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Georgia is purple, not red, this presidential election

Georgia may become a battleground this election. However, this is a blip and not a long-term trend.

For those expecting Romney to win huge in Georgia, as would match historic elections, think again: Your vote counts more than you think.

I am also guilty of having the misconception that republicans win by a landslide in GA. I was even planning to vote Independent as a protest vote, since I'm against the two-party system. However, since Georgia is more of a swing state that leans to the red, I may find myself tactically voting against the guy from the main two parties I dislike the most (since tactical voting is what a two-party system requires in close elections). However, even though Georgia is close, don't expect Georgia to become a battleground with frequent candidate visits any time soon: I don't see any major trend going on, just a blip.

It's hard to think of Georgia as anything close to a swing state. In 2008, McCain won by over 5% which is definately a comfortable win. In 2000, Bush won handily by about 12%. However, in 2004, Bush won by only 3%. In 1996, Clinton only lost by 2%. Let's ignore Carter, which is homegrown and probably a statistical blip. So it's clear that if you tip the balances a little further, then we may see Georgia oscillate between red and blue, making this a very interesting state for elections and guaranteeing plenty of visits by the candidates with our 16 electoral votes.

For this current election, Obama is only down by 3%, "leaning Romney", which makes it one of the most purple of all the republican states (http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/2012/romney-vs-obama-electoral-map and http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2012-georgia-president-romney-vs-obama?gem).

Obama is actually a weaker candidate this year than he was in '08 since he's played some of his cards which in many cases scare away moderate conservatives and even some independents this election who may have voted for him in '08. So what's strange is that he's only down by 3% in the polls. If the elections were held today, that would be a strange result, right? What's even stranger is that the counties which are typically republican (suburban and rural counties) are growing faster percentage-wise than the more urban areas that typically vote democratic and grow slower than the less-populated suburban areas.

(Compare http://www.usdemography.com/States/Pages/GApage.html with http://www.uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?f=0&fips=13&year=2008).

So does that mean that the people coming in are more democratic-leaning or that the state is changing towards being more democratic? Doubtful. With the exception of Obama, Clinton and Carter, the democrats are doing successively worse in Georgia on average. For every one left-leaning person moving into Atlanta or Dekalb county, there are multiple right-leaning people moving into the suburbs. Furthermore, the democrats get hammered in congressional races which more accurately represents voters' views on a granular level than a choice between two presidential candidates that involves so many variables.

It seems more likely to me that there are some things going on that just make Obama an interesting candidate for Georgia and a blip - like Clinton and Carter but for different reasons - versus there being a trend towards the blue. Bush in his second term was highly onpopular, even amongst Republicans who may have previously voted for him which means Obama and Kerry got boosted by some temporary anti-republican sentiment and truly did worse on an even playing field. Therefore, exceptions aside, I believe the general trend will be more or less staying a highly volatile state that just can't quite cross the centerline to become a swing state and probably won't for decades. However, I'm always open to surprises, and more visits by candidates would always be fun.

