Barack Obama’s campaign takes a serious look at Georgia

Five months after Republicans swept every statewide seat in sight, 151 days after Democrat Roy Barnes was given that ungentle push back to the courtroom, the manager of Barack Obama’s re-election campaign this weekend expressed what many would dismiss as a fantasy.

“If you look at the new census numbers, you would think that Georgia would be in play,” Jim Messina told The New York Times. “You would definitely think that Arizona would be in play — as I think it is. Those are states where we didn’t play in last time.”

Sunstroke is one possible explanation for the young man’s remarks, except that temperatures in Chicago haven’t yet escaped the 50s.

An easy diagnosis was further complicated on Tuesday by a survey of Georgia voters conducted by Public Policy Polling — a respectable North Carolina outfit. It declared that former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich, who has not yet formally announced his Atlanta-based GOP candidacy, could lose the state in a match-up with Obama.

The president leads Gingrich, 46 to 45 percent, according to the poll — a statistically insignificant difference, given a 3.5 percent margin of error. So call it a tie. Republican Mitt Romney wins a hypothetical match-up with Obama, as does Mike Huckabee. Herman Cain, who is likely to challenge Gingrich for the title of favorite son of the Georgia GOP, does not.

According to the poll, 47 percent of Georgia voters approve of Obama’s performance as president, while 48 disapprove. Obama earned 47 percent of the Georgia vote in 2008. The numbers, the poll’s authors say, suggest that Georgia may be the state most likely to flip toward Obama in 2012.

Those guffaws you just heard come from the Republican camp, where such ideas are dismissed as happy talk aimed at campaign contributors.

They rightly note the GOP dominance here. “I think the Democrats might tone down their expectations. Just dial it back a little bit,” said Rick Tyler, spokesman for Gingrich, who was saddled — in this latest poll, as in others — with the heavy baggage of a long career and a complicated personal life.

But baggage, other GOP voices argue, doesn’t matter in Georgia.

This is the place where former congressman Nathan Deal — burdened by an ethics investigation and troubling personal finances — won the governorship with ease when Republicans tied Obama to Barnes like a tin can to a dog’s tail. “Roybama” was a key phrase.

It became a racially polarizing contest. In the end, fewer than one in five white voters picked Barnes.

If Georgia kicked Barnes like a stray cur last November, the thinking goes, what will it do to the tin can next year?

“There are no longer any statewide-elected Democrats in Georgia. There’s no bench. Who’s going to greet Air Force One? I mean, seriously,” said Dan McLagan, a GOP veteran of several statewide campaigns.

But Democrats like Messina are indeed serious when it comes to Georgia as a presidential playground. It’s all about those census numbers.

Political contests in the South have long been settled by various combinations of black and white voters. For Democrats, the winning formula has been around 95 percent of African-American voters and 35 percent of white voters.

But a third element has entered the mix in the last 10 years. Of the 1.5 million people Georgia added, two-thirds were either Hispanic or non-white. Some were Asian. All are members of demographic groups that lean toward the Democratic column.

Black voters made up 28 percent of the vote last November.

But figures from the U.S. Census show that — when residents of other hues are added — Georgia’s minority population shoots up to 37 percent. Which, some Democratic strategists say, means the state might be won with less than 30 percent support from non-Hispanic white voters.

In Virginia, Democrats have pushed Tim Kaine, the former governor and chairman of the national party, into the race for U.S. Senate, partly to boost Obama’s chances there. The Democratic National Convention will be held in North Carolina, another possibility.

“Georgia is a much better place for [Obama] to pick up electoral votes,” argued Chris Carpenter, who was Barnes’ campaign manager last year — and now runs Peachtree Battle Group, a strategy firm.

The 2010 census has increased Georgia’s electoral votes to 16, surpassing North Carolina. Georgia’s African-American population is larger, and the city of Atlanta offers more college-educated white voters who are more likely to vote for Obama, Carpenter said. Even if they didn’t vote for Barnes.

