With three days of voting behind us so far in early voting and absentee ballots flooding in, Republicans have some encouraging news.
First, though they lag behind Democrats in early voting, the lag is not as dramatic as it was in the general election. In fact, if the GOP pacing holds up combined with their typical turnout in runoff elections, they should be able to offset the Democrats and win.
Second, voters who did not vote in the general election are showing up. So far, about 20,000 or so new voters who were not in the general are coming. They appear mostly in the northern suburbs of Atlanta in Republican territory. While Democrats are making some claims that these are their voters, it really does not appear to be that way. These are voters in Republican areas that did not like Trump, but otherwise like Republicans. My suspicion is these are Republican voters who didn’t want to go vote for Trump, but will vote for divided government.
Third, Warnock’s negatives have skyrocketed. No one really took him on in the general election because Collins and Loeffler had to attack each other to get the chance to go after Warnock. While the media has mocked Loeffler for always calling Warnock “Radical Raphael Warnock,” her attacks are working. Georgia has 159 counties and the sheriffs from 98 of those counties, including some major metro Atlanta counties, have come out swinging for Perdue and Loeffler against Warnock and Ossoff. People in Georgia listen to their sheriffs.
Fourth, Ossoff continues to underperform with black voters. A lot of people think voters will show up and just vote straight D or straight R, but black voters south of Atlanta refused to vote for Ossoff, just as white voters in North Atlanta refused. Ossoff trailed Biden by about 100,000 votes and there are no signs those voters have warmed to him. Ossoff only plays well in metro Atlanta, but not well enough in the parts of the northern Atlanta suburbs that will decide the race.
Fifth, Republican voters who think the presidential race was stolen are now showing up en masse. The President and Vice President have urged them to make one last stand and they appear to be ignoring the fringe voices in favor of the President. Ads are running targeting Republicans with the President telling them to go save his agenda by blocking Biden. Mail pieces are showing up with a smiling Mike Pence urging absentee ballots. It appears to be working.
Sixth, the GOP has a better and longer-term ground game. Much of the Democrat enthusiasm is coming from out of state. All over Georgia, people are getting postcards with postage stamps from California, Illinois, New York, Maine, and elsewhere urging voters to help the Democrats. Meanwhile, young Republicans in UGA gear are actually knocking on doors and interacting with voters face to face or leaving door hangers and postcards from Georgia for Georgians. It is a pretty striking contrast.
Seventh, Joe Biden made the fatal mistake of nationalizing the race in Atlanta. At his rally, Biden told Georgia Democrats he needed them to take the Senate for his agenda. Republicans have already turned this around and are targeting Republicans with Biden’s own words. It is firing up the GOP base. Biden should not have tried to nationalize the race.
Right now, it appears if the election were held today, the Democrats would win because of their early vote. But the GOP has gotten it closer than they did in the general and will surge into election day. Because the GOP is keeping early voting close, they’ll most likely cross the finish line on January 5th ahead of the Democrats. Republicans are internalizing the old saying, “If it ain’t close, they can’t cheat,” and they are beginning to show up in large numbers.