Will Georgia become a swing state? - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Will Georgia become a swing state?

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Political observers believe this year's election results show Georgia will likely be more competitive in the presidential race four years from now. The Latino vote is expected to be an increasingly significant factor in Georgia and elsewhere.

Post-election analysis from across the country shows President Barack Obama won significant victories in key categories of voters, including big majorities of Latino voters.

That has given rise to predictions that after years as a safe haven for Republicans, the increasingly diverse state of Georgia could again become part of the battleground in presidential politics.
        
"Well, I think certainly in tight, close presidential elects the Latino vote in Georgia is growing more powerful and could be decisive as well in Georgia as it was nationally," Jerry Gonzales of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials said.

Gonzales cites the increasing number of Latino registered voters in Georgia.

"With that growth, with that demographic change, that's the reason why pundits are calling Georgia potentially a swing state for the next presidential elections," said Gonzales.

Kennesaw State University political science professor Kerwin Swint sees the same trend, but a longer timeline.

"The metro Atlanta market makes Georgia an increasingly diverse area and in the next 10 or so years,  it could be a state that becomes a swing state, politically, where Democrats have a fairly good shot at taking Georgia," said Gonzales.

While Latino numbers are expanding, white voters are declining as a percentage of the electorate, down to about 58 percent in Georgia, Swint said. That has implications for Republicans on national and state levels.

"Latino voters are going to the Democratic Party largely because of two issues, immigration and health care. There's going to be a big discussion among Republicans as to what to do to appeal to more Latino voters," said Swint.

In addition to Georgia, Arizona is seen as a state likely to soon become more politically competitive because of its growing Latino population.

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