News Release: Faculty Experts, Politics

Nov. 6,  2008

All Eyes on Georgia for Senate Runoff

With the closely watched Georgia Senate race now headed for a run-off between Sen. Saxby Chamblis and Democratic challenger Jim Martin, "we can expect Georgia to be the center of the political universe for the next month," says Emory political scientist Alan Abramowitz.

Listen to Merle Black and Alan Abramowitz on iTunes.

It would be an intense campaign that would draw national figures to the state," he says.

Emory's Merle Black, the nation's foremost expert on Southern politics, says "it's never good for an incumbent to be in a run off since the momentum tends to lie with the challenger. But it is more likely that Chambliss will draw in the Libertarian vote."

A Change in the Red State South?

The South remained more reliably Republican than most of the nation, but it wasn't a clean sweep for the party. It was a split region, with Florida and Virginia and possibly North Carolina going for the Democrats, which really helped Obama, Black says.

"These were all very close contests in a tough year for Republicans," says Black. It's too soon to tell if the 2008 election marks a real political shift in the South, he says, pointing out that some Southern states went for President Clinton in 1992 and 1996, but swung back solidly to the GOP in 2000 and 2004. "What happens in the future depends on how voters evaluate Obama's performance."

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