That PPP poll adds another thought: 52 percent of Georgia voters under age 65 actually approve of the job that Obama has done as president. The fact that 68 percent of senior citizens disapprove is what hurts the president — and may prove too large a hurdle next year.

But the future is another story.

“As whites who grew up in the segregation era die out over the next decade or two, this state should start looking a lot ‘purpler’ than its red tinge in recent election cycles would suggest,” writes Tom Jensen of PPP.

__- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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66 comments Add your comment

BW

April 6th, 2011
6:29 pm

BW

April 6th, 2011
6:32 pm

I just don’t see it…conservative vitriol and turnout are going to be the keys for him…perhaps in another ten years a Democrat will compete at the state but not yet.

Last Man Standing

April 6th, 2011
6:43 pm

Hussein isn’t going to waste any time in Georgia. As much as I despise his politics, he is no fool. He will lose Georgia – and lose it even bigger than he did the first time around.

Maxine

April 6th, 2011
6:45 pm

Mike Huckabee is the one to win over Obama in 2012!!

Hollis

April 6th, 2011
6:59 pm

Will somebody PLEASE send someone from the AJC to Montgomery co. BOE. We are desparate!!! The Vidalia Advance tries to help but we need a large newspaper reporting on this travesty!!! PLEASE, this is SERIOUS!!! SACS is afarid to intervene. Please help!!!!

Centrist

April 6th, 2011
7:01 pm

This is a re-run blog, and wishful thinking by this liberal blogger. The polling company is not “respectable” since it has a definite liberal bias and poor track record.

Obama has no chance to win Georgia’s electoral votes. The Republicans would love it if he were to waste resources here – but he won’t.

Red

April 6th, 2011
7:09 pm

Correction – the 2010 Census gives us 16 electoral votes. And seeing the pattern of 2010 and statewide elections in Georgia, I think it is a pipe dream to think Obama can win GA. The GOP swept constitutional offices here.

As far as the Hispanic numbers, keep in mind that the Dems pushed to count even the illegals. What this did was push the electoral votes to traditional GOP states like Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona, Texas, and Utah. The losses are in the blue states. The counting of illegals which cannot vote changed the demographics of elections in favor of red states. The plan backfired.

I know Tom and he’s typically dead on. But as far as Georgia is concerned, he needs to do more research and look at patterns here in the state.

eatmotacos

April 6th, 2011
7:22 pm

@ Red

Speaking of doing research; what is your definition of traditional? Sonny was the first Republican Governor since the reconstruction period of the 1870’s.

Last Man Standing

April 6th, 2011
7:30 pm

eatmotacos:

Check Georgia’s record on PRESIDENTIAL elections . . .

Last Man Standing

April 6th, 2011
7:42 pm

In 8 of the last 12 Presidential elections, Georgia has voted Republican.

Recent Grad

April 6th, 2011
7:55 pm

Ah, hope springs eternal, doesn’t it? I don’t care what polls say, no state that elected that vagabond (Let’s Make-a) Deal will vote for any Democrat. If Jesus was running as a Democrat and Lucifer was running Republican, who do you think would win? That’s right, Lucifer.

td

April 6th, 2011
8:03 pm

A democrat has not won a presidential election in Georgia since Clinton’s second term and before that it was Carter. Obama has no chance in winning in Georgia.

BTW: I will go on the record tonight and predict that this will be the highest white voter turn out in the states history and may be the highest black turnout (that will be harder since 2008 had an extremely high black turnout).

eatmotacos

April 6th, 2011
8:41 pm

@td

In all probability, the recently insolvent, Real Deal will be flush with cash after just one term, and may let someone else have a turn at the feeding trough. Based on his performance so far, I wouldn’t be to confident about having enougn non-Hispanic “white” voters to continue on the state’s current political path. Given the birth disparities, a Jose, or Pedro could be the state’s governor in the not too distant future. By the time people emerge from their fog, it may be a done Deal.

