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United States presidential election results for Georgia[1]
Year Republican / Whig Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 2,461,854 49.24% 2,473,633 49.47% 64,473 1.29%
2016 2,089,104 50.38% 1,877,963 45.29% 179,758 4.33%
2012 2,078,688 53.19% 1,773,827 45.39% 55,854 1.43%
2008 2,048,759 52.10% 1,844,123 46.90% 39,276 1.00%
2004 1,914,254 57.93% 1,366,149 41.34% 24,078 0.73%
2000 1,419,720 54.67% 1,116,230 42.98% 60,854 2.34%
1996 1,080,843 47.01% 1,053,849 45.84% 164,379 7.15%
1992 995,252 42.88% 1,008,966 43.47% 316,915 13.65%
1988 1,081,331 59.75% 714,792 39.50% 13,549 0.75%
1984 1,068,722 60.17% 706,628 39.79% 743 0.04%
1980 654,168 40.95% 890,733 55.76% 52,566 3.29%
1976 483,743 32.96% 979,409 66.74% 4,306 0.29%
1972 881,496 75.04% 289,529 24.65% 3,747 0.32%
1968 380,111 30.40% 334,440 26.75% 535,715 42.85%
1964 616,584 54.12% 522,557 45.87% 195 0.02%
1960 274,472 37.43% 458,638 62.54% 239 0.03%
1956 216,652 32.65% 441,094 66.48% 5,734 0.86%
1952 198,979 30.34% 456,823 69.66% 1 0.00%
1948 76,691 18.31% 254,646 60.81% 87,427 20.88%
1944 59,880 18.25% 268,187 81.74% 42 0.01%
1940 46,360 14.83% 265,194 84.85% 997 0.32%
1936 36,942 12.60% 255,364 87.10% 872 0.30%
1932 19,863 7.77% 234,118 91.60% 1,609 0.63%
1928 99,368 43.36% 129,602 56.56% 188 0.08%
1924 30,300 18.19% 123,200 73.96% 13,077 7.85%
1920 41,089 27.63% 107,162 72.06% 465 0.31%
1916 11,294 7.03% 127,754 79.51% 21,633 13.46%
1912 5,191 4.27% 93,087 76.63% 23,192 19.09%
1908 41,355 31.21% 72,350 54.60% 18,799 14.19%
1904 24,004 18.33% 83,466 63.72% 23,516 17.95%
1900 34,260 28.22% 81,180 66.86% 5,970 4.92%
1896 59,395 36.56% 93,885 57.78% 9,200 5.66%
1892 48,408 21.70% 129,446 58.01% 45,272 20.29%
1888 40,499 28.33% 100,493 70.31% 1,944 1.36%
1884 48,603 33.84% 94,667 65.92% 340 0.24%
1880 54,470 34.59% 102,981 65.41% 0 0.00%
1876 50,533 27.97% 130,157 72.03% 0 0.00%
1872 62,550 45.03% 76,356 54.97% 0 0.00%
1868 57,109 35.73% 102,707 64.27% 0 0.00%
1860 0 0.00% 11,581 10.85% 95,136 89.15%
1856 0 0.00% 56,581 57.14% 42,439 42.86%
1852 16,660 26.60% 40,516 64.70% 5,450 8.70%
1848 47,532 51.49% 44,785 48.51% 0 0.00%
1844 42,100 48.81% 44,147 51.19% 0 0.00%
1840 40,339 55.78% 31,983 44.22% 0 0.00%
1836 24,481 51.80% 22,778 48.20% 0 0.00%

The politics of Georgia change frequently and often follow the rest of the United States in major historical landmarks. The state has a long history, starting in the 18th century as a British colony. The cultural makeup of the early colony led to a ban on slavery being overturned soon after its implementation, setting the stage for the many plantations in the state. Rival governments were formed during the Revolutionary War, with the Patriot government surviving and forming a unified state government after the war. Georgian politics then followed the Democratic-Republican Party before the American Civil War and the Democrats afterward. As the political ideologies of the Democratic and Republican parties shifted in the 20th century, Georgia politicians moved to the Republican Party. This led to Sonny Perdue, elected in 2002, becoming the first Republican governor in the state since 1872. In the late 2010s and early 2020s, Georgia became a competitive swing state,[2] with Democrats narrowly winning all statewide federal elections in the 2020 elections.[3][4] However the state of Georgia does currently continue to maintain a Republican lean, with Republicans controlling every statewide office, having Republican majorities in the State House and Senate, as well as a complete Republican pick on the Georgia Supreme Court, and a PVI rating of R+3. Though narrowly losing the Federal Senate race, statewide Republicans vastly improved their margins of victory from 2018 to 2022 in Georgia.

