- He is the incumbent. There are few countries where the incumbency means more than it does in the United States. Martin was always climbing uphill on this one.
- Georgia is a red state. While I wouldn't be surprised if Obama puts Georgia in his early crosshairs in 2012, the state still voted for McCain in 2008. Martin got almost the same number of votes as Obama did on Nov. 4. (both were around 46%). Chambliss had McCain's support split off by a third party candidate putting him...
- Chambliss was just a few votes shy of 50% the first time around. This was not a reversal of election day or even a dramatic change in fortunes. Chambliss would have won the race on election day in many states. This isn't like Minnesota where the difference may end up being just a couple hundred votes.
- The Republican base was energized, the Democrats were not. The Republican base was spurred on by the threat of fillibuster-proof senate. The Democrats rely in Georgia, as they do in many southern states, on the turnout of the African-American community to boost their fortunes. With Barack Obama on the ballot Nov. 4th the Democrats had an easy sell among African-Americans. All across the US African-Americans voted in record numbers this time around. They weren't going to do that for Jim Martin, particularly when Obama wasn't campaigning on Martin's behalf.
Side Note: Do not credit Sarah Palin with this one either. I heard the normally astute David Gergen making this comment yesterday. Yes, she drew some crowds and media attention for Chambliss. However, crowds, like lawn signs, don't vote. Remember Obama's massive crowd under the arch in St. Louis? He lost the state of Missouri on election night.