Survey USA notes in their freshly released Georgia poll that our state “remain safely red”, what with Romney (49-42) and Gingrich (48-42) both leading Obama. But allow me to dive into the crosstabs and beg to differ. In 2008, African Americans made up a record percentage of the electorate. 30% of all votes cast were from voters identified as black on the voterfile. Whites made up 64% and voters who are identified as either Asian/Hispanic/Indian/Other or Unknown rounded out the rest at 6%. Prior to 2008, the largest percentage African Americans had made up in modern times was 2004 when they were at 25% (which was also a record at the time).
Fast forward to 2010. A year when Democratic enthusiasm was said to be at an all time low. You’d think that would mean that we saw the Obama fueled wave of African American voters recede back out to the ocean – but no. In 2010, 28% of all voters were African American. Whites made up 66% and all others came in at 5% (numbers may not add to 100 due to rounding). 28% is the second highest percentage – only behind 2008, and represents almost an identical jump from four years earlier when it was about 24%. In other words, African American turnout is always higher in Presidential elections, but the increase from ’04-’08 was matched when looking at ’06-’10. This largely explains, but for some reason isn’t popularly discussed, why in a record year for Republicans nationally most of Georgia’s statewide winners were held to 53% (a win is a win, but hey gotta have something to boost our D spirits).
So what does Survey USA think the 2010 electorate will be? Only 25% black. And 67% white. I ran the raw counts on their website to get the White and African American percentages for each candidate and was able to compute the “other” by subtracting from the known. Here’s what it comes out to…(converted to percents for ease of viewing)
So remember – in 2008 it was 64% white, 30% AA and 6% other/unknown. Let’s assume that both whites and blacks pick up 1% each from the unknown category – the state voterfile might not know what they are but presumably they’d be able to tell a pollster. And let’s also assume that the state in 2012 is basically about the same (in actuality from this point out I predict it will slowly get less white and more Hispanic at the polls with African Americans essentially maintaining their percentage). So let’s re-weight whites to 65%, African Americans to 31% and others to 4%. What do we get when we recompute the totals? We get Romney with a 47-44 (2 point margin without rounding) lead and Gingrich with a 46-45 (1.5 point margin) lead. In other words, according to Survey USA’s data, Georgia looks swingy. It’s just too bad they think it’s still 2004 here for some reason.