Friday, October 30, 2009

Mary Norwood and race

Hey, did you know that Mary Norwood is white?  No, seriously.  She's from Buckhead, and she's a white housewife.  What?  You knew that?  I just wanted to make sure you were aware, these sorts of things can be hard to catch. 

The big story lines of the election have been:
  • Atlanta is broke!  What a mess...
  • Crime sucks, and so does the police chief
  • Republican bogeyman!
  • Mary Norwood is white
Most of the attention has been on the changing demographics of the City of Atlanta, and the usual suspects have injected race into the debate in a way that the candidates have studiously avoided.  (FTR, I think the DPG attacks on Mary Norwood are poor form.)

However, what I really want to focus on is the fact that Norwood is getting 34% of the black vote according to the cross tabs in the latest Insider Advantage polling.  She is pulling more black support than either black candidate.  She is pulling 56% of white voters, which is a majority but far from an overwhelming landslide. 

Let's say that Norwood were polling at say 10% among black voters (about what Republicans can expect to get from black voters).  By my math, she'd only be getting 32% of the total votes, and we'd be talking about a much closer race. 

If Mary Norwood is Mayor of Atlanta, it will be because of black voters, and their willingness to vote for a white candidate.

Just something to chew on the next time someone from Macon who traffics in selling outrage wants to tell you this election is all about race. 

3 comments:

  1. Great analysis, which should lead to the conclusion that this election is turning not on "race" but "class"--and specifically, how class identity, affiliation, and resentment is working within Atlanta's African-American community in 2009.

    If Norwood wins, it'll be because Atlanta's poorest citizens, most of whom are African American, have decided that the past three decades of upper-middle class African-American leadership have left them high and dry.

    THIS is the key to the 2009 mayoral elections.

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  2. I linked to your last two posts on Atlanta Unsheltered, FYI.

    You make so many great points. I wonder if there's a political future for you?!

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  3. Grazie mille, Ciambellina. I was pleased to discover your blog, which is fantastico!

    No political future for me. I'm just a social scientist by training who is underwhelmed by the quality of local political reporting in Atlanta.

    I'm a fan of Atlanta Unsheltered and Terminal Station. If I have something to say, I want to do it where the discourse is civil, somewhat unpredictable, and focussed on making Atlanta a better place.

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