Obama. Georgia. & Indiana?
Using projections from fivethirtyeight.com’s remarkably accurate Poblano, PI proves that moderate boosts in three key demographics — African-Americans, Latinos and 18-24 year olds — could result in huge electoral hauls; somewhere on the order of 300+ electoral votes.
If it sounds like a tall order, that’s because it is. But the numbers don’t lie and a hugely successful registration drive has the ability to register literally millions of new voters and catch the GOP completely off-guard.
On Friday, Chris Bowers noted that while Obama will keep staff in all 50 states it will be layered with a 17 state focus. And the biggest surprise on that list, says Chris, is Georgia “but the Obama campaign seems ready to make a play for it.”
Time agrees, asking this week, Can Georgia Be Obama’s Ohio?
In Georgia, the Obama campaign has wasted no time, launching massive voter registration drives before the primaries had even ended. “By some estimates we have about 600,000 African Americans in Georgia are eligible but unregistered. I think that number is a little high, but we will be working very hard to register as many voters as we can before the election,” said Jane Kidd, chairwoman of the Georgia Democratic Party. “Georgia is one of the most progressive southern states. There are a lot of people moving in, there’s a lot of transition, a lot of progressives.” [...]
In 1992…the third-party candidacy of Ross Perot helped leach enough votes from President George H. W. Bush to deliver Clinton the state. This year the Libertarian candidacy of former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr could help Obama in much in the same way. “Georgia would be very much in play, even if I weren’t in the race, and it will be even more so now that I am,” Barr told TIME. Republican presumptive nominee John McCain “does not really have a natural constituency in Georgia. Certainly, he’ll appeal to die-hard Republicans and certainly the military folks, but it’s not a state, if I were advising his campaign, that I would focus on.”
Proving the point, today there’s this:
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has taped a radio commercial on behalf of U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Savannah, who faces a July 15 primary challenge.
It’s the first case of Obama involving himself in a local race in Georgia.
I don’t know what kind of game Obama is playing, but using his remarkable brand to protect conservative Democrats is a move reminiscent of Nancy Pelosi endorsing Al Wynn. If Barrow loses, Obama has a progressive ally in Thomas. If Barrow wins, a conservative House Democrat owes Obama a big favor. It’s a no-lose proposition for him.
There are those who question Georgia as a potential Obama pickup. Nate at 538 compares Obama’s 17 to McCain’s 16:
My critique of Obama’s list would be the inclusion of Georgia rather than Indiana. This may be a reflection of the Obama campaign’s belief that it can improve registration and turnout among traditionally low-turnout groups, like the African-Americans and young voters that are plentiful in Georgia. I think I like Indiana better, however, from the standpoint of portfolio theory. It’s still very difficult to imagine Obama winning Georgia without winning North Carolina, and if he’s won North Carolina, he almost certainly won’t need Georgia. Indiana, on the other hand, offers a relatively unique set of circumstances. Obama is the first Midwestern Democrat to have received his party’s nomination in years (and hails from Chicago, almost literally in Indiana’s back yard). The Democrats devoted attention to Indiana for the first time in years as a result of the state’s important primary. And Indiana is an extremely manufacturing-heavy state at a time of recession. I don’t quite trust the couple of polls that showed Obama ahead in Indiana, but I can more easily see it being a surprise state that actually makes the difference between winning and losing the election.
Huh, Indiana. Interesting…