Esteemed University of Georgia political science professor and Bishop resident Charles S. Bullock III described Georgia as a “swing state” in the 2020 presidential election.

Bullock, who has taught at UGA since 1968, said that whereas George W. Bush won Georgia with a 16.5 percent advantage, President Donald Trump carried the state by just over 5 percent in 2016. Then in 2018,  Gov. Brian Kemp’s victory was decided by a margin of about 2 percent.

Bullock said changing demographics play a key role in this shift. Back in 1996, white voters comprised between 77 and 78 percent of the vote in the state. Now, they comprise roughly 60 percent. 

Meanwhile, Georgia has had the largest increase in voting-age Black voters of any U.S. state from 2000 to 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Traditionally, African Americans have been the most Democratic voting bloc in the electorate, Bullock added. 

“If they turn out in higher numbers, that works to the advantage of Democrats,” Bullock said. “For Democrats and [Joe] Biden to win, they need to vote at least the same rate as whites, so about 30 percent.” 

The Georgia Secretary of State website shows that African Americans have comprised about 30 percent of the vote since 2016.

Bullock added that another component to Georgia being a swing state is “generational replacement,” in which the youth vote at present leans more to the left.

Bullock also said that more urban counties statewide, specifically populous ones, are turning blue. 

“Previously, there were only three areas and metro Atlanta that voted for Democrats,” he said. “In each of the last two [elections], nine voted for Democrats, and those nine included the four most populous counties in the state. Yes, rural Georgia is red, but increasingly, voters are living in those blue areas.” 

For more on this story, see the Oct. 15 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website.

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