For those expecting Romney to win huge in Georgia, as would match historic elections, think again: Your vote counts more than you think.
I am also guilty of having the misconception that republicans win by a landslide in GA. I was even planning to vote Independent as a protest vote, since I'm against the two-party system. However, since Georgia is more of a swing state that leans to the red, I may find myself tactically voting against the guy from the main two parties I dislike the most (since tactical voting is what a two-party system requires in close elections). However, even though Georgia is close, don't expect Georgia to become a battleground with frequent candidate visits any time soon: I don't see any major trend going on, just a blip.
It's hard to think of Georgia as anything close to a swing state. In 2008, McCain won by over 5% which is definately a comfortable win. In 2000, Bush won handily by about 12%. However, in 2004, Bush won by only 3%. In 1996, Clinton only lost by 2%. Let's ignore Carter, which is homegrown and probably a statistical blip. So it's clear that if you tip the balances a little further, then we may see Georgia oscillate between red and blue, making this a very interesting state for elections and guaranteeing plenty of visits by the candidates with our 16 electoral votes.
For this current election, Obama is only down by 3%, "leaning Romney", which makes it one of the most purple of all the republican states (http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/2012/romney-vs-obama-electoral-map and http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2012-georgia-president-romney-vs-obama?gem).
Obama is actually a weaker candidate this year than he was in '08 since he's played some of his cards which in many cases scare away moderate conservatives and even some independents this election who may have voted for him in '08. So what's strange is that he's only down by 3% in the polls. If the elections were held today, that would be a strange result, right? What's even stranger is that the counties which are typically republican (suburban and rural counties) are growing faster percentage-wise than the more urban areas that typically vote democratic and grow slower than the less-populated suburban areas.
(Compare http://www.usdemography.com/States/Pages/GApage.html with http://www.uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?f=0&fips=13&year=2008).
So does that mean that the people coming in are more democratic-leaning or that the state is changing towards being more democratic? Doubtful. With the exception of Obama, Clinton and Carter, the democrats are doing successively worse in Georgia on average. For every one left-leaning person moving into Atlanta or Dekalb county, there are multiple right-leaning people moving into the suburbs. Furthermore, the democrats get hammered in congressional races which more accurately represents voters' views on a granular level than a choice between two presidential candidates that involves so many variables.
It seems more likely to me that there are some things going on that just make Obama an interesting candidate for Georgia and a blip - like Clinton and Carter but for different reasons - versus there being a trend towards the blue. Bush in his second term was highly onpopular, even amongst Republicans who may have previously voted for him which means Obama and Kerry got boosted by some temporary anti-republican sentiment and truly did worse on an even playing field. Therefore, exceptions aside, I believe the general trend will be more or less staying a highly volatile state that just can't quite cross the centerline to become a swing state and probably won't for decades. However, I'm always open to surprises, and more visits by candidates would always be fun.
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