Georgia’s Future Looks like Romney’s Present

November 7, 2012 11:57 am

by Chris Huttman · 32 comments

I file this dispatch from Swing State Virginia, where I decamped to knock on doors for Barack Obama and Tim Kaine.  The atmosphere at the Kaine victory party in Richmond was electric as the votes finally started to be reported from Fairfax County and the city of Norfolk and first Kaine took the lead and finally Obama was declared the winner.  Virginia wasn’t as solidly blue as it was four years ago, but a win is a win and Republicans currently do not have a path to electoral victory in Presidential races.

To Georgia – where Romney turned in a mostly similar victory to McCain’s 4 years ago.  Our final poll for Better Georgia put it at 52-46, and I expect with rounding the final number will be 53-46.  On the local front, our firm (20/20 Insight) had accurate results, as did Landmark. Matt Towery emailed two days ago to say that Obama would not get 42% in Georgia due to a rising tide of Republican voters.  Anyone who listens to or hires this guy should be ashamed of themselves.

In a year when the national popular vote tightened and Obama won some swing states by much narrower margins than four years ago, Georgia stayed about the same.  We are trending Democratic.  And soon enough, with the Hispanic vote rising each year and the share of the white vote decreasing, the Republicans will have the same problem winning here that they had last night for Mitt Romney in the rest of the country.  To my Republican friends: well done so far, but I see no evidence that you’re doing anything to combat this problem.  Let’s take two local races as examples.

Scott Holcomb is a moderate army veteran running in a suburban white district with a slight Democratic tilt.  Primary voters rejected a moderate female Republican in favor of an extreme, Georgia Right to Life pledge signing whack-job who pulled out every crazy Republican idea in an attempt to swift boat Holcomb.  It backfired big time, and Holcomb isn’t likely to have a tough race for this seat again in the next ten years.  Good job on that one, guys!

Now over to House District 66 in Douglas and Paulding counties.  Republican mapmakers never understood the early vote math, and even though I calculated this district as one Obama won four years ago, they were confident of it’s Republican lean.  Douglas and Paulding are fast changing – getting more diverse by the minute.  Democrats nominated a local NAACP leader.  What was the Republican response?  Did they find a young, attractive moderate to nominate?  Nope.  They rallied around a literal dinosaur, a former GOP member (Bob Snelling) who joined with the extreme wing of the Republican caucus back in the 90′s to sponsor bills that make it harder to get divorced and prevent teaching of evolution in schools.  Again, this is the future?

Now overall I applaud them for a map well drawn.  With Rusty Kidd’s swing vote, they will have their super majority.  How will they use it?  My prediction is that they will use it to fight yesterday’s battles – the ridiculous Milton County idea will be devoted hours and days of debate even though 95% of Georgians couldn’t care less.  I predict we’ll see a personhood amendment and other nonsense added to the ballot.  Just remember, Democrats are sitting at 46% of the electorate and doing better in places like Scott Holcomb’s district where voters are already paying attention.  Republicans right now are like a lottery winner in this state.  It will be interested to see whether they plan for the future or go on one last spending spree and blow all of their political capital.  If you’re a Republican, you better hope it’s the former, if you’re a Democrat, you know it will be the latter.

Trey A. November 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Hard to argue with that.

lukethedrifter November 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I’m moving to Texas.

Jas November 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm

For exhibit A, see Jenny Beth Martin’s dumbassery that Galloway just put up:

“What we got was a weak moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country-club establishment wing of the Republican Party. The Presidential loss is unequivocally on them….

We cannot change what the Republican establishment handed us tonight. We can stop Barack Obama from fundamentally changing the future and character of this nation. We can stop the mushy-middle, non-fighters in the GOP from rolling over and getting rolled, yet again by the Left.”

The absolute stupidity and willful ignorance of the Tea Party leaders in Georgia is mind boggling.

caroline November 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm

I was wondering what the reaction to Romney’s loss would be. Anyway, I guess we can expect a Todd Akin style candidate to be on the top of the ticket in 2016.

Three Jack November 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm

What is incorrect in JBM’s statement? Republican vote dropped by 3,000,000 compared with 2008. If the GOP cannot generate entusiasm within its ranks when running against a failure like Obama, then who else should the blame fall on but the party and its candidate?

Charlie November 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Romney was solid, if not exciting.

