FiveThirtyEight profiles Georgia

Nate Silver’s blog FiveThirtyEight is doing profiles of each state in a series called Presidential Geography in advance of the general election. A couple of days ago, Silver’s team posted their profile of Georgia.

Silver’s a statistician who started by studying baseball and moved on to politics. Using his own dynamic model of poll results, he correctly called every state but Indiana in the Obama-McCain matchup. For the last couple of years, the blog has been hosted by the New York Times. I think it’s a little long-winded in its analyses, but it’s always interesting. I wonder if the increasingly complex mathematical modeling is giving too much weight to economic factors, but Silver has always been flexible in going where the numbers lead him.

From Georgia’s lengthy profile:

Despite Georgia’s steady shift away from its Democratic roots, the state is often pointed to as the next possible Virginia or North Carolina, Southern states carried in 2008, for the first time in a long time, by a Democrat. And Georgia has been raised again as a possible Democratic target in 2012.

The reason: The number of minority residents in Georgia has increased dramatically, particularly in the Atlanta area. Black residents made up 31 percent of the state’s population in 2010, up from 26 percent 2000, and the percentage of Hispanic residents increased to 9 percent, from 5 percent.

But to an extent not evident in Virginia and North Carolina, there has been a mass exodus of white Southerners from the Democratic Party, fueling the Republican ascendance. In 2008, just 23 percent of white voters in Georgia cast a ballot for Mr. Obama, the same share that voted for Senator John Kerry in 2004. In Virginia in 2008, that number was 39 percent. In North Carolina it was 35 percent.

This is familiar territory. From the Washington Post, in the recent The eight states where Latinos could sink the GOP:

In [Arizona and Georgia], Democrats have flirted with investing real resources after a decade in which minorities have accounted for most of the growth. In each state, non-Hispanic white voters dropped by six points to below 58 percent of the total population.

As white voters trend downward toward 50 percent of the population (and at this rate, it will happen by 2020 or 2024 in both states), Democrats should have a real chance in states where Obama already passed the 45 percent threshold in 2008.

FiveThirtyEight’s Georgia profile has some other interesting tidbits, including the naming of Lowndes County (Valdosta) as the bellwether: “In the last three presidential elections, Lowndes voters have given each major-party candidate within 2 percentage points of their statewide share of the vote.”

As I write this, Silver has Romney as the 96.6 percent favorite to win Georgia. He has Obama as a 67.8 percent favorite to win nationwide.


  1. Bob Loblaw says:

    Hispanic voters that are paying attention will always remember the hostile laws passed upon their arrival and blame the GOP. For pleasing the base, the party lost any chance at becoming the choice of a majority of Hispanic voters for a generation.

    • You’re a little fast & loose with your “Hispanic voter” grouping.

      Cubans in Georgia who fled Castro will remember that it was Georgia Democrats including Tommy Irving who wanted to engage in grain trade with Castro.

      • saltycracker says:

        The Cubans fleeing Castro were more right wing than the Tea Party of today. Then Carter and his predecessor Republicans began to dilute them with illegals and the least capable for their purposes.

        The voting (key word) Hispanics today may see a lot of things as we do but lots of folks are figuring out how to end run on that too.

      • Seeing as someone who was a newborn baby when they fled Cuba would now be 54, not sure how many long memories are gonna be left for that group for much longer. And what percentage Cuban is Georgia’s hispanic community…5%? At most?

    • Bob Loblaw says:

      They care about the same stuff, yes. But you and your colleagues decided to work on legislation that covered issues that didn’t make their list.

    • John Konop says:


      It is only time before the demographics play against the GOP in Georgia unless they change with the times. The younger generation is way more libertarian about social issues than the current power structure in the GOP. And they are agnostic about political parties, btw if anything they distrust both parties ie read the pp. Also when you combine demographic changes in Georgia it is only time before we will see change unless the GOP takes an honest look. The number one reason businesses have a major issues is because they are not honest about real internal issues ie blackberry, IBM, American auto industry…….. And when they made comebacks it is because they made adjustments based on an honest ………..

  2. xdog says:

    At least a generation. Long before they consider the GOP a viable choice, some charismatic Latino pol will organize the hispanic vote in Hall County and scare the living crap out of the resident goper leadership.

  3. The point is that Hispanics are not a monolithic group. They come from a dozen different countries. To say “Hispanics won’t vote Republican because of immigration” is simplistic and not accurate.

    Why can’t we just treat everyone as individuals instead of lumping them into groups?

    • saltycracker says:

      Ok then start by redistricting by zip code, city, county, trade area in an expanding concentric/geo or uniform method.

    • xdog says:

      “Why can’t we just treat everyone as individuals instead of lumping them into groups?”

      Because it’s convenient shorthand. Because your constituency is a group, for example.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      It’s not that most (legally-qualified) Latino voters won’t vote for Republicans because of immigration.

      It’s that most (legally-qualified) Latino voters won’t vote for Republicans because of the perception that very strong anti-Latino rhetoric that came out during the illegal immigration debate.

      It was the series of very strong illegal immigration laws that GOP-controlled legislatures cooked up around the country in order to play to their right-wing base, which understandably demands an emphasis on law & order, that played right into the mainstream media’s favorite pastime of painting the GOP as a bunch of racist xenophobic bigots, that will likely cost the GOP the fast-growing Latino vote for a generation or more.

      • saltycracker says:

        Hey, we Republicans were 100% for illegals as long as we could exploit them, it didn’t get ugly until the Democrats started billing us for their health care and education to pander for their side. 🙂

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