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Jeff Gassman September 03, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Brian, I have to disagree with you about the trendlines of red-leaning states. Georgia is experiencing something akin to Virginia, and eventually, Texas. The GOP's relationship with Hispanics, suburban women, and African-Americans is so poor right now that Southern states with large cities are definitely trending purple. Virginia already had a dark blue city in Arlington, and those folks are starting to migrate south to Norfolk, attracted by the Naval Base. There's a goodly sized influx of Hispanics into the Richmond area, and a lot of highly-educated people are descending on Charlottesville. Obama was the first democrat to win Virginia since Lyndon Johnson in 1968. As population centers grow with college-educated independent thinkers and Hispanics, cities like Atlanta, Dallas, San Antonio, et al. get bluer and bluer and start to turn their states purple.
Brian September 03, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Jeff: I agree on that for Obama specifically, but I think that's why we're at 3%, not 5% or 10%. Obama energizes the base and all the groups you mentioned. I don't think it's guaranteed future democratic presidential candidates will, especially one moderate enough to pick up the independents needed to push past center-line. If the future elections aren't about hispanic and womens' rights along with a candidate that african-americans can trust, then we'll be back to 5% or 10% numbers. I'd love to see things get more interesting here and think they will when the suburbs urbanize more. I just don't think we're quite there yet.
Watts September 04, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Here is something interesting. The Republican ticket received no bump (actually lost traction) after GOP convention: http://www.gallup.com/poll/157262/romney-gets-no-bounce-last-week-gop-convention.aspx Joins John Kerry and George McGovern as only recent candidates to not get any bump from their own convention. So if Obama receives any bounce at all, it won't be the normal situation of the second convention candidate trying to make up lost ground to the first convention bounce. Any bounce at all will be pure gravy.
Voice of Reason September 05, 2012 at 11:28 AM
Stop spreading your lies "Watts": GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney got a slight bounce from last week’s Republican National Convention – including a gain among women, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. But President Barack Obama nears his nomination for a second term with the lowest pre-convention personal popularity rating of an incumbent in this poll since the 1980s. He’s also at his lowest of the year among registered voters, particularly women. The poll gave the highest unfavorable rating of any incumbent going back to 1984, and he is the first incumbent in the survey with a higher unfavorable than favorable rating, Bloomberg reports. http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/obama-convention-low-rting/2012/09/04/id/450787
Mike September 05, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Its a damn shame to watch the 2000, 2004, 2008 and now 2012 Republican conventions and it looks like the same old Caucasian people every year. In contrast the DNC looks like America, a melting pot, filled with young, old, brown, white, black, green etc. The two audiences could not look more different. The Republican base is dying and shrinking and they refuse to change their ways or habits to attract others into the party. You can hate the Dems and what they stand for but at least they go out and accomplish what they say they will do, even if you hate it. The Republicans are so beyond hypocritical and unpleasant to work with that they are turned off the people.
Watts September 06, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Lies? Really dude? I gave you the Gallup link to both the poll and the article. You just come out of thin air denying it without anything to back it up and then wander aimlessly to some other point and then provide a "newsmax" link. That is laughable. Voice or Reason sounds more like the Voice of Ignorance.
Watts September 06, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Fox News posted this pretty informative video. It is a little long, but well worth watching through... http://video.foxnews.com/v/1825017325001/
Karl September 09, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Mike, Simply let current leftist ideologies of the Dems get implemented and irresponsible money managing by both parties continue and we'll be a third world country in no time. I was a little uncertain about the Dems being inclusive of green people. Would they be the illegal aliens? Aliens from Roswell, NM? Or Irish?
Brian September 10, 2012 at 05:53 AM
Watts and Voice of Reason: Romney's bounce came later than expected, so many articles had already written it off. Nevertheless, it's not that important. Obama had a bigger bounce which more than erased Romney's. Next week will be interesting as the less than amazing job numbers sink in. Nevertheless, the next truly important event will be the debates.
rodney williams September 11, 2012 at 07:45 AM
Rodney, Georgia goes "BLUE" on Nov.6th. Republican OBSTRUCTION "bet against" Americans and prolonged the suffering of the RECOVERY; they will be punished for this. Romney is just disliked for so many reasons. Pres.Obama didn't even compete for GA and only lost by 200,000 + votes. Time for "change" is here...FORWARD '12
Gregg Gibson September 12, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Don't forget the Ron Paul/Gary Johnson factor. To take Georgia, Romney has to be ahead at least 3 points in a two-man poll. Also, there are more Hispanics in Georgia than ever, and they are trending toward Obama. So my guess is that Georgia will be very close. And for the same reasons, I think Obama will win every so-called close state except maybe Missouri and Georgia. His electoral vote total will be virtually identical to 2008. Romney finished himself when he gave the Ron Paulistas the boot at his convention. He will pick up Indiana, but will probably lose either Missouri or Georgia, maybe both. Romney has NO CHANCE in either Florida or Ohio, and Michigan is also just a pipe dream for the Republicans this year. Also, Texas will be a lot closer than most people anticipate; Romney will win, but his margin will be 3% at most. The Ron Paul factor will also hurt the Republicans in the House and Senate. They will lose a Senate seat or two, and the House will return to Democratic control, albeit only narrowly. Note that even Obama's ill-conceived, corrupt so-called heath care reform is now no longer a drag for the Dems.
Gregg Gibson September 12, 2012 at 02:05 AM
I also have a theory that the more dense a state's population, the more people resent paying high rents to the top 1%, and this tends to make them vote Democratic. In sparsely populated states, on the other hand, rents are lower, and concentration of wealth is also lower, so people typically resent Democratic high taxes and stupid bureaucrats more than Republican rich fat cats. Well, Georgia keeps on growing in population, as does North Carolina, so that they keep trending slowly trending Democratic. meanwhile, Wisconsin and Minnesota are not as liberal as they used to be, as their population density is relatively lower than in the past. The next big shoe to drop is TEXAS, where demographics will doom the Repulicans from 2020 onwards. Just a theory. But it seems to work rather well.

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