This Is Not A Battleground, But…

For the first time in a presidential election year, Georgia is allowing early voting–and it’s a smash hit. According to the local fish-wrapper, two-hour lines have been the norm in metro Atlanta since early voting began on Monday. Two observations:

1. There isn’t a competitive race in Georgia this year above the state legislature level. George W. Bush and Johnny Isacson (U.S. Senate) are both lead-pipe cinches to win the state, and by considerable double-digit margins.

2. Regardless of observation #1, state officials are expecting a turnout well in excess of the previous record (72%) for this election.

Michael Barone or Larry Sabato could tell us for sure, but I think I’m safe in assuming that nobody alive has ever seen turnout like this for an American election. I think I’m also safe in assuming that nobody alive knows how to poll or predict the outcome of that kind of election.

If Georgia polls over 75-80%, with both national races clearly in the bag, what will the lines be like in Ohio or Florida, or other places where the outcome is seriously in doubt?

It’s gonna be an interesting six days–and maybe six weeks.

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24 Responses to “This Is Not A Battleground, But…”

  1. MattJ Says:

    I early-voted in downtown Atlanta (Fulton Co) on Monday afternoon. My wait was approximately 30 minutes, despite the fact that voting early is a more complicated process than voting on election day. (You have to fill out a form explaining why you need to vote early)

    I asked about the crowds and the poll worker said it had been worse in the morning because the Secretary of State and the Mayor had been there, along with the press.

  2. The Parson Says:

    I really think higher turnout favors Bush, even if only slightly. For one thing, he’s doing better among women and blacks this year than in 2000, and the higher the turnout, the more those differences are exaggerated.

  3. Kai Jones Says:

    What about Oregon’s model? I received my ballot in the mail on October 16; I filled it out and mailed it back on October 19.

  4. Crank Says:

    High turnout in Georgia, of all places, tends to undercut the idea that it’s Kerry’s supporters who are fired up. Remember, you have a lot of people out there who support the war and have had to keep silent as the media has poured hot boiling scorn on the war effort for the past couple of years.

    I predict that the loser of this election will get substantially more votes than any prior presidential candidate in history.

  5. jay Says:

    Crank is onto something key here, and this is why my gut tells me the president will win a blow out although the polls indicate a neck and neck race.

    I haven’t read the story yet, but Fox reported that USA Today has been doing exit polling of early voters, and Bush is leading 51-47. If this is true, Cheney’s 52-47 prediction apparently wasn’t pre-election spinning. Another sign that the Kerry campaign’s game face may be coming off is the rash of Democratic lawsuits in Florida in the last 48 hours. Again, this appears to be based on bad internals there for Kerry.

  6. Drew Says:

    I’m glad to see hgh turnout. I think it bodes well for the president, especially in states that he appears to have “locled up.” If nothing else, I want to see him capture, not just the election, but the symbolic “mandate” that no election-winner since his father in 1988, has recieved.

  7. gb_in_ga Says:

    I went to the South Cobb Government center (one of 5 early voting locations in Cobb County, Ga. — Atlanta suburban) yesterday afternoon — the wait was estimated at 2 1/2 to 3 hours, and since I was there with my wife who is ill right now, we opted to leave rather than wait in line that long — doctor’s orders, she is supposed to be resting.

  8. Sandy P Says:

    Good, Drudge had a headline a snowstorm was due over the Bible Belt on election day.

  9. Baseball Crank Says:

    POLITICS: Daily Must-Reads for 10/27/04

    *Lileks on Andrew Sullivan’s Kerry endorsement. The closing line, which Lileks has delivered by Tony Blair, is deadly. *The Sultan of Snark on Ron Suskind: “If Suskind misreads his own facts wrong in order to (willfully? subconsciously?) pander to New…

  10. jay Says:

    ABC also just reported that among those who have voted early or absentee, estimated to be 10 percent of those who will (how they know how many will, not a clue), Bush has beaten Kerry 51-47. This isn’t junk sampling, but exit polls of actual people who have actually voted. It also corresponds with what USA Today found in its early voting exit polls, a 51-47 Bush lead.

    Given that Kerry has hauled “its” people to the polls in droves, this seems to support the gut feeling Bush will blow him away.

    Of interest was the relative panic in the ABC report’s tone. The story reported the above but then went on to claim the election is tied among the entire electorate. Hmmm.

  11. newton Says:

    I am convinced that people will vote this time, come hell or high water.

    Last Saturday my sig.other and I voted early. The line at the County Annex lasted 2 hours at one point in the day. Fortunately, we arrived when the line was only 45 minutes long. We were all enthusiastic, and many of us carried conversations. But the most important moment before we reached the voting rooms was when we passed by a wall display of states license plates. The one license plate at the top had the NY skyline with the Twin Towers. The caption – “Remembering the Fallen on September 11, 2001.”

    Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the elephant in the living room. The sig.other and I voted for Bush. At home, I made myself a promise – that I will never vote Democrat in my life.

  12. Mikey Says:

    It’s gonna be an exhausting four years, either which way.

    Body politic, get ready for a beatin’.

  13. Greg D Says:

    This is great news, IMHO.

    The more real voters who vote, the more fake votes the vote fraud people have to create in order to steal the election. Which is to say, the more likely it is that the end results will be honest.

