GA Early Vote Analysis: Signs of a Durable Democratic Coalition

In November, turnout in Georgia reached record levels and helped deliver the state’s 16 electoral votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Two weeks from today, Georgia voters will decide who will represent them in the Senate, and will decide which party controls the chamber. While the final results will likely be decided by a slim margin, there are some promising indicators for Democrats in the Peach state.

Here are some toplines based on the data that’s in.

The Democratic Coalition

In Georgia, voters don’t register by party so we don’t know the party affiliation of voters, but we are able to model partisan support.

According to TargetSmart’s modeled party ID, Democrats have slightly improved their share of voters to 48.2% (+.6%) of the electorate, while Republicans have slipped to 45.5% (-.3%) compared to this point in the November general election.

When you dig a bit deeper, key groups in the Democratic coalition are turning out.

African-American voters are +1.5% as a share of the electorate, while non-college educated whites are down .5%. African-American turnout is up + 3.9% compared to 2016 and up +2.9% compared to 2018.

Oftentimes, when pundits talk about “rural” and “suburban” voters, they are using an outdated code for white voters. In the 2020 General Election, nearly 20% of all votes cast in rural communities were cast by people of color.

So far in the runoff, 119,095 African Americans in rural communities have cast a ballot. That’s up slightly from 117,773 at this point in the 2020 General Election.

Let that sink in: more rural African American voters have participated so far in the special election than they did at this point in the run up to the presidential.

By comparison, the white non-college rural vote is down from 284,984 at this point in 2020 to 262,861.

Huge Turnout

If the conventional wisdom is that special elections are low-turnout affairs, no one told Georgia voters that. Total turnout is just behind where it was two weeks out from this year’s general election.

So far, 1,463,800 Georgians have voted in the runoff, compared to 1,569,862 at this point in the lead-up to the November election. By comparison, just 714,707 voters cast a ballot at this point in the 2016 election.