Chambliss and the growth factor

In analyzing Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ impressive victory in Georgia — he defeated Democrat Jim Martin by more than 300,000 votes in Tuesday’s runoff — it is important to understand where that Republican margin comes from. While liberals will try to explain Martin’s defeat as a product of retrograde rural backlash, the decisive factor for Chambliss was his large margins in the prosperous, fast-growing suburban and exurban counties around Atlanta.

As usual for Republicans in Georgia, Chambliss piled up huge margins in the mega-suburban counties of Cobb and Gwinnett, beating Martin by nearly 50,000 votes in each. But Chambliss also piled up a combined margin of nearly 150,000 votes in nine “outer ring” exurban counties. Here are those counties, showing Chambliss’ margin and each county’s population growth rate (April 2000-July 2006) according to the Census Bureau:

County… Margin…Growth
Barrow……7,184……38.1%
Bartow.….10,948…..20.1%
Carroll…….6,642……23.0%
Cherokee…33,274……37.6%
Coweta……15,002……29.2%
Forsyth……30,624…..53.4%
Hall………..20,625…..24.4%
Paulding ….12,795…..48.9%
Walton…….12,681….30.8%

Please note that the margins are based on results available at 8 a.m., when 97% of precincts statewide were reporting, and the vote is not complete in all counties.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

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