td

April 6th, 2011
9:02 pm

eatmotacos

April 6th, 2011
8:41 pm

I was not talking about Deal in my post. I was talking about Obama’s chances of winning the state’s electors. You are partially correct in saying that Deal may only be a one term Governor. If I am not mistaken he will be 72 by the next Governors election and will probably not run for a second term, This is the reason why those Senators have stripped Cagle of all of his power and are trying to get a lot of media time.

cs

April 6th, 2011
9:06 pm

I aint voted for a dem candidate for prez since bill clinton. But, with the idiotic policies of the gop in Ga and dc taking foot again, obama looks like my candidate.

td

April 6th, 2011
9:08 pm

LMS, Trish, RS, Centrist and all my other conservative friends. I will be spending a day with my children tomorrow taking them to historical sites in Georgia. You all hold down the fort and do not let these libs get on your nerves to much.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

April 6th, 2011
9:08 pm

here is what the census REALLY says: Obama will lose more electoral votes by losing GA, than he did in 2008. Place your bets, libs..put down some money. I will cover all bets even money Obama loses GA regardless of the republican nominee. You would think the general A** whipping obama took in november would be humbling, but not to Hussein-O..no siree.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

April 6th, 2011
9:09 pm

td, Enjoy the trip! I got your back!

TrishaDishaWarEagle

April 6th, 2011
9:11 pm

450,000 of those new hispanics in GA..can’t vote:) They are illegato

td

April 6th, 2011
9:13 pm

cs

April 6th, 2011
9:06 pm
I aint voted for a dem candidate for prez since bill clinton. But, with the idiotic policies of the gop in Ga and dc taking foot again, obama looks like my candidate.

First I do not believe you but will have to take your word for it. Second, I you say the policies right know are idiotic and have anything to say about the previous two years when the dems controlled everything in DC then I know you are a liberal and would not vote for a Republican anyway.

eatmotacos

April 6th, 2011
9:21 pm

@td
Aren’t you concerned that the double dealing Deal, just like when he was a U.S. Rep, is continuing to pursue his own interest, and will permantly alter the face of Georgia’s politics in the process? If I voted for him, based on his campaign promises,(and I didn’t), I think I might be firing off emails to the U.S. Attorney General, about now, urging him to pursue the case that prompted Deal to leave Washington in the middle of the night.

eatmotacos

April 6th, 2011
9:30 pm

“450,000 of those new hispanics in GA..can’t vote:) They are illegato”

Every hear of the 14th amendment? The Hispanic birthrate is documented in North Georgia as 300 percent greater than that of white non-Hispanics, and almost 400 percent of blacks. And the Real Deal, in pursuit of his own interest, is sowing the seed for the future of the state.

td

April 6th, 2011
9:30 pm

eatmotacos

April 6th, 2011
9:21 pm
@td
Aren’t you concerned that the double dealing Deal, just like when he was a U.S. Rep, is continuing to pursue his own interest

Can you prove any of your accusations? What has Deal done since taking office would lead you to make such an accusation? What legislation passed will “line his pocket”?

Brenda

April 6th, 2011
9:35 pm

Fire up the blacks for a big turnout with race baiting again and see if you can really destroy the democrat party in Georgia for two generations. Race baiting democrats are on the edge of making democrats not just a minority party but a party only of minorities.

reggie

April 6th, 2011
9:36 pm

THis redneck state, Mr. President don’t stand a chance here! And that is unfortunately. All the federal money Son Purdue spent from the federal spending that saved our state from financial ruins caused by the republicans. Oh yeah, I used the term rednecks because outside of progressive metro Atlanta and a few other urban areas in the state, the majority are rednecks! Obama would get 80+ percent of the African American vote and about 25% of the white vote, but that 75% left of the white vote would not vote for Obama because he is black and he doesn’t have an R (redneck) in front of his name.

cs

April 6th, 2011
9:44 pm

td, you can feel free to see what i usually vote for. My rep is Mark Hatfield. He will know who i am.

that’s it reggie. pile on that racist bs you and the naacp kooks are famous for in driving would be democrats away…idiot.

