No, Georgia's Not Turning Blue

Has anyone at the New York Times ever been to Georgia?
No other plausibly competitive state has seen a more favorable shift for Democrats in the racial composition of eligible voters over the last decade. The pace of demographic change is so fast that Michelle Nunn, a Democrat, is locked in a tight race against the Republican David Perdue for an open Senate seat — even with an off-year electorate that is favorable for the G.O.P....

According to data from the Georgia secretary of state, the 2010 electorate was 66.3 percent white and 28.2 percent black.... I expect the 2014 electorate to be about 64.2 percent white and 28.8 percent black. (Ms. Nunn is expected to win at least 90 percent of the black vote.) Yet the last four nonpartisan polls that released demographic data showed an electorate that’s 65.7 percent white and 25.7 percent black. Those polls show Mr. Perdue ahead by 3.3 points, but they would show something closer to a dead heat if the likely electorate matched my estimates....

Georgia is perhaps the single state where [demographic change] would make a noticeable difference, because of the degree of racial polarization and the pace of demographic change.
Emphasis added.

The reason Michelle Nunn is running more-or-less even with Perdue is that she comes from a family famous in the state for excellent service in the Senate. Her father is almost a watchword for what a good Senator should look like. In addition, she's made her career working with the Bush family ever since the first Bush administration. So Republicans can look at her and see a woman who can reach across the aisle, has plenty of respect from their own party, and has a kind of life-long apprenticeship from the man whose Senate career Georgia voters already most respect.

David Perdue comes from the same family as Sonny Perdue, a recent governor who broke key election promises to base voters, and was unimpressive as governor. David Perdue has no experience in politics from which to judge, but he made his career on Wall Street, a place whose name normally turns up in Georgia elections as a curse: e.g., 'If elected, I will defend the values of Main Street against Wall Street.'

Of course he's running weak. That doesn't mean the state is turning blue. It means he's running from a very weak position, against the best candidate the Democratic party has fielded in more than a decade.

A "racial" analysis of this election is neither helpful nor wise. For that matter, it's wrong. The reason Nunn is doing well is that the Georgia electorate is less polarized by race -- whether or not black voters have moved off their traditional support for the Democratic party, more white Georgians are willing to vote for this Democrat.


Ymar Sakar said...

When SWAT, ATF, Ebola, Enterovirus, etc kills off the Georgians, of course it will be Democrat once more.

99% vote purity. Very easy to accomplish in Saddam Hussein type tyrannies.

Grim said...

See, this is just the kind of thing I want you to knock off.

MikeD said...

Excellent analysis, Grim. But I think in the case of the NYT, they're engaging in wishful thinking, not actual analysis.