Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Battleground Reality of Virginia: Newly Registered Voters

The polls, depending on which you believe, seem to be all over the place regarding Virginia and the upcoming election. Whichever you tend to believe, there can be no doubt that Virginia is certainly one of the more interesting of the so-called "battleground" states from a media-hype perspective, but the reality on the ground may be quite different.

I say that after examining some data regarding Virginia and newly registered voters. As of last month, Virginia saw an increase of 285,000 newly registered voters enter the ranks of Virginia's voting class. Usually of course far few voters actually vote than are registered and in most States that number is around 30% who never show up at the polls, however, I think its safe to bet that these new voters will certainly vote.

Virginia had 4.8 million registered voters last election cycle, so the number of new voters does not appear as though it in reality will make that much of difference on balance given the numbers. That said, it must also be acknowledged that George Bush won Virginia in 2004 by 262,217 votes and many supporters of Barack Obama have pointed to that in hopes that these new voters in Virginia could help secure the electoral votes.

These voters will help, but I do not think they will be as significant as the current percentage of Bush supporters in 2004 that could be moving towards Obama. Many of these polling questions point to about 12% of people declaring themselves Republicans as leaning Obama. This I think is more significant.

But if you are of the persuasion that these newly registered voters are the key, you may be surprised that even with the new voters NOVA has only risen from 32.4% of the Virginia registered electorate to a present 32.8%.

The areas with siginificant new voter registration are predominately in NOVA where Kerry performed his best relative to other areas in 2004.

Area: New Registrations Kerry % 04

Loudon 31,798 44
Fairfax 25,002 54
Prince William 16,682 47
Chesterfield 14,923 37
Arlington 9,864 68
VA Beach 9,800 41
Chesapeake 9,408 43
Henrico 8,476 46
Spotsylvania 7,108 37
James City 6,358 39

Four of the top five localities of new registrations are in NOVA where Obama is strongly favored in the election, but the key areas will be Loudon and Prince William County. These localities will be "battleground" counties. Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria will deliver Obama roughly 60% of the vote rather easily, more if they reach the 80% solution that activists are hoping for in terms of turnout. Loudon and Prince William have pockets of GOP strength and lately on the local level in Prince William the immigration issue that has been carried by the local Board there could come into play with bringing out even more Republicans than people are estimating.

There certainly appears to be a culture war underway in Prince William that may impact this election. Since we do not declare a Party like some other states, its hard to know where these new voters will come down but looking at the map there is some significant numbers coming from areas where John Kerry pulled in less than 40% of the vote in 2004.

This could mean that the Democrats in those areas are finally be tapped or that Obama is bringing out more Republicans in these areas. Remember, we just do not know, but what we do know is these areas are fairly RED traditionally with about 65% turnout.

I will go out on a limb now.

I expect to get highly criticzed for this but I think the true "battleground" County in Virginia will be:

Henrico County

John Kerry won 46% of the vote in 2004 and there is a strong moderate contingent of voters in Henrico that lean Independent. Allen did not pull in the traditional GOP numbers either in Henrico in 2006. The County will have a only 8,500 new registrations but the moderate/independent vote is the key this time around.

It could get interesting, but how much up ballot support Eric Cantor(R)can give McCain/Palin is crucial here and the fact that he just voted in support of the bailout bill may not help with those on the fence. He will bring the social conservatives, but may not bring the fiscal conservatives from parts of Henrico that traditionally vote GOP.

Whichever candidate wins Henrico County, I venture to say wins Virginia.

Of the top ten localities listed above, it will most likely split 50/50 with Obama securing the upstate areas and McCain taking Chesterfield, VA beach, Spotsylvania, James City(close), Chesapeake. Prince William and Henrico County will be nailbiters for the campaigns but I think they both may just be leaning Obama today.


Anonymous said...

I would have thought that the numbers in the cities like Richmond, Norfolk and Petersburg would have made the list in terms of increases in new registrations. These areas seem to vote Democrat more times than not and it seems rather strange that the numbers would not at least break the 10,000 level, especially City of Richmond.

Lucks Lane said...

Prince William is ground zero for foreclosures in VA. It was such a growing market. The people who bought in late 2004 to 2007 are upside down with respect to their mortgage. There are foreclosure ridden neighborhoods. It is a different world than Chesterfield real estate now. Eight months ago I would have bet my 401(k) on McCain there. Not now although the 401(k) is not too impressive either.

I have always thought Prince William was the locality most like us and we should look some at their government.

FYI-I have seen somw troubled neighborhoods in Fauquier also. New homes that won't sell.

Anonymous said...

