Here's some background: In 2008, the early vote in Georgia was 35% African American. The day of election vote was 25% African American. It averaged out right at 30%. Obama got 47% of the vote.
In 2006, the early vote was 17% African American, the day of election vote was 25%, it averaged out at 24%.
This year the early vote in Georgia as of right now stands at 26.9% African American. And in the past few days, it's been taking off. On Saturday some metro Atlanta counties had weekend early vote hours and 55% of the voters that took advantage of them were African Americans. On Monday, the first day of the extended advance vote week with more locations in the large metro counties, the African American vote almost topped 29%. And yesterday, it hit 30% for the single day.
So what does this all mean? Will Georgia in 2010 be like Georgia in 2006, when more African Americans voted on election day than in the early period, or will it be like 2008 when more African Americans voted early? Nobody knows, but I have to think that it will be somewhere in between. In the 2008 runoff between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin, the African American % on election day was actually higher than it was during the early vote period.
So these things can go back and forth.
What I do know is that here in Georgia, African American voters still haven't been informed about the enthusiasm gap.