Savannah in its earliest days
Savannah in its earliest days

Colonial times

The Province of Georgia was founded in 1733 as a British colony by a royal charter through a trust led by James Oglethorpe, a member of Parliament who had originally envisioned it as a place to resettle volunteering debtors instead of sending them to prison.[5] It was named after King George II, the reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies at that time. They banned slavery. The province recruited yeomen settlers to occupy land where the native Yamasee had lived before the Yamasee War, acted as a buffer to protect earlier settlements in South Carolina from the Spanish presence in Florida, and hinder West African slaves from escaping and reaching lands beyond the frontier and the control of their owners.

Although most early Georgia colonists were English, Scottish, and German artisans seeking arable land or freedom of religion, many of them complained to their leaders that the ban on slavery created a labor shortage that impeded local finances, compared to other Southern colonies. After Spain failed to conquer the area during the War of Jenkins' Ear, the province legalized slavery in 1749, altering the balance of power in the settlements. Thousands of slaves were imported to work on plantations producing rice, indigo, and sugar. Their owners, mostly South Carolina planters, were wealthier than the early settlers and soon gained most of the official political appointments in the Crown colony that replaced the trusteeship in 1754.

Revolutionary War and Antebellum years

Portrait of Archibald Bulloch
Portrait of Archibald Bulloch

Georgia had two rival governments during the American Revolutionary War: the appointed Loyalist regime of James Wright and the Patriot administration, initially led by planter Archibald Bulloch. After escaping revolutionary forces, Wright fled the colony in 1776 but organized a return in 1778 backed by British military force. After the war, he left again in 1782, evacuating with British forces following the end of hostilities and victory by the rebels. The British also evacuated thousands of slaves to whom they had promised freedom if they left rebel masters. They were resettled in the Caribbean and London.

Bulloch, who died in 1777, and his colleagues founded a republican government. In 1788 Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the new U.S. Constitution.

Georgia had been settled from the along Atlantic Ocean and the Savannah River. The drive of settlers for westward expansion made territorial issues prominent. An expansion from the Altamaha River to the St. Marys River and the drawing of southern and northern borders neglected a western boundary. The colony assumed it would extend to the Pacific Ocean; a nearer limit was the Mississippi River. The federal government worked to reduce such early colonial claims, in the interest of establishing more states. In addition, nationwide anger among the 13 states about the Yazoo land scandal resulted in Georgia leaders defining their claim in 1802 at the Chattahoochee River up to its head of navigation at the site of modern Columbus and a line running north by west from there.

In the early United States, most Georgia politicians were aligned with the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican Party, favoring strict constructionism in constitutional law and states' rights over federal power. Unlike the Federalist Party, which backed strong central government, Jeffersonians wanted a freer hand in both Indian removal and expanded plantation slavery. Before the Revolution, Georgia was home to the native Creek and Cherokee. The advent of the cotton gin in 1793, which made short-staple cotton profitable in the uplands of the state, and the Georgia Gold Rush in 1829 spurred runs on land. The Georgia Land Lottery tried to reduce corruption by giving native lands to poorer citizens, but did so as native treaties such as the Treaty of Indian Springs (1825) were broken or revised.[citation needed]

By the 1830s, Georgia politics was split by the Jacksonian Democratic Party and the Anti-Jacksonian Whig Party. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, favored by Jackson to void Indian land claims in the Southeast and permit development. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Georgia's encroachment on other Indian land in Worcester v. Georgia in 1832, on the grounds that Indian natives were entitled to federal protection. But the ruling was ignored by both presidents and the state, and the federal government proceeded to forcibly remove Indians to west of the Mississippi River. The Cherokee were the last to be forced out, led along what they referred to as the Trail of Tears to Indian Territory, during which many people died.

Former Native American lands were developed for cotton cultivation, and planters brought in thousands of slaves to work the new lands. In 1842 the state legislature declared that black people were non-citizens. After the Compromise of 1850 tried to resolve slavery among the states as an issue of balance of power, the Georgia Platform was accepted by many Southerners as the policy by which secession could be avoided.

