For the past two years, political eyes have been returning to Georgia.
And for the second time in two years, voters in this important state will choose their senator in a runoff election, which this time will determine whether Democrats extend their 50-50 majority.
Data shows that voters are not tired of their social work.
By Tuesday’s Senate race between Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker, nearly 1.5 million Georgians had voted in just one week. Black voters have made up nearly a third of primary voters so far, while more than a quarter of voters so far are under 50.
Nearly 300,000 Georgians voted early this week – setting a record for the highest single-day voter turnout in the state’s history. Early voting for the second round ended on Friday.
Georgians had just five legal days to vote earlier this year, compared to three weeks during the last and general elections last month. All but 22 states chose not to allow early voting last Saturday and Sunday.
Overall, 2022 voter turnout was up slightly from the 2018 median but down 21% from the 2020 general election.
Although the median voter is generally older and whiter, data from the Georgia secretary of state’s office shows that in 2022, the median voter in Georgia was older and whiter than it has been in the past four elections, including the 2018 median. Those voters tend to lean Republican. The fact that Warnock not only forced the ouster but narrowly led Walker in the primary vote last month shows he had the support of independent voters and some Republicans, political scientists told CNN.
“The most important thing for Warnock was that according to the polls, he won the independent vote,” said Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta. “And that was enough to pull him over.” Finally, I think they need to. ”
CNN exit polls in Georgia in the November election show that the share of independent voters decreased by 4 percent compared to 2020. However, independent voters were 24% of the electorate, which Warnock won by 11 points, according to CNN exit polls.
A slightly larger share of White voters and smaller shares of Black, Asian and Latino voters cast ballots in 2022 compared to Georgia’s three previous midterm elections and polls. Black voter turnout was the lowest in Georgia elections since mid-2018.
A 2021 CNN poll showed that Warnock won 93% of black voters in the last Georgia election, a 6-point improvement from the November 2020 general election.
The share of black voters in the Georgia electorate increased in the 2021 election when Warnock faced Sen. Kelly Loeffler as she did not receive a majority vote in the 2020 general election. Black voters made up 28% of Georgia’s electorate in the election, slightly higher than their share in the 2020 general election. Black voter turnout was highest when Stacey Abrams, a Democrat, ran for the first time Gov. Brian Kemp, Republican, for governor in 2018.
Voters in mid-2022 were also older. Georgians over 50 represented 59% of the electorate this year, a new high since 2018. The share of voters under 30, meanwhile, decreased to 11%, its lowest position since 2018.
The exit polls show that Warnock managed this year to extend his campaign in the 2021 election with very young and urban voters. He won 68% of the 18-24 vote in the 2021 runoff – a 16-point improvement over Democrats in the 2020 general election. He also won the support of 67% of urban voters in the 2021 runoff, 4 points more than the Democrats’ share in 2020. Warnock won 69% of 18-24 year olds made up 68% of urban voters in last month’s general election.
Last month’s election was unusual in that more than 17,000 Georgians skipped the Senate race at the top of the ballot but instead voted for governor.
“We don’t know for sure, but it’s possible that those voters are probably Republican,” said Amy Steigerwalt, a political science professor at Georgia State University.
There were also Kemp voters this year who crossed the aisle to vote for Warnock and then voted for the rest of the Republican ticket, Steigerwalt said. Kemp received 2.1 million votes, nearly 200,000 more than Walker.
The big question in this race is how Walker fares when he’s running alone and without the Republicans’ chance of regaining control of the Senate, Abramowitz told CNN.