All eyes are on Georgia as the January 5th Senate runoff that will decide which party controls the U.S. Senate rapidly approaches. Democrats are hanging their hopes on securing both seats in the runoff – and a majority in the upper chamber – but both Democrat candidates secured less votes than their Republican opponents in the November 2020 election.
One race has GOP Senator David Perdue defending his seat against challenger Jon Ossoff. Perdue won slightly more votes statewide than President Trump, with 49.7%, compared to Trump’s 49.3%. Ossoff earned 47.9%, prompting the runoff. The special election to fill Senator Johnny Isakson’s seat pits GOP Senator Kelly Loeffler against Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock. Loeffler split her share of the vote with fellow GOP candidate Doug Collins, and the two of them won a combined 45% of the vote to Warnock’s 32.9%.
Market Research Foundation analyzed CNN Exit Polls from the November 3rd election to determine where each candidate did best, and identify segments that may be receptive to turning out in the special election.
Perdue overwhelmingly won the northern regions of the state with 70% of the vote, and earned winning majorities in both central and south Georgia. Ossoff cleaned house in the Atlanta Metro area with 79% of the vote, and earned half the vote in the Atlanta suburbs.
Age-wise, Perdue won a majority of voters forty-five and older, while Ossoff won a majority of those under forty-five. Notably, Perdue performed substantially better against Ossoff with Georgia’s youngest voters – age eighteen to twenty-four – than he did with all other age groups under forty. Perdue won 47% of eighteen to twenty-four-year-olds, 37% of twenty-five to twenty-nine-year-olds, and 42% of thirty to thirty-nine-year-olds. Young voters who may not have turned out in the November 3rd election represent an opportunity for the GOP.
This penchant for very young voters to break for a Republican candidate at substantially higher margins than those slightly older is something Market Research Foundation noted in the 2018 midterms in several states, including Georgia. Voters under twenty-six comprise Generation Z, a distinct age cohort that often votes differently than Millennials. In the 2018 midterms, Democrats had significant difficulty securing very young voters in the Georgia Governor race when compared to voters just a few years older. Republican Brian Kemp secured a victory over Democrat Stacey Abrams, with the help of 40% of Georgia’s eighteen to twenty-four-year-olds. This was the largest share of voters to break for the Republican within any age group under 40.
Perdue won a majority of White voters with 69% of the vote, but he underperformed compared to his 2014 senate bid, when he won 74% of white voters. This year, Perdue won 71% of white men, and 67% of white women. Perdue also won a significant share of Black men, earning 17% of their vote, and he earned 8% of the Black female vote. Perdue performed better with Latinos than President Trump, winning 43% of the vote to Trump’s 37%. Among Latino men, Perdue won 45% of the vote, and among Latino women, he won 42%.
Perdue won majorities of voters without a college degree, and voters with some college or an Associate’s degree, while Ossoff won majorities of those with a four year or advanced degree. Perdue won 62% of no-college voters, 51% of some college voters, and 52% of voters with an Associate’s Degree.
Economically optimistic voters who felt their financial situation was better compared to four years ago preferred Perdue over Ossoff 77% to 20%, while those who thought their financial situation was worse preferred Ossoff over Perdue 81% to 16%. It is worth noting the overwhelming majority of Georgia voters were economically optimistic, believing their financial situation is better now than it was four years ago. Voters who felt their financial situation improved represented 44% of the vote, compared to those who felt their financial situation diminished (16%) and those who felt their financial situation stayed the same (38%). In addition, 52% of Georgia voters believe the national economy is good or great, compared to 46% who believe the economy is not so good or poor.
Perdue performed significantly better with fathers than non-fathers, earning 59% of the vote for men with children versus 50% of the vote for men with no children. He performed slightly better with mothers than non-mothers, earning 52% of the vote for women with children and 51% of the vote for women without children. Perdue also performed better against Ossoff with veterans, higher income households, and rural and suburban voters.
Like Perdue, Loeffler performed better iLoefflern the north and central and southern regions of the state, while Warnock cleaned up in the Atlanta metro area and Atlanta suburbs. In Northern Georgia, Loeffler won 38% of the vote to Warnock’s 20% – again, both candidates split their party’s votes with another candidate. Warnock walked away with 64% of the vote in the Atlanta metro area, and 39% od the vote in the Atlanta suburbs.
Warnock performed well among younger voters compared to Republican Loeffler, but a significant share of under thirties broke for the other Democrat on the ballot, Matt Lieberman. Fifteen percent of eighteen to twenty-nine-year-olds favored Lieberman over frontrunner Warnock, compared to 11% of thirty to forty-four-year-olds, 8% of forty-five to sixty-four-year-olds, and 4% of over 65-year-olds. Without Lieberman as an option, it is possible a portion of this segment will sit out the special election.
Loeffler, like Perdue, won a larger share of Georgia’s youngest voters compared to those slightly older. Loeffler earned 25% of eighteen to twenty-four-year-olds, and 18% of twenty-five to twenty-nine-year-olds. However, among voters under forty, Loeffler performed best with those thirty to thirty-nine, winning 30% of the vote. She also won 32% of 40 to 64-year-olds and 30% of those 65 and over.
In her race, Loeffler won the larger share of support from white voters (42%), compared to the other Republican on the ballot, Congressman Doug Collins. Loeffler won 42% of white men and 41% of women, while 30% of white men and 26% of white women broke for Collins. Loeffler, unlike Perdue, did not do nearly as well with Black men, earning just 7% of their vote, while 9% of Black men preferred Collins instead. Just 5% of Black women supported Loeffler, and 4% supported Collins. Twenty-seven percent of Latino men and 16% of Latino women supported Loeffler.