Early Numbers Shows Black Turnout Surging In Georgia Runoff

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Black voters comprise a larger share of the early vote in totals from the ongoing Senate runoff election in Georgia than their shares in early voting totals from years past.

Per data from the political analytics firm TargetSmart, Black voters were at 34.5 percent of Georgia’s early vote as of late Sunday. The closest figure from a recent past year of early voting was in 2021, when Black voters at this same pre-election point reached 31.7 percent of the early vote in the runoff that originally sent Raphael Warnock to the Senate. Warnock, the Democratic incumbent, is running for another term against Trump-backed Republican Herschel Walker, who has consistently drawn criticism for his lengthy record of deception including about his educational, business, and personal backgrounds. He has even tried to characterize himself as having worked as a police officer or at least broadly in law enforcement, despite no apparent record of a serious position. In both exit polling and pre-election surveys, Black voters have consistently expressed extremely high levels of support for Warnock, well into the 90s.

In a CNN poll released ahead of the runoff, a full 96 percent of Black respondents shared support for Warnock. In that same survey, Warnock was four percentage points ahead of Walker among overall likely voters. He earned more votes than Walker in the first round, but the race has moved to a runoff because neither cracked 50 percent as legally required. Now, it’s just the Democrat and Republican appearing on the ballot, meaning mathematically someone has to hit the needed level of support. Early voting in the runoff has hit single-day records for turnout, but the overall total of ballots cast is lower because the early voting period has been shorter.

With Election Day on Tuesday, the opportunity to vote early and in-person has already ended. TargetSmart also estimated that Democrats were at 52 percent of the early vote as of early Monday, which was higher than their share right before the election in several of the most recently held elections in the state. On other specific demographic markers, women were also outnumbering men in the early vote in Georgia for the runoff, and Democrats sometimes see higher levels of support among women. In Georgia for the runoff, available estimates put Democrats about 23 percent ahead among women voting early — and Republicans slightly ahead among men who’ve done so. There is still the opportunity, of course, for voting on Election Day, and with voting on Election Day itself continuing to build significant sway in key parts of the Republican base there’s a complicating factor — although that still leaves Democrats with the votes already cast by their supporters and Republicans just crossing their fingers. It’s somewhat of a built-in lead.