Tired of BS

April 6th, 2011
9:45 pm

Obama rates right up there with Jimmy Carter and Woodrow Wilson in incompetence. What a sad pathetic state of ignorance Democrats, Progressives, and Liberals live in. They would sell their damned soul to the devil if it will provide union jobs and the ability to live off of everyone else.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

April 6th, 2011
9:46 pm

…and because he is an Income redistributing, marxist leaning, weak foreign policy having, just plain annoying when he speaks, Ahole.

Eyes

April 6th, 2011
9:47 pm

WOW…..one thing to say….. was not a close race when he won in 2008 and trust me it will not be one in 2012………..sad that this has turn into a election of color……but trust me I will cast my vote for President Obama in 2012!!!!! Yeah I’m white female making six figures…..love my President!!!!!

td

April 6th, 2011
9:49 pm

reggie

April 6th, 2011
9:36 pm

Well Reggie, I see that you see everything with a black, white lens. Obama does not have a chance in Georgia because of his color, he does not have a chance because of his philosophy.

You my friend are to busy hating to see that those White liberals/socialist/communist and their race pimp field bosses still have you on the plantation doing their bidding. It is the philosophy of conservatism that will set you free from the bonds of government. Wake up my friend, rip off that yoke and go set you people free.

cs

April 6th, 2011
9:51 pm

My yard will look nice with my first obama sign in it.

tim

April 6th, 2011
9:59 pm

White voters elected Obama in 2008. Smart and fed up white voters will kick him back to Chicago in 2012!

Bye Bye Obama……..

get real

April 6th, 2011
10:00 pm

Unless republicans come up with a sane and centrist candidate, Obama will likely win the nation in a landslide come 2012. Here’s why: while there are certainly plenty of people dumb enough to vote for Bachmann, Palin, Newt, and the like, there simply aren’t enough…and those three are going to get plenty of attention and news coverage which will take away the spotlight from the republicans who stand a better chance. Besides, it’s the Independents who will determine the next president and they aren’t going to support a “fringe” candidate.

Kris

April 6th, 2011
10:02 pm

Obama voters would have to get smarter just to be stupid!!!! Anybody but Obama in 2012!

mat

April 6th, 2011
10:06 pm

Obama is dreaming if he thinks he will get another 4 years. Thinking he will carry Ga. is a pipedream.

Olderandwiser49

April 6th, 2011
10:18 pm

Yes, but of all those Hispanic immigrants, how many are legally here, and therefore, legally allowed to vote? Only voter fraud will increase King Obama’s chance of winning in Georgia, which may be why Obama and the Dems have been so supportive of organizations like C.A.I.R. and the Black Panther Party. He’ll need their help to stuff the ballot boxes and to intimidate Conservative voters at polling places.

td

April 6th, 2011
10:25 pm

get real

April 6th, 2011
10:00 pm

Obama may get re elected because of what you said but here is a different angle for you to think about.

African Americans turned out in mass and voted for Obama and will again is this election cycle. The progressive/socialist wing of the party did the same and will again. The other two main groups that supported Obama was young, manly college, adults and white suburban women put him over the top.

Young college students: They voted for him for two main reasons: Getting out of the wars and change. Well we are not only still in the wars, gitmo and still practice 95% of Bush’s policies on the war on terror (which BTW is the only policy I agree with Obama on) we are now in a third war. Is this the type of change that is gong to keep the young excited and out to the polls again? Economy: There are more college grads today than there was 3 years ago that can not get the dream jobs they want or can not get jobs at all. Is this going to make these young people excited and coming out in mass again?

White suburban women: This group voted 55% for Obama. They liked the fact that they could go tell their friend they voted for the first African American president. They liked the message of a new government, a more open government, putting the people first, hope and change. Well they did not like the helth care plan and got angry when they went to town hall meetings and their congressman would not listen to them. Many of this voting group started the tea parties and they are the ones that sent a loud message in 2010 (look at the exit poll results). Will this group think that Obama got the message (they still like him personally but hate his domestic policies) and are now willing to give hm a second chance? The other thing is these are the ones driving the big SUV’s and buying the groceries. How is the rise in the prices of gas and food going to effect their votes?