But watching the littany of my FB friends proclaiming that Herman Cain/Rick Santorum/Newt Gingrich/Rick Perry would have somehow resulted in better general election results when each managed to make a trainwreck out of front runner status during a Republican primary defies logic.

David C November 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I’d hold off on raw vote totals just yet. Turnout might not match ’08, but plenty of votes absentee, provisional, and otherwise have yet to be added to the raw vote totals: http://www.tnr.com/blog/electionate/109949/there-arent-many-missing-voters-it-seems

Andre November 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Since the subject of Milton County was brought up, the root cause of the Milton movement stems from the Democrats remaining recalcitrant against reforming Fulton County government.

In a county that is over 90% incorporated, why is there still a police department, sheriff’s office, and marshal’s office? All three could be consolidated into one department, the sheriff’s office, and save Fulton taxpayers money. But the Democrats are resistant to that.

Why are there seven Fulton County commissioners when most represent districts that are located wholly within a city? What is the purpose of the Fulton commissioners who no longer have a say on police coverage, fire coverage, planning and zoning in the communities they represent? The Fulton County Commission could be reduced in size, saving taxpayers money, but again, the Democrats resist that too.

I know Fulton County is too big for its britches.

I know Democrats resisted most efforts to reform Fulton County government.

And I know that this is reason enough, for some, to split the county.

UpHere November 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Exactly. You will not see Milton County. You will see Fulton County reformed.

John Konop November 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I have a prediction:

The Democrats will run Hillary Clinton 4 years from now. The GOP will not nominate a rational candidate like Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels, John Huntsman…… The GOP will use “Birther” type tactics on Hillary, except it will be female based attacks rather than focus on economic issues with a candidate that throws flames like Newt . The second attack will about Benghazi, which at the point will have less meaning than it had now other than Fox TV viewers. This will alienate women further, combined with women wanting to see a female president, and a growing minority population scared from “Birther” and anti Dream Act nasty attacks, which will put GEORGIA in play the next cycle. And Georgia in 8 years will be like Virginia is now a swing state, unless the GOP gets their act together. The Dems smell blood……………..And big Bill will lead the charge.

caroline November 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Hahaha. I actually agree pretty much with what you are saying.

KD_fiscal conservative November 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I think TP’er and other far-right wackos actually like Christie…it has little to do with his policies and everything to do with a couple of youtube clips of him “give’in lib’ur’als hell.”

Remember this: to the far-right, its ALL about the fiery rhetoric, and very little about actual policies…why do you think they like Newt so much.

drjay November 8, 2012 at 8:46 am

christie’s gonna have some fence mending to do…he ticked off a lot of goper’s after sandy, and he will run for reelection (unlike romney in 06) and if he loses, that takes a lot of shine off his star…

drjay November 8, 2012 at 8:46 am

or 02, whenever that was…

Three Jack November 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm

“The second attack will about Benghazi, which at the point will have less meaning than it had now other than Fox TV viewers”

What a complete ahole statement. You think the only people that care about Benghazi are Fox TV viewers? It goes far deeper than that John, check with any current or former military person, the families and friends of those who needlessly died and any other American who gives a crap about our ability to defend our own turf. Benghazi should be fully investigated ASAP and if it is proven that the administration did what has been reported, heads should roll.

The Last Democrat in Georgia November 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm

“Democrats are sitting at 46% of the electorate and doing better in places like Scott Holcomb’s district where voters are already paying attention.”

Uh, Scott, buddy, you make a lot of good key points, but the last time I looked, 46% was SMALLER than 54% (46 < 54).

Democrats may have a lot of potential in the future in Georgia, but for the time being potential is the ONLY thing that Democrats have in this state, especially in light of the almost total lack of a Democrat Party structure in the Georgia.

The number of Democrats may have grown to make up 46% of the electorate, but they still only make up 46% of the electorate.

Congrats to the Democrats on their big so-called "win" last night, but in Georgia and the Deep South (from NC in the east over to Texas in the west), Republicans not only run this game, they DOMINATE this game, a game in Georgia and throughout much of the South that Democrats have nothing at the table but an empty chair, if that, at the moment.

Before Democrats get all excited about how much supposed "potential" they have in a state in which they are damned near extinct, they should be very mindful of just whose game they are playing (hint: it AIN'T theirs).

