Black voters in Georgia turned out for the November presidential election at nearly the same rate as they did in 2008, while white voter turnout dropped measurably, according to demographic statistics released this week by Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
Usually calculated in the weeks following an election, a spokesman for Kemp said the statistics – gathered as required by the Voting Rights Act — were delayed by incomplete numbers from Fulton County. But the breakdown remains doubly important for political wonks, given that Georgia wasn’t included in any exit polling.
Last November, Republican challenger Mitt Romney beat Democratic incumbent Barack Obama in Georgia by 53 to 46 percent, doing slightly better than John McCain against Obama (52 percent to 47 percent) four years earlier.
But behind the percentages are some numbers that, in a state where race and voting preference run parallel to each other, ought to concern Republicans. White voter participation dropped by 122,949 in 2012, making up 61 percent of all November ballots. They cast 64 percent of the vote in 2008.
By contrast, the drop off among black Georgia voters was only 14,222, or 29.9 percent. In 2008, they cast 30 percent of all ballots. However, a weakness in African-American turnout stands out: Only 66 percent of black men registered to vote actually went to the polls. Turnout among black women and whites of both genders was in the mid-70s.
While their numbers remain low, the number of Georgia ballots cast by Hispanics and Asian-Americans increased in 2012.
Total 2012 African-American vote: 1,168,287 (29.9 percent)
2008: 1,182,509 (30 percent)
Total 2012 white vote: 2,399,345 (61 percent)
2008: 2,522,294 (64 percent)
Total 2012 Asian-Pacific vote: 39,699 (1 percent)
2008: 36,382 ( .9 percent)
Total 2012 Hispanic-Latino vote: 51,829 (1.3 percent)
2008: 43,717 (1.1 percent)
Total 2012 Native American vote: 1,029 (.03 percent)
2008: Not available.
Total 2012 “Other” vote: 34,412 (.9 percent)
2008: 36,272 (.9 percent)
Total 2012 “Unknown” vote: 213,899 (5 percent)
2008: 113,214 (2.8 percent)
Total 2012 turnout: 3,908,500 (73 percent of those registered)
2008: 3,934,388 (76 percent of those registered)
On the 2016 front, over at Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Emory University professor Alan Abramowitz has an analysis of a GOP plan to distribute electoral votes by congressional districts:
In the aftermath of the GOP’s 2012 defeat, this plan appears to be gaining momentum and was recently endorsed by the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus. On Wednesday, a bill to apportion electors by congressional district advanced through a subcommittee in the Virginia Senate.
The congressional district plan appears reasonable at first glance…. But there is a serious problem with this approach. Despite a superficial appearance of fairness, the congressional district plan would be profoundly undemocratic — skewing the results in favor of the party drawing the congressional district lines in a state and greatly increasing the chances of an Electoral College misfire (a victory by the candidate losing the national popular vote).
Also looking to 2016, Democrats have hatched a plan to turn Texas blue. From Politico.com:
The organization, dubbed “Battleground Texas,” plans to engage the state’s rapidly growing Latino population, as well as African-American voters and other Democratic-leaning constituencies that have been underrepresented at the ballot box in recent cycles. Two sources said the contemplated budget would run into the tens of millions of dollars over several years – a project Democrats hope has enough heft to help turn what has long been an electoral pipe dream into reality.
In an interview with NewsMax, GOP strategist Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, has denounced the Pentagon’s decision to permit women to serve in comment as a sign that “liberal social policy has trumped sound military practice.”
After you empty prisons, you’ve got a serious brick-and-mortar problem. From the Macon Telegraph:
Vacant Middle Georgia prisons must seek new missions or face dereliction, as the state moves to limit prison population growth.
The Georgia Department of Corrections has returned some $6 million to the state because a plan fell through to renovate the old Bostick State Prison on the Central State Hospital campus in Milledgeville and convert it into an inmate nursing home.
It was supposed to be a facility for inmates at the end of their lives or who have severe Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, Corrections Department Commissioner Brian Owens said during state budget hearings Wednesday. But there was not a large enough patient population, it turns out.
Clearly a new marketing strategy is required. I’m thinking upscale housing for those who want to survive the next zombie apocalypse.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider