Sunday, January 8, 2012

Color Virginia Red:

Possibly Bright Red.  In the 2008 election Barack Obama won Virginia, the first time The Old Dominion had been won by a Democrat running for President since 1964.  In 2012 the Obama Campaign will be making Virginia their Firewall - believing that they can once again win this state.  Many of the Political Talking Heads talk of Virginia as a "Purple" State, the definition of a Swing State.

Polling shows that the state is close between Obama and a Republican candidate.  But as any political wonk knows - through the power of sampling you can get a poll to show practically anything you want.  Many of the polls showing President Obama in the lead have sample Democrats much more, sometimes as many as 10  percentage points more than Republicans.

Far and away more important than polling are actual election results.  And since the Obama 2008 victory there have been three separate statewide elections, The Governor's 2009 election, the 2010 Congressional Elections and the 2011 State elections.  In each of these elections the Republicans have won decisively in numbers approaching a landslide.

In the 2009 Gubernatorial Election Republican Bob McDonnell won election with over 58% of the vote.  McDonnell won with the largest percentage of the vote of any candidate since 1961.  McDonnell won despite President Obama having campaign appearances with Democrat Creigh Deeds putting Robocalls on Deeds behalf.

CandidateBob McDonnellCreigh Deeds
Popular vote1,163,523818,909

Virginia Gubernatorial Election Results by County, 2009.svg
Results by county and independent city

In the 2010 Congressional Elections there was similarly a Republican Wave in Virginia.  The GOP candidates won 8 or 11 elections and picked up three congressional seats.  Over 116,000 more Virginians voted for GOP candidates than their Democrat opponents.

And in the Statewide 2011 elections Republicans won decisive victories in both the House of Delegates and in the Senate.  In the Senate - prior to the election, 22 seats were held by Democrats and 18 seats were held by Republicans. Redistricting caused the 13th district to be moved from Hampton Roads to Northern Virginia and the 22nd district to be moved from the Roanoke area to a district stretching from Lynchburg to Richmond. Republicans gained two seats, making the Senate tied with 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans.

And in the House - prior to the election, the House of Delegates consisted of 58 Republicans, 39 Democrats, 2 Independents, with one vacant seat previously held by a Republican (Glenn Oder of the 94th district, who resigned in August 2011). Redistricting eliminated three seats: Southwestern Virginia's 2nd district, the Martinsville-area 10th district, and the Norfolk-based 87th district. These three seats were moved to Northern Virginia. Republicans gained seven seats from the Democrats and one seat from a retiring independent, making the House's composition 67 Republicans, 32 Democrats, and 1 Independent.

Final Election Numbers:


GOP:  1,163,651 votes
Democrat:  818,950 votes
Margin:  344,701

GOP:  1,056,611
Democrat:  911,116
Margin:  116,495

GOP Senate:  743,336 votes
Democrat Senate:  536,104 votes
Margin:  207,232

GOP House of Delegates:  762,576 votes
Democrat House of Delegates:  438,174 votes
Margin:  324,402

Average (mean) GOP Margin of Victory (2009 - 2011) = 248,207

The Democrats would be wise to look somewhere else for their firewall.  The average margin of victory in the last 4 elections has been OVER 248,000 and twice has been over 320,000.  The real battleground Swing States in 2012 will be in the Midwest, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania (all of which went completely Republican in 2010).  Color Virginia Red.


R. Stanton Scott said...

This sounds good...until you dig a bit deeper. I'm not sure that Virginia General Assembly elections really support the case, since so many districts (especially House districts) are so non-competitive that Democratic turnout stays very low. And McDonnell's election depended on both a very bad Dem candidate and a very effective GOP effort to paint the very conservative McDonnell (see the thesis) as a moderate. If the only knock you have on polling that shows a purple Virginia is that polls can be fixed, but you offer no analysis of a particular poll showing it was, then you may want to dig a bit deeper.

The Bulletproof Monk said...

Mr. Scott...with all due consideration...and that ain't much....
I ama member and past Loudoun County 72 Hour/GOTV Chair for Bob McDonnell in 2009, I worked again as a District Co-Chair in 2010, and 2011.
Loudoun had the distinction of giving Bob McDonnell a 61% margin. It has been said that where Loudoun goes, so goes the Old Dominion.

I can tell you that all of your excuses are exactly that. "The democrats didn't show up."
Why not? Not energized? That'll bode poorly in a year.

Do you want to see analysis of fixed and oversampled polls? There are NUMEROUS examinations at

We're definitely going to hold the ground here in Loudoun. If we fail, the whole state may pay.