As Donald Trump's poll numbers sink and battleground states lean more heavily Hillary Clinton's way nearing November, we're seeing an interesting phenomenon: a number of supposedly "safe" red states are not so safe anymore. RealClearPolitics has called the Texas race a toss-up, and that's a state with some serious red cred. The same is true for Georgia, where Trump's average 4 percent lead isn't exactly an invitation to kick back and relax about the once-reliably Republican state. Could voters in the Peach State choose Clinton over Trump? Will Georgia go blue?
Anything can happen. Though polls from the state aren't dazzling for Trump, they're less so for Clinton, and have been for most of the race. Georgia's voting history paints an interesting picture; there was only one presidential election since 1980 when the state tipped its plurality to a Democratic presidential nominee. And that nominee was Bill Clinton in 1992. He did not earn the state again in 1996.
But Georgia's House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams sees a reason to expect Georgia's historical voting trend to shift from here on out. Abrams told New York magazine that the changing demographics in the state will likely, if not in this election, then soon, favor Democratic candidates. "The Atlanta metro region has seen a massive influx of African Americans, many of whom are well-educated middle class," she said. "Then you have white northern liberals who’ve moved to the South." According to data from the Georgia Secretary of State, nearly 30 percent of active voters in the state are African American, a demographic that leans heavily Democratic.
Abrams is hopeful that, if Democrats begin investing more in Georgia's elections and working hard to turn out voters in the state, then the state will become reliably blue soon. She pointed to the fact that Georgia's population is expected to have more people of color than white people within the next decade as further reason to foresee such a turn-around.
Polls heading into November don't have anyone in a runaway lead in Georgia, but they have favored Trump. We may not see Georgia go blue in 2016, but, keeping Abrams' insights in mind, it might not be surprising to see that happen in the near future — if Democrats make the state a priority.