What we already knew

This is bad news for Sen. Warnock and Democrats

The polls were right all along. Sen. Raphael Warnock had high negative ratings among rural Georgia voters, and Sen. Jon Ossoff was behind then-incumbent Sen. David Perdue heading into the January runoffs. The media narrative offered in the halo of the triple Democrat victory, that it was Biden’s coattails, does not hold water.

But we knew all that.

Georgia Public Broadcasting analyzed voter turnout precinct by precinct comparing the 2020 general election versus the runoff, and they found (no spoiler!) that nearly 310,000 voters in 1,387 precincts which Trump won in November, stayed home.

White voter turnout in the same precincts fell 9 percent, while Black voter turnout fell only by 6.7 percent.

By comparison, the 1,261 precincts President Biden won in Georgia saw a drop-off of just 220,000 voters, white turnout dropped by about 7% and Black turnout fell only 6.4%. 

Of the 25 precincts that saw the largest raw decrease in voters from November to January, all of them went for Trump. Nine of them are in the 9th Congressional District in northeast Georgia and four of them are in Forsyth County, a fast-growing exurb that sits in both the 7th and 9th districts. 

In heavily Republican Jackson County, northeast of Atlanta, turnout dropped by more than 5,000 people from the general election to the runoff — about 9.5% of its 55,000 active voters.

President Trump’s “stolen election” message hit home. Lin Wood’s antics kept voters home. Rudy Giuliani and Sidney “Kraken” Powell’s conspiracy-laden accusations kept voters home. Q-Anon kept voters home.

Those voters stayed home and lost the Senate to Warnock (who may have won regardless) and Ossoff (who almost certainly would have lost).

Oh, and about those claims of supression:

Another data point worth noting: the Black share of the Georgia electorate increased slightly from 27.3% in November to 28% of total votes cast in January. Black voters make up 30% of Georgia's 7.7 million active voters.

Now we look at 2022, which is still “a mess.” Trafalgar Group, which has consistently turned out fairly accurate polls in the last two cycles, ran a poll pitting Herschel Walker against Warnock, and the results don’t look good for Warnock.

In the survey (a link to the full poll can be found HERE) Walker leads incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock by 48%-to-46% with the remainder either supporting another candidate or undecided. Similar ballot tests between potential Republican candidates Doug Collins and Kelly Loeffler show Warnock ahead, although the margin between Warnock and Collins was less than a point.

Cahaly observes “Walker’s name has been thrown out there over the past few weeks but operatives, elected officials and pundits were all quietly asking the same question: ‘can Herschel win?’ We now know that answer to that question is absolutely yes. An 81 percent favorable rating among GOP primary voters is unheard of these days, but that was his rating in this survey.”

In potential GOP head-to-head primary matchups, Walker leads both Collins and Loeffler by wide margins. In a matchup between Collins and Loeffler, Collins leads by some 20 points.

This is why Walker’s potential entry into the senate race has “frozen” everything. Nobody wants to jump in and get slaughtered. It’s nearly certain that Collins will continue to run.

We already knew that the 2020 runoff was thrown like a prize fight by Donald Trump, in a fit of pique for having lost what could have been an easy re-election bid if he had just kept his mouth shut (which is impossible for him). We also know that 2022 is going to be a meat grinder for Republicans, but there’s a real potential for Gov. Brian Kemp to keep his job, and to flip one or both senate seats back to red.

That potential is tied to whether the voters who stayed home in January will continue to withhold their votes for Republicans other than the Q-Anon and MAGA types who turn off suburban and Atlanta metro voters. The only person who seems to be able to unite these factions so far is a hometown football favorite. So perhaps we’ll go with that.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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