Home 2014 Races NY Times analysis: Virginia turnout dropped most in Democratic areas

NY Times analysis: Virginia turnout dropped most in Democratic areas


According to an analysis by the New York Times: “Some weak Democratic performances in the midterm elections Tuesday are hard to explain. Virginia is not.” So what happened in Virginia? Simple: turnout was way down, with the largest declines “in Democratic-leaning areas” (while “[t]urnout in Republican-leaning areas in Virginia was at levels fairly typical for a competitive midterm election”). Why? In large part, because Warner et al. assumed he had this one in the bag, therefore:

In 2012, Democrats mounted significant mobilization and campaigning efforts in Virginia. They didn’t in 2014. The surprisingly close race highlights why they’re needed.

You know the rest of the story…

  • hrprogressive

    Virginia Democrats took Democratic and D-Leaning voters for granted, and they wound up staying home and not voting.

    Who. Could’ve. Known?

  • AnonymousIsAWoman

    It didn’t help that the most populous of our strongholds, the 8th and 11th districts, really weren’t competitive. Nobody thought Don Beyer or Gerry Connolly was in trouble and nobody dreamed Ed Gillespie would make it that competitive statewide. After all, in September, Warner still had double digit leads. Even in October he was in the high single digits.

    So, yes, complacency and a false sense of security were demotivating factors. But so is the fact that Warner doesn’t motivate the base. His radical centrist shtick is played out.

    I suspect if Democratic voters thought it was a closer race, they would have roused themselves to go out and vote for him even if they weren’t particularly enthusiastic. And it would not have been as close then.

    But there was no way he was going to keep the rural areas downstate that are solidly red. Ed Gillespie was a good candidate who ran a focused, disciplined race. He made no mistakes and didn’t say anything stupid about women and rape in the same sentence. There was no reason for moderately conservative Republicans to cross over to vote for Mark as they had in the past. Which meant he needed a bigger than usual turnout in the blue areas of the state.

    I think he will need to adjust his strategy and perhaps some of his policy if he doesn’t want more nail biters. But since he runs again in 2020, a presidential year, he will probably do better then. He won’t be at the top of the ticket, more voters will come out, and it will be a competitive year. All that works to his advantage, where low turnout years no longer do.

  • svip

    I talked about this last year quite a bit on DK, but state Democrats have given me absolutely no reason to vote for them over the last few years.

    I live in far SWVA. Undeniably it is heavy Republican territory. To an extent, I can understand why Democrats have given up on the area. Low population, and heavily Republican.

    But in pockets of SWVA, there are still those old union coal miners and their families who absolutely detest Republican politics. There are votes.

    But in these last two cycles, these state Democrats (Warner and McAuliffe have shown absolutely no concern to this area in an attempt to visit or GOTV.

    Numerous times I’ve contacted both campaigns to organize something, anything, to show voters in this area that they are not forgotten. I only get “we will get back to you”, or something of the sort.

    I’m old enough to remember when Mark Warner started out in state politics. How he combed SWVA, getting to know voters personally, and was beloved by Democrats AND Republicans in this area for making so much of an effort.

    Now? He’s a ghost.

    I’ve said it before – Democrats need to realize the state line doesn’t end around Roanoke or Blacksburg.