Georgia runoffs historically see a drop-off of voters

Many people may be getting a little bit of voter fatigue after the general election cycle.
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 8:12 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Many people may be getting a little bit of voter fatigue after the general election cycle. Mark Rountree with Landmark Communications says it’s up to the candidates to convince voters it’s important to head back to the polls.

“Control of the Senate is at stake, just like it was in 2020,” said Rountree.


Rountree brings up two runoffs in history- one where voters went back to the polls, another where they didn’t. In 2008, Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss won re-election.

In 2008, nearly 4 million people came out in the general election, but slightly over 2 million came out in the runoff. In 2020, we saw less of a drop-off with nearly 5 million people voting in the general election, and 4.5 million came out in the runoff.

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“I think we’re looking at more of a 10% drop off this time,” said Rountree.

UGA political science professor Charles Bullock has found while incumbents normally have a lead in the general election, they lose power in runoffs. Roughly 35,000 votes separated Raphael Warnock from Hershel Walker, and historically speaking, the closer the race, the greater the turnout.

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“If you lead in the first round, you’ve got about a 70% chance of winning in the second round. But if you’re an incumbent who gets forced into a runoff, but nonetheless, leads it as Raphael Warnock did, then the odds of you winning dropped down to about 55%. We’re talking 10s of 1000s of votes out of 4 million that are cast. So when we factor all that in, it’s Would you rather be first or second, you’d rather be first. But does the runner-up have a pretty good shot at it? Yeah, yeah,” said Bullock.

Rountree expects candidates will pull out all the stops over the next four weeks.

“There will be probably a quarter of a billion dollars spent in the runoff,” said Rountree.