Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Playing In Georgia

It's the question rolling around the addled minds of all political junkies - is Georgia in play?

A month ago I painted a scenario where Virginia plays the Florida/Ohio role in 2008. I'm sticking by that prediction but in the past year I also predicted Hillary Clinton would easily win the nomination and James Marlow would make the runoff in the 10th. So you have been warned.

But let's look at Georgia for a moment. Can Barack Obama flip a state which voted overwhelmingly for George Bush in 2004?

For your consideration, four factors which could be difference makers.

Vice President

Pro - It's only a pro for Obama if it is former Sen. Sam Nunn. Otherwise, Georgians probably won't care.

Con - South of Cordele most Georgians receive a mix of Georgia and Florida media. If John McCain selects popular Florida governor Charlie Crist as a running mate, a large portion of the state will see a face on the ticket which may be more familiar than their own Governor.

Bob Barr

Pro - Barr is the biggest name the Libertarian Party has ever nabbed. A native Georgian, he is polling somewhere between 3% and 5%. Some fevered Democrats have actually predicted he could pull 8%.

Con - No Libertarian has received higher than 1.6% of the vote in the last 20 years. Enough said.

Turnout

Pro - Despite a hotly contested Republican race, almost 100,000 more people pulled Democratic ballots in February.

Con - February is not November. A brutal campaign, disaffected Clinton supporters plus the possibility of an October surprise in the form of a Willie Horton style ad campaign gives McCain plenty of ground to gain.

African Americans

Pro - Almost 500,000 African Americans voted in the February primary and almost 90% voted for Obama.

Con - Only about 550,000 African Americans voted in the 2004 general election. It is a huge question whether the primary turnout can be maintained - particularly if Jim Martin knocks Vernon Jones in the July primary.

The first two factors are fairly clear but turnout is the more difficult beast to wrestle. Obama's ability to get so many new voters to the polls blows up most traditional political equations.

So is Georgia in play? Definitely. Maybe. I don't know. But the strange swirl of syncronicity certainly makes it intriguing.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

If the Repubs have to campaign in Georgia, then they will have less bucks to spend in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Even if BHO doesn't win here, the fact that he is competitive here hurts the Repubs.
Bob Barr is a turkey.
chamblee54

shelbinator said...

Somewhere at the intersection of turnout and African-Americans is the number of unregistered eligible A-A voters in the neighborhood of 500-600K.