Bristow Station area up that way for sure still has alot of homes sitting but as for PWC is not so much a matter of foreclosures, but the manner in which those loans were accepted and whom they were given. There is a hugue culture war going on, rather unreported, between the Hispanic community and others regarding these foreclosures. Leaders up there are debating the impact of loans to illegal aliens and there is also some fights going on up there over removing Spainish use in schools and demanding English-only education in schools. This culture clash had quadrupled Board meeting attendence and it appears as though Republican leaders are taking the stand of these issues. The degree in which there will be backlash in terms of McCain will depend upon the number of new voters who are leaning Democrat, but there is a huge population of illegal immigrants or undocumented workers outside the Manassas area and parts of PWC. many of these illegals work in the larger Fairfax County area, but can ill afford to live in that County and reside in PWC, Manassas, and Manassas Park.
Last time I checked illegals cannot vote, but then you have an entrenched ACORN working in NOVA so anything is possible.

Jim said...

It makes sense given the historic nature of the County voting trends, especially in this election it could be the year when Henrico becomes the first suburban locality in the Metro Richmond area to go Democrat in a national election in a long while.

Joe Biden pulled out of a rally at JR Tucker and the Republicans held there own mini- rally across the street at its area HQ off Parham Road in Henrico. The issue will be the numbers brought to the polls in Eastern portion of the County towards Varina/Highland Springs which leans heavily Democratic.

Lucks lane said...

McCain needs to go the Fifth District or it will not be a Goode day.

Danville and Martinsville will be heavy Obama.

I am voting for Virgil (write in)but I don't think it will help him here.

Anonymous said...

Virgil Goode has his hands full with Tom Periello which is why he has not been out campaigning for McCain in earnest.

Usually by this time Goode has had his bids locked up, but this time his opposition may just have the right balance to make it tight.Faith based, pro-gun, Democrat for the first time challenging him.

Anonymous said...

McCain's people have run what has to be the worst strategy here in Virginia for any battleground state.

I understand that Virginia has gone the way of the GOP for the last forty years but he is in jeopardy of losing Virginia for two rather obvious reasons:

1. Failure to illustrate barack Obama and Joe Biden's coal policy and support for liberal global climate change agenda that would wean the nation off of any coal related resources from Appalachia. Look at Biden and the Clean Air Act which contributed to massive coal mining closures in late 80's. Thank Biden for that round and now you have Obama who is for it then against it then for it again to win votes in Southwest Virginia. Obama now advocates a clean coal rhetoric but based on his own advisors as to standards that would be implemented to use that level of standard could not be met by coal producers until further technological advancment. And by the way, no shale either in the energy policy nor the allowance for increased natural gas exploration.

2. Defense in the Eastern region of Virginia is bif business and a driver to the economy there as well as one of the largest industry employers. The military presence there is huge and with proposed cut backs in missile defense, naval ships and submarines, as well as personnel this spells trouble once again for the Hampton Roads/Newport News/Norfolk region. Obama plans for a trillion dollars in new spending are only possible if he manages with Congress to decrease the national defense authorizations and budget. This was done by Bill Clinton as well and we all know what happened to the shipbuilding and defense sector jobs there in the mid 1990's. This will be repeated in an Obama administration and result in further deteriorzation of our armored forces. Why were we unable to met the demands of deployments and face this new threat after 9/11? The cutbacks in training, systems, and enlistments under Clinton led to our forces being unprepared for the War on Terror.

We are living in a world where according to Obama it is the United States who has created the tensions in the world and an atmoshpere of mistrust and yet it is other nations like Iran, a resurging Russia whom have professed such intentions on the world stage. Are we really to believe that if Obama wins that these nations will simply stand down as Obama engages them diplomatically.

There is a fundamental difference here. One based in the reality of the threats and the other in the delusional world view or world test shown by Obama and previously Kerry.

The very bookends to Virginia is the Southwest region and the Eastern region which should be prime areas for a Mccain victory if the campaign were running the kind of intrastate campaign they should. Of course they will lose the Northern region; my god thats prime Government job country. There are obviously areas where McCain should be able to pick up votes there but he needs to focus on the areas where Obama is trying to hedge bets to pick up votes in areas Democrats do not usually.

The McCain camp has been letting Obama/Biden run all over Virginia with lofty and disingenious rhetoric contrary to the records and platform they have and have been allowed thus far to get away with it.

McCain should stop talking softly and pick up the big stick and swing it starting today.

Anonymous said...

They just started swinging that stick fellas.

Ayers and Wright back in the limelight.

Thomas said...

Henrico County?

Thats ballzy Alter!

Alter of Freedom said...


It look as if the total number of newly registered voters will top out just over 300,000 for Virginia for the upcoming election.

We should get the official numbers some time next week.

I want to thank anyone who got out and got the forms required into the hands of new residents in the area and made them aware of the process.

Many of these I met have informed me that they have received their cards from the Board already and are good to go. Chesterfield residents should re-verify their polling stations as some precincts have changed as a result of the issues during the Primary.

Regardless of whether you or your neighbor is a Republican or Democrat, please encourage all registered voters to get out and vote next month.

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