I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Fulton County, Georgia, is quite a polarized place. Even its shape is odd, formed as a consolidation of an older Fulton with Milton County to the north and Campbell County to the south during the Great Depression; it’s now Georgia’s most populous county. Alternatively, you can think of it as a county that on one end gives us T.I. (to whom the title pays homage) and Ludacris (both of whom are from Atlanta), and Tom Price (Roswell) and Jeff Foxworthy (Alpharetta) on the other.
Now, in 2008, Fulton County gave Barack Obama 67% of the vote. But, as its diverse history and composition would suggest, that was far from uniform:
As you can see, the county’s also quite racially polarized (% Black registered voters on the right).
More over the flip…
Now without getting into the politics of municipal incorporation that I’m far from qualified to talk about, you can see that Fulton’s quite the tale of two cities, er…former counties. If we take the 112 precincts (and six municipalities – Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park, Roswell, and Sandy Springs) that form completely incorporated North Fulton (from which many county secession efforts start in the Georgia Legislature), we would get this astonishing result:
Fulton County would lose its most-populous title to Gwinnett County and DeKalb would move to 2nd, while “Milton” County would be the 5th largest county, with Cobb at 4th. More interestingly, Milton County would be a 60% McCain jurisdiction, while South Fulton would shoot to 83% Obama. Perhaps also tellingly, “Milton” is 10% Black, 2% Hispanic, and 3% Asian (by registered voters), South Fulton is 52% Black.
Of course, we don’t need to consider the wet county secession dreams of some suburban Republicans to see this polarization – we can examine the results by municipality. (Sidenote: five points for Fulton County for good precincting procedures…more on that later.)
|Uninc South Fulton||40,802.19||2,644.63||43,484.11||93.83%||6.08%||78.20%||0.49%||0.17%|
Anyways, I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves on that one.
Sidenote number 2: At this point, you’re probably going, “WTF, Jeff??” and wondering if I’d hit some of the ganja that Rogers County, OK was busy with last night. Well, the reason there are decimal points is because of the allocation of early votes to precincts. 45% of votes in Fulton County were cast early and not allocated to specific precincts. Additionally, Obama won 62% of votes cast on Election Day in Fulton, and a whopping 75% of votes cast Early. Early votes are non-trivial and need to be allocated. Thanks to the University of Georgia, we do know how many voters in each precinct voted, and from that we can allocate early votes. I’m always hesitant to round at an early stage (this would lead to significant discrepancies, especially here), so that’s why you get decimal points.
Oh, and for reading this far (including both sidenotes!), you get a prize in terms of more eye candy.