Sen. Saxby Chambliss's (R-Ga.) overwhelming victory Tuesday was due to many things, including an impressive grassroots effort and base-rallying visits by high-profile Republicans such as John McCain and Sarah Palin. But key to Chambliss's impressive margin of victory last night was the fact that turnout was low — an estimated 30-35 percent.

Turnout in runoff elections is generally much lower than in the general election, as was indeed the case in Georgia's 1992 runoff between Wyche Fowler and Paul Coverdell. This year's elections, however, were different, and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOvernight Energy: Dems ask Pruitt to justify first-class travel | Obama EPA chief says reg rollback won't stand | Ex-adviser expects Trump to eventually rejoin Paris accord Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand Ex-US ambassador: Mueller is the one who is tough on Russia MORE was supposed to lead scores of new voters to the polls, if not the Promised Land.

Georgia shows us what many in the GOP have suspected: that, if Barack Obama's name is not on the ballot, many of his supporters — especially new voters — are less likely to show up. Yes, Obama cut an ad urging his supporters to go to the polls to support Jim Martin. But for many, Obama is their cause, not down-ballot candidates.

This bodes well for Republicans running in 2010, because, as one veteran of campaign politics told me, without Obama "the turnout model is status quo."

It also means that Al Franken is suddenly a lot less important to Senate Democrats.