On Tuesday, Georgia held a run-off election featuring two U.S. Senate seats. In an upset, the two Democratic challengers, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeated Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. The two victories gave Democrats control of the U.S. Senate.
Usually in runoff elections, turnout drops dramatically from the general election that preceded it. This time that did not happen. About 4.5 million Georgians turned out to vote, nearly 90% the total that voted in the general election.
Can the Democrats' two Senate wins be attributed to Democrats turning out more voters than the Republican Party?
In a state like Georgia, which doesn't register voters by political parties, the best way of measuring partisanship in an election is to look at low profile races on the ballot to establish a baseline. When entering the voting booth, voters generally know about candidates at the top of the ballot. But as voters make their way down the ballot, they soon encounter races for which they know little beyond the names of the candidates, if they know that. It is at that point that people's partisanship kicks in to guide their choices.
Below is a table of the election results in Georgia:
Ossoff (D) 2,247,312 50.5%
Perdue (R) 2,206,009 49.5% D margin of victory: 41,303
Warnock (D) 2,266,333 50.9%
Loeffler (R) 2,187,042 49.1% D margin of victory: 79,291
Public Service Commission
McDonald (R) 2,288,390 50.4%
Blackman (D) 2,243,676 49.6% R margin of victory: 44,714
So in the Ossoff-Perdue race, 86,017 voters scratched, i.e. voted for the Democrat Ossoff and then voted for the Republican for Public Service Commission. In the Warnock-Perdue race, it was 124,005 Republican voters scratching.
It is highly unlikely it was Democratic-leaning voters casting their ballots for Republican McDonald. Almost certainly McDonald won because a (slight) majority of voters in the Georgia run-off election were Republican or leaned Republican. But many of those Republican-ish voters did not like Loeffler and Perdue at the top of the ticket
I think the problem for the GOP was that the two Senate seats became nationalized. Georgia voters, including a significant percentage of Republicans that lived in the state, wanted to send a message of disagreement with Trump and their two Senators who had tied themselves so closely to the President.
OOP's short takes:
- It looks like The House is going to impeach Trump again, and this time, there may be some Republican support for his removal in the Senate. So encouraging foreign powers to interfere in an American election, obstructing justice, dangling pardons, refusing to cooperate with legislative oversight, and abuse of power are not impeachable...but fomenting a mob to attack the Capitol and endanger the lives of members of Congress is a step too far? Good to know where the line is.
- Breaking news is that Trump won't attend Biden's inauguration. In other news, water is wet.
- It is being reported that Trump is considering a self-pardon. Yes, there is about a 90% chance of that happening.
- I hope that one thing that will be high on a President Biden's list of priorities is ethics reforms. One thing we learned from the Trump presidency is we can't expect a future President to do things simply because they are "norms." Might want to make those "norms" - like a President turning over his tax returns - actual laws with teeth.
- Yesterday there was yet another record set as to Covid-19 new cases and deaths. By next weekend, the United States will be at 400,000 deaths.