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Why Virginia Matters Most

Last fall, Democrat Barack Obama won the presidential election with 52.87% of the popular vote to Republican John McCain’s 45.60%.  In the Commonwealth of Virginia, Obama’s share of the popular vote was nearly identical to his national take, 52.63% (a difference of less than 1/4 of 1%).  McCain did a little better in the Old Dominion, but not by much (46.33%), than he did nationwide.

In New York’s 23rd congressional district, Obama also ran slightly below his national total, capturing 52% of the vote.

Given how closely Virginia’s vote mirrored the national vote, it’s no wonder Hugh Hewitt called the Commonwealth’s elections “the key story tonight.”  While Virginia has long been a Republican stronghold, the only Southern state in 1976 to vote for Jerry Ford over the South’s native son Jimmy Carter, it has being trending Democratic in recent years, electing Democrats in the past two gubernatorial elections.  Both its Senators belong to the president’s party.

With the growth of the federal government in recent years, more federal employees have been buying homes in Northern Virginia, making, Fairfax, the Commonwealth’s largest county, reliably Democrat.  Should Republican Bob McDonnell poll well there tonight, it will be a real sign of a revitalized GOP.  

Not just that, given that a lot of Congressfolk (and their staffs) make their homes in Northern Virginia, a strong McDonnell showing might spook Washington Democrats.

With Virginia’s tally last fall mirroring the national tally, a sign of Democratic erosion here would clearly indicate that Obama’s margin in 2008 had more to do with the dynamics of that election than with an ideological realignment of American voters.

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5 Comments

  1. [...] GayPatriot: Why Virginia Matters Most: “With Virginia’s tally last fall mirroring the national tally, a sign of Democratic erosion here would clearly indicate that Obama’s margin in 2008 had more to do with the dynamics of that election than with an ideological realignment of American voters.” Jake Tapper tweets: prelim exit poll data, VA: 18% say they cast their vote in part to express support for Obama, 24% in opposition, 55% not a factor [...]

    Pingback by Pajamas Media » Decision ‘09: With 4% Reporting in VA, McDonnell at 67% — November 3, 2009 @ 7:39 pm - November 3, 2009

  2. Personally, as a former resident of Northern Virginia, and Fairfax County specifically, I’d offer a different opinion as to why Fairfax has been trending Democrat. I think it has much more to do with state tax money and the tone of Virginia politics.

    In the 4 years we lived there, I watched my tax dollars flow to Richmond and subsidize the rest of the state while the infrastructure in NoVA failed to keep pace with the population growth because of the allocation (or lack thereof) of tax money where it should go.

    Second, I think the population of the NoVA counties tend to be more socially progessive and have been rejecting the Jerry Falwell – Religious Right politics of intolerance that frequently set the tone in VA outside of those counties. Instead of focusing on solving the state’s transportation problems (as one example), the legislature was more interested in passing laws which have been interpreted to be among the most anti-gay in the country, and introducing bills to fine people for wearing their pants too low.

    No doubt the heavy presence of government employees and contractors who make money off the government influences the democratic trend, but I think there’s more to it. Just my $0.02. :-)

    Comment by Neptune — November 3, 2009 @ 8:45 pm - November 3, 2009

  3. …gotta love watching democrats squirm!

    Comment by richard clokey — November 3, 2009 @ 8:49 pm - November 3, 2009

  4. If I understood CNN correctly, Lowden(sp?) County seems to have rejected Obamunism.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — November 3, 2009 @ 8:56 pm - November 3, 2009

  5. An unbelievable 20% win for the VA governors house. A 26% swing from 2008! Egg all over Obama. Guess the people don’t like Obamas policies. Is a 20% victory considered a ROUT?
    With 93% of the vote in, has MSNBC called it for the Republican? hehe

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — November 3, 2009 @ 9:44 pm - November 3, 2009

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