Opinion Columns & Blogs

Will Georgia go blue in November?

Eventually, yes, Georgia will turn back into a Democratic state. Politics is cyclical. It is bound to happen. The real question is whether it will happen this year. More and more polling in Georgia shows distinctly that Hillary Clinton is ahead of Donald Trump in Georgia.

The first few polls showed a close race, but Trump was ahead. As his campaign has imploded, his polling has declined. Nationally, to be sure, Trump is losing and losing as badly as many of us have predicted since at least February. Trump has the narrowest path to 270 electoral college votes of any major party candidate in decades. Increasingly, it is looking like a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton.

But what of Georgia? I really do not think Georgia Republicans have to worry about losing the state to Hillary Clinton this year. Yes, Georgia will eventually shift back to the Democrats, but not this year.

I would point out that in 2010, 2012 and 2014, August polling in Georgia has always favored the Democrats. Part of me believes it is pollster hype. They need the polls to be close and magically the polls are close. But we should also not discount polling demographics in Georgia given how consistent August polls are.

Most likely, having talked to a number of political strategists and pollsters vastly more familiar with this common trend in Georgia than I am, Republicans are gone right now. Demographically, Republican voters tend to have more children and more school-aged children and can afford to go on a late summer vacation. Many parents pack up the family and head out of town just as the August polling season starts.

When they return, they have to get their kids ready for school. They do not have time to answer the phone and deal with a pollster. So pollsters go find other Republicans who will answer the phone. Single Republicans and metro-Atlanta empty-nester Republicans tend to be more moderate, thus skewing the polling.

All of these data points have to be considered. I still think a lot of the pollsters who poll Georgia are not very good. I still think a good bit of it is a need for hype. But I cannot dispute that demographics also play a role. August is a terrible time to poll Republicans in Georgia.

Here is my overarching caveat, however. Two good national polls now show that at least 51 percent of voting Americans say they will refuse to vote for Donald Trump. As his campaign continues to deteriorate while Republicans wait for a pivot that will never come, we may see big shifts. Already it appears Hillary Clinton will win North Carolina. The concerns the GOP has in Arizona are legitimate. There is a very, very real risk of losing Arizona to the Democrats, which is virtually unheard of.

As the situation worsens nationally, Georgia will not escape the fallout. In 2006, as the Democratic wave swept over the nation, Georgia escaped it. But there is a difference between state races and the presidency. Hillary Clinton has 91 percent support from Democrats, but Donald Trump only has 73 percent of Republican support. Georgia polling reflects this divide.

Worse for the GOP, if Trump got 100 percent support from Republicans, he would still lose. His popularity among independent voters hovers around the popularity of running through a meat grinder and contracting syphilis. Women really dislike the GOP nominee and among black voters, Trump gets only 1 percent. Perhaps then, in four years, the GOP will nominate someone other than a Clinton donor.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.

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