Just a little different look at things. What do you libs think about it? I guarantee you both parties know this are thinking about it and are coming up with strategies to go after these voters because they are the two groups that will choose the next President.

Mariela. GA.GringaLatinaVoter

April 6th, 2011
10:57 pm

Socialism. Entitlements. Social Security. Medicare. Public Schools. Hospital Emergency Rooms. Police Depts. Fire Depts. Highway Patrols. State Troopers. Highway & Street Maintenance. Traffic Engineering (traffic lights, road signs).

The list goes on & on of all the services we all get from the government. And Obama has NOT being doing a good job protecting those (yes, those ’socialistic & entitlement programs) for all of us because: because the Republicans haven’t let him do a damn thing.

Whether you like him or not, the R’s have not let him do a damn thing.

td

April 6th, 2011
11:28 pm

Mariela. GA.GringaLatinaVoter

April 6th, 2011
10:57 pm

“The list goes on & on of all the services we all get from the government. And Obama has NOT being doing a good job protecting those (yes, those ’socialistic & entitlement programs) for all of us because: because the Republicans haven’t let him do a damn thing.

Whether you like him or not, the R’s have not let him do a damn thing.”

Obama had total control of the White house and super majorities in congress for two years. There was not a damn thing the Republicans could do to stop him. The last time one party had this much power was the 1930’s. You have got to be kidding me about blaming the Republicans for stopping him from implementing any policy he wanted. Try again.

Lest ye forget...

April 7th, 2011
12:10 am

Republicans: You’ll have to find a decent candidate in order to beat Obama. McCain/Palin???? Really??? That’s the best you could do???
Newt Gingrich?????????????? Donald Trump???????????? You have no one to blame but your own party for the CRAP Candidates they put up.

ITP

April 7th, 2011
12:24 am

Clintons will ride to the rescue!!!!

John

April 7th, 2011
12:32 am

Um TrishaDishaWarEagle, you might just be the dumbest person alive. I would counter your “arguments,” but you would probably just call me a Marxist anyway.

Don’t bother responding to this, because I won’t bother reading it.

Jon Lester

April 7th, 2011
5:40 am

Our wingnut friends may be grossly misinformed, but they’re not all stupid. This is why Gingrich and Cain would lose to Obama.

UNaffiliated Voter

April 7th, 2011
7:20 am

meanwhile, Dr. Ron Paul (without mainstream press) raised over $3 MILLION DOLLARS last week beating Romney, Gingrich, Bachman…and all the rest! Ron Paul will announce his bid shortly and has agreed to appear on the first SC presidential DEBATE this fall.

Ron Paul 2012

http://www.CampaignforLiberty.org

Morrus

April 7th, 2011
7:59 am

“As whites who grew up in the segregation era die out over the next decade or two, this state should start looking a lot ‘purpler’ than its red tinge in recent election cycles would suggest,”

can’t happen soon enough…….

Chuck

April 7th, 2011
8:10 am

Enter your comments here

Chuck

April 7th, 2011
8:14 am

“If you look at the new census numbers, you would think that Georgia would be in play,” That’s been the Democrat’s plan all along. Flood the country with illegals and give them citizenship and they will vote Democratic. Yes, vote against true American citizens. How could any one born in this country vote for any party that panders to illegals?

TrishaDishaWarEagle

April 7th, 2011
8:18 am

@Morrus..one could also say, due to the high felony(thus non voting for about a decade) incarceration rate of black men, and the fact that the leading cause of death of black males 18-55 is..black males 18-55, that the blacks will not take advantage of any demographic shift. Legal latinos will/have passed them by as the minority to pander to, among white libtards.

Bill

April 7th, 2011
8:19 am

“Roybama”?? This is what passes for political discord in Georgia’s republican party. The best way for republican’s to lose the control they have gained is to keep insulting the intelligence of the voters.

Last Man Standing

April 7th, 2011
8:56 am

Kris:

“Obama voters would have to get smarter just to be stupid!!!!”

Wish I’d said that!