    As for how the early voting is going:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/print?id=199229

    That’s the news from the ABC / WaPo daily tracking poll. In their Sat – Mon polling, 9% of “likely voters” had already voted, and gone 51 – 47 for Bush. It will be interesting to see how that number changes this week.

  14. Will Franklin Says:

    In Houston, Texas, on Saturday, I waited 75 minutes (yes, 1 hour and 15 minutes) to vote early at the same voting booth George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush voted at last week.

    However, the neighborhood is pretty split because of a large gay population, a significant number of minorities, and quite a few elitist-liberal types (hipsters, lawyers, so forth), and I saw people in line I know to be liberal activists in the area.

    However, there were also a lot of parents with kids and other “Republican-looking” people (it is still Texas, afterall).

    It was amazing. I had never seen such lines. I have driven by several times, and the lines just have not really let up this whole week.

    This, to me, is just enthusiasm, not any kind of profound GOTV efforts. In closer states, I can’t imagine how it’ll be. Wild times, wild times. I am hoping to see some myths shattered next week.

    1. Do undecided voters break for the challenger?
    2. Does high turnout favor Democrats?

    And so on.

  15. SaveFarris Says:

    A possible reason for the high turnout: Georgia has a same-sex amendment on the ballot.

  16. Crank Says:

    SaveFarris – If the amendment brings out that kind of turnout, probably the bulk of it opposed, then Bush may be in better shape in Ohio and Michigan than we think.

  17. gb_in_ga Says:

    Crank:

    What do you mean by opposed? Opposed to Gay Marriage? Or opposed to the amendment? The Ga amendment “defines” marriage as being between 1 male and 1 female only, an opposition vote denies that, permitting gay marriage. It would be to Bush’s advantage if the bulk of the turnout were pro amendment, not opposed.

  18. David in Atlanta Says:

    GB in GA is wrong on a couple of counts regarding the anti-gay marriage amendment in Georgia.

    The amendment, if passed, would prohibit all types of legal recognition between same sex couples, not just marriage. This is an important distinction. The wording on the ballot only tells half the story.

    And if it fails, same sex marriage will still not be recognized in Georgia. No laws will be changed at all. The vote is not a vote to legalize same sex marriage.

  19. Glenmore Says:

    Assuming the election comes down to Ohio and Florida figure Bush to win if turnout is less than 100% of the registered voters and Kerry to win if it is greater than 100%. If it’s exactly 100% they will tie.

  20. McGehee Says:

    David, I think the amendment will pass. And I think the opponents think it will pass, too — hence their lawsuit to have it taken off the ballot at the last minute.

  21. The Gantry Launchpad Says:

    Just Vote

    The past couple weeks have been a bear, but y’all don’t want to know about my personal problems. 🙂 Sgt. Hook has posted a link to a letter from a man who lost his son in Afghanistan, about the slogan…

  22. gb_in_ga Says:

    Dave in Atlanta:

    I’m incorrect on the anti-gay marriage amendment? Uh, No.

    Here is the exact, verbatim text of the proposed amendment (Text taken from the sample Cobb County Ballot):

    “1. To define marriage as the union of man and woman.
    (Senate Resolution No. 595)
    (Vote for One)

    Shall the Constitution be amended so as to provide that this state shall recognize as marriage only the union of man and woman?

    YES
    NO”

    Just where does it say anything about any sort of legal recognition other than marriage? It isn’t there, the language is plain in that it specifies marriage. It doesn’t say anything about any sort of civil union. Just marriage. It says what it means and it means what it says. You are inserting your opinion in place of the plain language of the amendment.

    I know, it’s rare that any sort of legal language is plain and clear, but this is one of those rare instances. Short, sweet, clear and accurate.

    And yes, McGehee, I think that the amendment will pass, too. If the opposition were convinced that the amendment would pass, they would not complain about it being on the ballot. Since that opposition is not truly committed to the democratic process, and do not really care what the wish of the electorate is, they file their lawsuit to pre-emtively take if from the ballot. Nothing like silencing the people with the courts?

  23. gb_in_ga Says:

    Oops, I should have previewed…

    at the beginning of the last para, change

    “If the opposition were convinced that the amendment would pass,”

    to

    “If the opposition were convinced that the amendment wouldn’t pass,”

  24. TexasSecurityMom Says:

    I also live in the Houston area, but I live in the far northwest suburbs. I voted last Thursday after dropping my son off at preschool, and the line was short. That was the exception, though. There were at least 20 voting booths, and the wait has generally been around 45 minutes. I have talked to several people who waited longer than that. My husband had to wait in line for over an hour this past Tuesday. On Saturday, the wait was several hours long.

    My parents voted last Monday in their very rural small town in Central Texas, and they had to wait in line. My in-laws live in Clear Lake, near NASA. They went to vote at 6:45 on Saturday morning, so they could be first in line and avoid the rush. They waited over an hour. If the lines have been this long here in Texas for two weeks, I can’t imagine what they will be like next Tuesday in the “swing” states! None of the people I have talked to have been contacted in a GOTV effort. These are all just people who feel VERY strongly about making sure they vote for President Bush, so that his popular vote count will be huge. I am just so thankful that we have early voting. I haven’t heard of any problems here in the Houston area.

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