Democrats can crow all they want about the numbers going their way in Georgia, but if they don't an even the slightest evidence of an actual statewide organization, it doesn't mean a —damn thing.

Democrats not only remain hated, but more DESPISED than ever, in Georgia and throughout much of the South.

John Konop November 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I agree, but the demographics are changing, that is why I think the Democrats are at least 8 years off before they make any real in roads. The game changer could be Hillary, if the GOP takes the bait and goes nasty, combined with a demographic switch, they could win some surprise seats with the right candidates. Even if that happens the first shot would be very small. But in 8 years at the current demographic projections in Georgia, you will see change, if the GOP does not get pro –active before that time period.

caroline November 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I think you are right. I think Hillary could flip the state in ’16 but it probably would not flip until later with another candidate.

The Last Democrat in Georgia November 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm

With the state of the GOP in Georgia, I don’t have any confidence in them that they will ever get their act together and get in the game.

I mean, for cryin’ out loud, the Georgia GOP can’t even synchonize the damned traffic signals or defeat the devil himself (Obama) in an election that should be a gimme with the very questionable economic conditions, so I don’t have much confidence at the moment that they’ll be able to fight off the obvious demographic tide that is coming.

Heck, as we’ve explored on this website previously, with roughly 50% of the population in the Metro Atlanta region being minority, including many urban, suburban and exurban metro counties that have populations nearing, at and above 50% (Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Douglas, Rockdale, Newton, Henry counties), the only reason why the Republicans remain so dominant is because the Democrats have virtually no meaningful organization in the metro area.

caroline November 7, 2012 at 6:34 pm

actually the GOP in GA seems to be doing fine. It’s the national GOP that seems to have so many problems.

The Last Democrat in Georgia November 7, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Sorry, I misspoke in my second paragraph, I meant to say that “the GOP can’t even synchronize the traffic signals here in Georgia or defeat Obama nationally”.

But despite that and despite all appearances on the surface, the GOP is NOT doing fine in Georgia.

With what is seemingly a new federal corruption investigation every week, voter participation in some historically Republican strongholds (like rapidly-diversifying Gwinnett) as low as 6% at times in some local and state races, a stubborn reluctance to adequately or properly address this state’s notable transportation issues and what looks to be a building demographic tide in the increasingly less predominantly white suburbs and exurbs of the Metro Atlanta region, the GOP is doing anything but fine in Georgia at the moment, despite some outward appearances.

The fear is that by the time both the national and Georgia GOP comes to the reality that this is 21st Century and NOT the 20th Century, or in some cases even the 19th Century, they will have been swept out of power and it will be too late to react.

Like John Konop and many posters and political watchers have REPEATEDLY warned, if the GOP (Georgia and national) does not wake up, they may not even have the chance to win “swing” elections as by that time (about a decade from now), the demographics may have just simply left them behind in the dust.

caroline November 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm

It’s kind of ironic that the better the GOP does in the south, the worse it does in the rest of the nation. The current leadership in the DNC is not going to do anything about Georgia so all the Republicans can rest assured for right now. Howard Dean actually was starting things and giving money to county parties etc but Obama ran him off ‘cuz he wanted everything to himself.

KD_fiscal conservative November 7, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I think it is going to take one more disastrous cycle until the GOP gets it act together and tells the TPers and anti-immigrant/sexist/anti-gay wing of the party to go take a hike. Romney obsessively pandered to that wing until the last 1-2 months of the campaign, when he decided to magically turn into a moderate, but after he spent 5 years and 10 months pretending to be a right-wing ideologue, people started believing it.

saltycracker November 7, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Women voters: ABC made a big case months ago that there was a big difference in the ranks and the media discussed it again last night as the results supported the position:

Married women supported Romney.
Single women supported Obama.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/put-ring-obama-wins-women-married-types/story?id=16057761

John Konop November 7, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Salty,

The problem is if you take out married women over 65 Obama wins. As the population ages the numbers look bad or the GOP.

David C November 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm

One thing that stands out to me on the GA map is the inner suburbs. I’d be curious, Chris, what you think of the movement around there. Look at CNN’s Map here (http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/results/state/GA#president). Four years ago (http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/county/#GAP00map) I was surprised to see Obama break out of the Fulton/Dekalb/Clayton triangle, winning Douglas, Rockdale, and Newton on the eastern and western edges by 50-49, 54-45 and 50-49 respectively and holding down the margins in Cobb and Gwinnett. Four years prior in 2004, Bush had won those counties 61-38, 60-39, 62-37. Cobb was 62-37 and Gwinnett 66-33. Now, that was a year when Obama made some effort in the state, airing ads and putting a field operation in place.