Portrait of Joseph E. Brown, governor of Georgia during the Civil War
Portrait of Joseph E. Brown, governor of Georgia during the Civil War

Civil War years

In the 1850s, most state Whigs joined a reinvented Democratic Party that became inflexible on the issues of supporting the expansion of slavery and a highly devolved federalism. The victory of Abraham Lincoln, who was considered a moderate abolitionist, in the presidential election of 1860 was perceived as a threat to Georgia interests. This large slave society was the fifth state to secede from the Union. A founding member of the Confederate States of America in 1861, the state sent tens of thousands of soldiers to fight in the American Civil War.[citation needed]

Reconstruction through the 20th century

As in other southern states, white conservative Democrats regained control of the state legislature in the 1870s, through a combination of force, intimidation and fraud, with widespread voter suppression of black Republicans. At the turn of the 20th century, Georgia passed a new constitution and amendments that in practice disenfranchised most blacks and many poor whites. The exclusion of blacks from the political system was maintained well into the 1960s.[6][7] The legislature passed laws to institute legal segregation of public facilities and Jim Crow customs governed many informal rules placing blacks in second-class status.

In the postwar era after World War II, African Americans, particularly veterans, renewed their activism for civil rights, including being able to exercise the franchise. Conservative white Democrats formed the States' Rights Democratic Party, splitting from the national Democratic Party. This group—whose members were called Dixicrats—was very segregationist. It pushed for its candidate Strom Thurmond to be the Democratic presidential nominee in southern states. Georgia was the only Deep South state to reject Harry Truman, the national Democratic nominee, as its candidate. Thurmond ran as a third-party candidate in the state.[8]

During the 1960s and 1970s, Georgia made significant changes in civil rights, governance, and economic growth focused on Atlanta. It was a bedrock of the emerging "New South". In 1983, Georgia's tenth Constitution was ratified, and is the newest state constitution in the United States as of 2015.

21st century

In 2002, Sonny Perdue became the first Republican Governor since the Reconstruction.

In 2004, its voters passed a ban on same-sex marriage with 76% voting yes.[9] The ban was invalidated in 2015 by the United States Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges.

About half of all appropriations in the Georgia state budget each year are funded by state taxes, with the remainder of revenue coming from federal grants and state bonds.

In the early 2020s, despite a Republican trifecta in the state government, Democrats won all three statewide federal offices. Joe Biden narrowly won the state for his presidential campaign while Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won the U.S. Senate elections, becoming the first Black and Jewish senators from the state.[3] The wins were reported to be due to the shift of white moderates toward the Democratic Party and the increased turnout of African-American voters.[10][4] In 2022, incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock defeated Republican nominee Herschel Walker in the election, winning a full six-year term to office. Also in 2022, Republicans however did win every statewide office in Georgia by margins of 5-10% and incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp won reelection by almost double digits with a raw margin of over 300,000 votes at 7.5% over Democrat Stacey Abrams.

See also


  1. ^ Leip, David. "Presidential General Election Results Comparison – Georgia". US Election Atlas. Retrieved October 24, 2022.
  2. ^ "How Georgia became a swing state for the first time in decades". Washington Post. 8 Nov 2020. Retrieved 7 Jan 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Joe Biden confirmed as Georgia winner after recount". The Guardian. 20 Nov 2020. Retrieved 7 Jan 2021.
  4. ^ a b "How Black voters lifted Georgia Democrats to Senate runoff victories". The Guardian. 7 Jan 2021. Retrieved 7 Jan 2021.
  5. ^ "Establishing the Georgia Colony - American Memory Timeline- Classroom Presentation | Teacher Resources - Library of Congress". Retrieved 2019-12-18.
  6. ^ Richard M. Valelly, The Two Reconstructions: The Struggle for Black Enfranchisement, University of Chicago Press, 2009
  7. ^ Michael Perman.Struggle for Mastery: Disfranchisement in the South, 1888–1908. Chapel Hill: North Carolina Press, 2001, Introduction
  8. ^ Buchanan, Scott (27 July 2004). "Dixiecrats". Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Georgia Marriage Amendment, Question 1 (2004)". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  10. ^ Jarvie, Jenny (13 November 2020). "Biden is projected to win Georgia. Here's how he flipped the Southern battleground". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 January 2021.