TargetSmart Analysis Shows a Younger and More Diverse Georgia Electorate

It’s been nearly a month since a historic blue wave swept across the country, a midterm election that saw Democrats pick up at least 40 seats in the House plus 7 governor’s seats, in addition to hundreds of state legislative seats nationwide. Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia, fell just short, but a new analysis of TargetSmart data shows that Abrams was able to change the electorate and illuminate a potential path to victory in future elections.

We knew the youth vote was surging in Georgia from the early vote, but with the full individual vote history in now (keep in mind, we know who voted, we don’t know how each individual voted), our analysis finds that voters under the age of 40 massively increased their vote share relative to 2014, with voters under 30 almost doubling their vote share. Voters 40 and over accounted for less of the total vote share relative to 2014, with the biggest drop coming for voters between the ages of 50 and 64.

Share of ballots cast by age

Our analysis also finds that African-American, Asian, and Hispanic voters increased their vote share relative to 2014, while the vote share of white voters fell. Black voters accounted for 30.5 percent of the ballots cast in the Georgia general election this year — higher than even the 28.6 percent share in the 2016 presidential election. Hispanic and Asian voters doubled their vote shares relative to 2014, with Asian voters accounting for an even higher vote share than 2016.

Share of ballots cast by race/ethnicity

Unsurprisingly in an election year driven by young people, people of color, and women, our analysis finds that women increased their vote share relative to 2014, while men’s vote share decreased.

Share of ballots cast by gender

Finally, 537,163 people who didn’t vote in the 2016 presidential election voted in Georgia this year. 38 percent of those new voters were black, 52.71 percent were women, and more than half — 54.3 percent — were under the age of 30. Why was the Georgia governor’s race so close, in a state that is traditionally Republican-leaning? Largely because young people and people of color surged in turnout more than all other groups (with a candidate at the top of the ticket who was worth voting for).

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