Four years later, with a weaker national popular vote margin, and not making much effort at all in the state, Obama’s margins in the Atlanta inner suburbs held up, with Douglas/Rockdale/Newton going O 51-48, 58-41, and 51-48, not just holding his own but slightly increasing his margin in each. Even in the old GOP heavyweights Cobb and Gwinnett, Obama more or less held his margins from 08, going from 54-45 to 55-43 and 55-45 to 54-45 respectively. Henry was another one that narrowed, from 67-33 in ’04 to 53-46 in ’08 to 51-48 this year.

You could reasonably think the ’08 changes were a one-off based on black turnout for Obama’s historic election. Having the margin more or less the same here is a sign that it was a demographic and political shift in the state. I wouldn’t say GA will turn blue in 2016, but if the Dems can find a reasonable and well funded Senate candidate who could run a point or two ahead of the ticket, I’d be worried if I were the GA GOP, especially if the people that went after Lugar decide to claim a scalp down here in Isakson’s primary.

cheapseats November 7, 2012 at 8:32 pm

A strong Independent might do well in Georgia, too. Ballot access is always a problem but the right person could probably pull it off – fiscally conservative and socially moderate. I’m talking Senate.

I really don’t think party is all that interesting to a growing number of people. But, I’m usually wrong. I talk to a lot of former Dems that are frightened off by the Republicans but no longer want anything to do with the Dems in Georgia. Of course, the R’s could help themselves a bit if they got rid of some of the crazies and crooks. I’m not saying the D’s don’t have their share – just that most of the woo-able voters have already left the D’s but they don’t align with the R’s either.

SmyrnaModerate November 8, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Going by the chart in today’s AJC, Georgia was Romney’s second smallest margin of victory after him squeaking by in North Carolina. This follows being mccain’s third smallest margin of victory in 2008. I have Georgia as a swing state in 2020 but maybe it will be 2016 after all…

goto123 November 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Hey nice article I agreed with your points. However I’d like to talk some more about Matt Towery and Inside[R] Advantage

That Matt Towery guy and his firm Insider Advantage are a shill of the Georgia Republican party; and they deserve to be called out for it too. Hell, just typing his name in Google shows he’s a conservative and a Gingrich supporter. That idiot released a poll on September 18th that claimed Romney was ahead 56% to 35%. Yes that’s right, according to Insider Advantage, Romney should have done better in Georgia than Bush did in both 2000 and 2004… Other notable polling finds include 47% to 5% that say Mitt Romney would do a better job on the economy, 42% to 7% that say Mitt Romney would do a better job in foreign policy, and lastly 41% to 5% that say they’d rather have dinner with Mitt Romney over Obama. It’s blatantly obvious to me that Matt Towery and his friends at Fox 5 are trying to cook up polls to dissuade Democrats from voting. I like how they now call him a “political analyst.” I hope that every pollster from now on puts an [R] by Insider Advantage.

Ironically the last Republican pollster from Georgia, Strategic Vision LLC, also got busted (by Nate Silver) for making up fraudulent polls to advance their agenda. Pretty pathetic isn’t it?

goto123 November 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Ah forgot to cite my source. Here’s Insider Advantage’s final poll for Georgia, it was conducted September 18th 2012:

http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/19588844/new-polls-shows-strong-romney-support-in-georgia

Yep Romney ahead by 21%, another fantastic polling job by Insider Advantage and Fox 5.

goto123 November 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I was also pretty bummed out by the fact that there was no exit polls in Georgia, yet more conservative states such as Indiana, Montana, Arizona, and even Alabama had exit polls. They should fire whoever decided to not do exit polls in Georgia.

Chris Huttman November 8, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Yes, not doing an exit poll here is really dumb on their parts – they will have nothing to compare to if/when Georgia becomes a swing state in 2016. Indiana, Montana and Arizona all had competitive Senate or Governor races.

I believe they picked Alabama for two reasons – Judge Roy Moore was on the ballot again and they probably lumped all of the deep south states together and said those hicks in Alabama and Georgia are all the same and it’s cheaper to do Alabama.

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