Let's talk about what the GOP, and more specifically David Perdue, needs to do on Election Day in order to prevail. It's nothing impossible, in my view. But it's worth thinking through where the GOP burden stands after the strong Democratic early vote in Georgia
Let's stipulate for this whole discussion that absolutely no one has changed their vote since the election.
If so, then our estimate is that Ossoff will amass a lead of around 350k out of the advance vote, including what he'll net out of ~100k absentee votes still to arrive
There's some fuzziness on any estimate like this, of course. But the fundamentals here are pretty straightforward, and clear to anyone with a voter file, based on the partisan makeup of the vote and the vigorous Black turnout. It's confirmed in our NYT/Siena poll data as well
One rough way to see: in the gen, Ossoff won 51.6^ of the major party advance vote, and Dem primary voters represented 49.9 percent of the advance vote. In runoff, it was D53.1 yesterday, projected to 53.4 after mail done. That 3.5 pt shift + 51.6 = 55.1%; our estimate is 55.5.
So now Perdue would need 350k votes to fight back to a tie. What would that look like?
Well it would entail something more than Nov., when he won by 218k votes on Election Day with nearly 62% of the mjr vote. Of course, the strong Dem turnout means there are more GOPers left now
How much does that help? Well, let's take a model of Election Day vote in November, applied to the current set of votes who remain, and calibrate overall turnout at 81% of Nov. levels (early voting pace, adj. for holidays). That would mean 917k votes, Perdue at 68% and +323k
Perdue wins by more this time with the same turnout model since there are a bunch of extra highly reliable GOP voters hanging around who weren't out there heading into election day in November. But even this wouldn't be enough--would need something more than 917k eday voters
If you use the 2020 general election day turnout model, you wind up getting Perdue to a win somewhere over a million Election Day votes--more than November--as total turnout approaches 4.2 million (which doesn't seem crazy)
The challenge for Perdue, of course, is that this is a 2020 general election turnout model. So far, Democrats and esp. Black voters have plainly outperformed the general election in the early vote. If they outperform on Election Day too, then Perdue needs a greater turnout
One could make this argument the other way, though. If the GOP was particularly depressed in early voting in the runoff v. the general, there may be more upside for them to outperform the general election turnout model on Election Day
Anyway, I don't like using the early vote to predict election results and I will make no exception here. I do think it can show changes in the composition of the electorate, and directionally those changes seem favorable to Dems. Favorable enough? We won't know until it's over

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More from @Nate_Cohn

3 Jan
This is fairly typical of the allegations raised by the Trump legal team (as opposed to his twitter team) over the last month: ok, fine more folks voted for Biden, but the state didn't follow their laws to our liking, so give the election to Trump
This version, however, is a relatively bold one--as everything cited here was known before the election, and neither he nor anyone else argued that we should disenfranchise Pennsylvania's electorate until he saw that Trump lost
As with the other allegations, they then go further: they not only aspire to invalidate the election but hand it to the loser, even though no one even attempts to argue Trump won these states (as opposed to asserting there were imperfections in election administration)
Read 4 tweets
2 Jan
How big is the turnout going to be in Georgia? I have no idea, but here are a few things that loom in my thinking
One obvious thing: there's no good empirical basis for modeling the turnout in this election. But I do think that the level of spending, the stakes, and the type of contest (Senate) are above even the very highest-profile midterm contests
In 2018, the gubernatorial race attracted 4 million votes and voter registration's up 14%. Leaving aside the very important distinction that this is a runoff election, we would expect well over 4 million votes for a race like this
Read 9 tweets
1 Jan
In-person early voting wrapped up in Georgia yesterday, and over all the Democrats enjoyed a more favorable turnout than they did in the general.
Of course, the Dems needed and expected to do better in the early vote, given holidays and fewer mail absentees. And anything can happen on Election Day.
But still, this was a prerequisite to a stronger Democratic turnout and that's probably prerequisite to a Dem win
As an aside, a huge proportion of my replies in recent days are about age, and I just have to insist that it shouldn't weigh much on your thinking. Age doesn't matter a *ton* in general and certainly not in comparison to, or after controlling for, party and race
Read 7 tweets
31 Dec 20
Today's the last day of in-person early voting in most of Georgia (several counties wrapped up yesterday). Yesterday saw the highest turnout so far, with few changes in the turnout patterns that we've seen throughout early voting
This is typically a strong period for GOP voting and so it was yesterday as well. But as we've seen throughout early voting, Democrats outpaced their standing at a similar point ahead of the general election thanks to strong Black turnout
That said, the daily comparison at this point is not as clear as it once was. As you can see on the chart, the last day of early voting is a pretty good one for Democrats. A few counties, including Fulton, did that yesterday. And today will be the last in the rest of the state.
Read 5 tweets
30 Dec 20
Early voting kept humming along in Georgia yesterday, matching turnout from the equivalent date ahead of the general as we head into the last days of in person voting
The final Tuesday of early voting was the GOP's best day ahead of the general and that was true yesterday, as well, though they trailed the general election pace yet again
A relatively higher Black turnout continues to be the difference. The Black share of the daily electorate reached its nadir yesterday, as it did at this point in the general, but it was still 4 pts higher than at this point before the nov. election
Read 7 tweets
29 Dec 20
One question I keep getting about the Georgia early voting is about age: isn't the electorate older, and how much does it hurt the Democrats?
So far the answer is 'not really' and 'not at all.'
The first question is easy enough. As of today, youth turnout is basically keeping pace with the general, controlling for the slightly reduced opportunities to vote. This augurs for an unusually young electorate
The second question is more interesting: are the Democrats hurt by lower youth turnout? So far the answer is no, and there are two reasons.
One reason: there's not a *huge* gen. gap. Maybe young voters are D+20 while >65 are R+15. You need a big gap for modest changes to matter.
Read 9 tweets

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