Say the total is 33%. That leaves Democrats needing only another 17% of the electorate to win, and that's definitely doable.
When you consider that Bob Bar, the Libertarian candidate (who is from Georgia), could take 2%-3%, then Democrats would need even less to win the state.
I believe you have to put Georgia at least in the "toss-up" catagory, and there's a real chance for Democrats to win there this year.