Our county-by-county benchmarks will enable you interpret Georgia’s outcomes because the vote is available in


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These benchmarks can assist you determine which of Georgia’s 159 counties—most of that are very small—are those you have to watch. We’ve included solely people who accounted for two% or extra of the statewide vote in November—9 in whole. Their share of the vote might be discovered within the first column, after the listing of county names.

Simply to the appropriate, you’ll see what numbers Ossoff and Warnock have to hit in every of those counties to notch the narrowest of wins, assuming that every county’s vote share stays steady (an enormous “if”—extra on that in a bit). These targets are based mostly on Biden’s November efficiency, which is listed within the subsequent column.

As you may see, the Senate targets are virtually similar to Biden’s numbers, since he after all simply received precisely the kind of squeaker that these benchmarks are designed round. The one adjustment we’ve made is on account of the actual fact there are solely two candidates in every Senate runoff. (Libertarian presidential candidate Jo Jorgenson’s 1.2% in November allowed Biden to win with a 49.5% plurality, one thing that isn’t doable in a two-person race, so we’ve nudged the Democrats’ benchmarks only a tick greater throughout the board.)

Usually we compile these benchmarks based mostly on current presidential outcomes, however as a result of it is a runoff, we even have one other election we are able to mannequin off of: the primary spherical of the Ossoff-Perdue race. (We did the same thing for Louisiana’s gubernatorial runoff in 2019.) We’ve chosen that matchup just because it intently resembles the 2 runoffs, with the one distinction being the presence of Libertarian Shane Hazel, whose 2.3% share pressured a second spherical. The particular election, in the meantime, concerned a whopping 20 candidates in November, which creates the opportunity of quirkier information, even if you happen to consolidate the vote by social gathering.

However why supply a second mannequin in any respect? Even when the toplines look related, each race has its distinctive traits: Completely different candidates would possibly enchantment roughly to completely different coalitions of voters, or might need completely different pockets of regional power inside a state, so it’s good to experiment when doable with a wide range of views. Finally, the variations don’t look dramatic, as you may see by evaluating the fourth column of numbers with the second. That’s not stunning, since Biden and Ossoff largely drew from the identical swimming pools of voters of their two races and there simply wasn’t a lot ticket-splitting.

There have been sufficient crossover votes, nevertheless, such that Ossoff underperformed Biden by round 1.5 factors; Perdue ran forward of Ossoff by a 49.7-48.Zero margin, which contrasts with Biden’s 49.5-49.Three win. This small underperformance was largely uniform throughout the complete number of counties. Where it was most notable, although, was within the state’s most prosperous suburban counties, like Cobb and Forsyth to the north of Atlanta.

Whereas many explanations are doable, these traditionally pink areas could also be house to disproportionate numbers of never-Trump Republicans who might have been the most probably to vote for Biden as a rebuke to Donald Trump whereas additionally casting ballots for the much less clearly objectionable Perdue. Curiously, an analogous dropoff additionally passed off in Fulton County, the place many of the Black-majority metropolis of Atlanta is discovered. Nonetheless, Fulton additionally has a few of the state’s wealthiest suburbs at its northern finish, so the identical sample might apply there as properly.

One path ahead for Ossoff and Warnock, subsequently, entails doing a bit higher with these ostensible ticket-splitters, and hoping that a few of them is perhaps much less enthused a couple of Republican Senate majority than they have been in November. However there are different routes as properly. They will, after all, add extra Democratic voters who didn’t present up in November. It is perhaps laborious to imagine that’s doable, given how excessive turnout was in November, however information point out that “tens of thousands” of Democrats have accomplished simply that.

Alternately, they will win by subtraction, if there’s a dropoff of Republican voters postpone by Trump’s assaults on Georgia’s elections, or just if there are extra irregular voters on the GOP aspect who received’t end up with out Trump on the poll than there are on the Democratic aspect who will skip voting with out Biden on the prime of the ticket.

These benchmarks usually immediate an excellent query: “Wait, does these items really work?” Nicely, right here’s an excellent alternative to look again at our pre-November benchmarks for Georgia (which have been based mostly on the 2016 presidential race) and see how they panned out. A fast look reveals that sure, they do! Living proof: We projected that Biden would wish to win Fulton County 73-26 to be able to barely win Georgia. Biden, it turned out, received Fulton County 73-26 en path to barely successful Georgia.

Probably the most attention-grabbing variance between these earlier projections and the precise outcomes comes, once more, within the state’s most prosperous counties (like Cobb, which is now mild blue after many years as a Republican stronghold, and Forsyth, which, whereas nonetheless darkish pink, is a a lot much less radioactive shade). Biden significantly over-performed his benchmarks in these counties, in addition to in Gwinnett—one other suburban county that’s extra numerous and never fairly as prosperous as Cobb and Forsyth, however has quickly shed its Republican leanings within the Trump period.


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That results in the cheap query of why, since he crushed his benchmarks within the suburbs, Biden didn’t win statewide by extra. That query factors to 1 downside of limiting this desk to solely the state’s largest counties, which we do to keep away from info overload. Nonetheless, Trump significantly overperformed his 2016 numbers—not solely in vote share however particularly in turnout—in lots of the state’s exurban and rural counties, which individually are small however taken collectively add as much as an enormous portion of the state.

And that leads us to the opposite potential pitfall of those benchmarks: A candidate can fall in need of their targets when it comes to vote share however however win if turnout surges in the appropriate locations. That’s precisely what happened in Kentucky’s 2019 race for governor, when Democrat Andy Beshear ran behind our benchmarks in key city strongholds however concurrently noticed these counties make up a a far larger than anticipated proportion of the general statewide vote.

One thing like that’s in all probability much less prone to occur Tuesday, however the chance continues to be price making an allowance for as you observe the returns. A very powerful factor to recollect is that outcomes received’t are available uniformly. As we noticed in November, Georgia’s large cities have been the final to complete reporting their votes, and we’re virtually sure to see that once more. The sooner-tallied votes are, subsequently, as soon as once more prone to favor Republicans, and we might properly not know the ultimate final result for a number of days.

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