How Georgia Turned Blue

Historic Surges in Turnout Among Voters of Color and Young Voters Deliver the Peach State for Biden

As the hand recount in Georgia continues, and it appears almost certain that Joe Biden’s lead of close to 14,000 votes will hold up, we turn our focus to gaining a better understanding of how the state flipped blue for the first time in almost 3 decades. We now have the complete, individual level history of who cast a ballot in this election, so we are able to assess how the composition of the electorate likely played a role.

The Most Diverse Electorate in Georgia’s History

Thanks to a combination of high electoral intensity and significant expansion of voting access, turnout surged largely across the board in Georgia, though not by equal measures. The biggest surges in turnout came from voters of color, and younger voters.

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Two of the fastest growing groups in Georgia also saw the biggest increase in votes cast, relative to 2016. AAPI total turnout increased by 91%, while Latino turnout grew by 72%. Turnout among Black voters increased by 20%, while white turnout saw the slowest growth, at 16%.

In terms of electorate shares, white voters saw their share of total ballots cast decline for the third consecutive general election, down from 65.6% in 2016 to 63.1% this year. This was due to larger surges from all voters of color, especially Latino and Asian American voters, who both saw large share increases. African-American voters saw their vote share stay relatively stable, compared to 2016, with a vote share drop of just .08%.

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The Youth Vote Surge

Young voters had their part in flipping Georgia. Voters under the age of 30 in Georgia saw a massive increase in turnout, relative to the last presidential election, growing from 14.4% of ballots cast to 16.2%. The only other group experiencing a share increase, relative to 2016, were seniors, who saw a 1.4% share growth. The biggest drops in electorate share came from President Trump’s strongest group, middle-aged voters, who saw a 1.7% drop among voters age 40–49 and a 1.4% drop among those age 50 to 64.

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We will be expanding on this analysis in coming days, as we look at geographic patterns and various other subgroups. It is clear, however, that Democrats were able to assemble a diverse coalition of voters of color and younger voters through massive mobilization efforts, coupled with a swing among white, college educated voters primarily in the suburbs, to deliver a win for the Biden-Harris ticket.

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