The runoff election for the City Of Atlanta attracted 82,000 voters, or 11,000 more than voted in the November general election. This represents a roughly 15% increase in the number of votes cast.
Conventional wisdom is that votes will be way down in a runoff. We’ve also heard many speculate that black folks won’t show up for a second vote.
Most “stats” you hear about runoffs are total crap.
I said here before, and I will say here again, a runoff is a totally separate election than a general. The biggest single factor in a runoff is momentum. Money for a get-out-the-vote program is also often key.
In this race, the voters didn’t engage until about a week before the general election. The implosion of Mary Norwood as she approached the finish line finally engaged the media and voters to an otherwise below the radar race. With mometum building into election day and beyond, and the top two races still on the ticket, expecting a low voter turnout was folly.
It is usually single events like Norwood’s anti-Republicanisms that shape runoffs. Each is unique, and each has its own signature of defining moments that produce the winner. Stats are great to talk about among professors and wonks. None actually matter if you’re the one working the current runoff.