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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Some Math Behind Warnock’s Victory

From “3 numbers that show how Raphael Warnock won the Georgia runoff” by Jessica Piper at Politico:

After edging out Walker on Election Day, Warnock narrowly improved on his margins across the state in the runoff. He was buoyed by strong enough turnout in the Atlanta area, particularly among Black voters. And he built up an advantage from early and mail voting that Republicans simply could not catch — a subject the GOP is belatedly addressing after its disappointing midterms….Here are the numbers that explain how the incumbent Democrat pulled it off.

More than 320,000 votes: Warnock’s advantage from mail and early voting

Georgia’s runoff results highlighted once again the recent partisan polarization of methods of voting. Since 2020, Republican leaders, including former President Donald Trump, have expressed skepticism of early and absentee voting methods — although a number of Republican leaders other than Trump appear to be rethinking that opposition after losses in Georgia and elsewhere….

….Despite records set in the first few days of early voting, there was still significantly less total early voting than in the January 2021 runoffs, when the early voting period was longer and overall turnout — including Election Day voting — topped 4.4 million, compared to only 3.5 million this year.

But the early and absentee vote still allowed Warnock to build a lead of more than 320,000 votes, which Walker was unable to overcome on Election Day. The GOP nominee won the Election Day vote by around 225,000 votes, not enough to put him over the top.

Just 26 out of 159 counties: Where Walker improved his margin compared to November

After trailing Warnock slightly in the November election that prompted the runoff, Walker either needed to shift turnout in his favor or improve his margins.

He couldn’t do it. Walker’s share of the two-party vote improved in just 26 of the state’s 159 counties, according to a POLITICO analysis of unofficial results reported by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. The counties where he managed to improve were largely small and rural — accounting for just 5 percent of total votes cast in the state — so Walker could not bank enough votes to offset Warnock’s gains elsewhere.

Close enough to 90 percent: Turnout compared to November in Atlanta-area Democratic strongholds

Statewide turnout in the runoff was roughly 89 percent of what it was in November, with more than 3.5 million voters casting ballots this time. High turnout does not inherently benefit one candidate or the other. But Walker, who had trailed slightly in the November election, needed relatively higher turnout in GOP-friendly counties compared to Democratic-leaning ones. That did not substantially materialize….Most importantly for Warnock, Democratic strongholds in metro Atlanta saw relatively high turnout. In DeKalb County, turnout was higher than the state average. It was slightly lower in Clayton and Fulton counties, but Warnock improved his margin slightly in both, offsetting turnout losses.

And give it up for Quentin Fulks, Warnock’s campaign manager, who did an outstanding job of overseeing GOTV strategy where it counted.

One comment on “Some Math Behind Warnock’s Victory

  1. Miles Fidelman on

    Perhaps it’s about time for the Democratic Party to think really seriously about:

    – Updating its message & appeal to rural voters.
    – Running candidates who get up-close-and-personal with those they (seek to) represent.

    Nothing you guys haven’t been talking about for years. Progressive candidates seem to be listening. Not so much the Party powers-that-be. (Perhaps still a bit too driven by big-money donors, and wedded to using social media solely as to spam folks for contributions.)


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