Georgia Results Prove Suburbs Have Undergone a Political Transformation

While there is still much to learn about the coalition that propelled Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to victory, early exit polls have made two things clear. One, Black voters, supported by years of on-the-ground organizing and mobilization efforts, are the primary reason Warnock and Ossoff are headed to the U.S. Senate. Two, even without Trump on the ballot, Republicans were unable to make up ground with the suburban voters who fled the GOP in November.

  • CNN exit polling: “Trump won suburban Georgia voters by 3 points in November; Perdue is ahead of Ossoff by just 2 points. And perhaps as importantly, suburban voters turned out in similar numbers in the Senate runoffs as they did in the November general election. In November, suburbanites were 61% of the overall electorate, while on Tuesday they were also 61%.”

The Women Effect Action Fund (WEAF), along with others, supported a door-to-door- canvass that targeted people in the Atlanta suburbs who voted for Biden but did not complete their ballots for Senate candidates. This canvass reached out to voters about care economy issues like paid family and medical leave and affordable healthcare. The messaging was modeled on a similar 10-state, nearly $27 million voter contact program WEAF supported during the general election. On Sunday, this work was profiled by Sue Halpern for The New Yorker.

“Over the past few months, we’ve supported programs that have talked to voters around the country. What we heard again and again from voters was that if they personally weren’t dealing with a care crisis, they knew someone who was,” said Lisa Guide, co-founder of the Women Effect Action Fund. “A majority of Americans want action on care issues like affordable child and eldercare and paid family leave and paid sick days. With the Senate victories in Georgia, these issues are much more likely to get the attention they deserve in D.C. and Americans will be better off for it.”

Recently, WEAF conducted a 10-state battleground poll that showed care economy voters are an emerging force in American politics. Suburban care economy voters were a critical part of the coalition that elected Biden. In 2020, battleground suburban voters swung decisively towards Biden, supporting him 56% to 42% and they were extremely supportive of the care economy agenda:

  • 86% support tax credits for caring for older and disabled relatives
  • 83% support for caregivers for older and disabled adults
  • 78% support paid sick leave
  • 77% support national paid family and medical leave
  • 76% support affordable childcare
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