Bergad, Laird W. 2018. Race and a Southern Governorship. Can Stacy Abrams Make History in Georgia? An Examination of Georgia Voter Registration Lists, Voting Participation Rates, Race, and Age.
NEW YORK, October 04, 2018—The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS) of The Graduate Center of The City University of New York has released a report on the feasibility of Stacy Abrams winning the Georgia gubernatorial election in November. Abrams is an African American woman running for office in a former slave state, and the report shows that if the Democratic constituencies register to vote before the October 9 deadline, Abrams has a realistic chance of winning.
Abrams recognizes that in Georgia the politics of race will be front and center in this election and that it will be nearly impossible for her to attract the votes of older, rural, predominantly white Georgians who voted heavily for the current president of the United States in 2016, 75% of them according to exit polls. However, the Georgia electorate is changing rapidly and current voter registration data indicate that 54% of all registered voters in the state are white, 30% African Americans, and the remainder are mixed race, Latinos and Asians. These latter groups are the core Democratic constituency; they supported Clinton in 2016 and it is likely that they will strongly support Abrams in November. The other Democratic constituency is comprised of young people, between the ages of 18 and 29, of all races, who heavily voted for the democratic candidate in 2016.
The major challenge that Abrams faces in this election is ensuring that the demographic groups most likely to support her turn out to vote on Election Day. This is no small task because African Americans, Latinos, Asians and young people have the lowest voter registration and voting rates in the state. Older white voters have very high registration and voting rates.
If the Abrams campaign and the Georgia Democratic Party can increase registration rates among their constituents in the state before the October 9 registration deadline, only a week away, she has a chance of winning. There are enough progressive whites in the state, 25% of whom voted Democratic in 2016, so a coalition of voters may come together to make history in Georgia. But this can only happen if they go to the polls in greater numbers than they did in November 2016.
Read the full report here.