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Saturday, November 16, 2013

In-Depth analysis of Virginia 2013 elections

CNN does have exit polls of elections every year.  Let's examine how the numbers worked out in the most contested elections, Virginia in 2009 and 2013, which is a critical battleground state and a good measure of how the political field really is.

CNN Virginia election 2009 exit polls
CNN Virginia election 2013 exit polls

CNN Virginia exit polls 2009

CNN Virginia exit polls 2013

The 2013 elections in Virginia included Independent candidate Robert Sarvis who won an impressive 7 percent of the vote, despite being an unknown person and running a campaign on a shoestring budget.  Polls indicate voters who voted for Sarvis showed no significant tendency to vote Democrat or Republican, or even vote at all, if Sarvis were not running.

Terry McAuliffe (D) reclaimed the women, minority, and young voters in 2013, which the Democratic candidate lost in 2009 and badly lost the election.  McAuliffe won the women vote by 9 points, and greatly narrowed his loss of the men vote by 3 points.  Blacks voted 90 percent Democrat as usual, but the percentage of Black voters who voted increased significantly from 16% in 2009 to 20% in 2013.  Finally, the young voters age 18 to 29 came out in greater numbers and voted Democrat.  Young voters made up 10% of voters who voted in 2009 and increased to 13% in 2013.

While this was an important victory for the Democrats, it came very close to the wire.  Removing direct contributions from outside groups, McAuliffe raised $28 million to Cuccinelli’s $11.7 million.  Despite the large amount McAuliffe raised, he only won the election by 2.5 points, about half of what many polls predicted.  If Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was facing McAuliffe in 2013, it would be very hard to tell if McAuliffe would have won.

The 2014 elections are coming up, fundraising and campaign strategies will be starting very soon.  So what do we have to learn from the 2013 elections to prepare for the 2014 elections and beyond?  2014 is a non-presidential race, but Congressional elections abound.  The Democrats have to focus on reaching out to the women, minority, and young voters, especially when minority and young voters usually drop off significantly.

McAuliffe successfully reached out to the Black voters, but he was not successful with the other minority groups.  Latino and Asian voters in Virginia were unusually low at 5% in 2009 and still 5% in 2013, and while both groups have grown, the percentages remain the same, meaning McAuliffe lost out on those voters.  Democrats have to reach out to Latinos, Asians, and every mixed and other race, such as creating voter registration drives to get them out to vote.  The percent of Latino and Asians eligible to vote but who actually vote is over 15 points lower than whites and blacks, so Democrats need to reach out and register.

While McAuliffe did significantly better with young voters in 2013, with young voters making up 13%, it was still significantly lower than the 18% to 19% young voters made up in the last two Presidential elections.  Also, young voters voted Democrat over 60% in the last two Presidential elections, but counting only the young voters who voted for McAuliffe or Cuccinelli in 2013, McAuliffe only won 53%.

The idea is simple but the work is hard, so the Democrats must start early and work hard to win the women, minority (of all races), and young voters.  Elections are constantly getting more expensive, with every statewide election, like state governor or U.S. Senate race, costing well over $10 million for each party running, so if you want to keep losing and keep burning money by the millions, make sure you follow the lies, misinformation, and dangerous stupidity of right-wing losers like Steve Sailer.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

2013 Election Analysis: Gender, Race, and Age

Terry McAuliffe has been elected the next governor of Virginia.  This is big win for the Democrats and shows the trends of Virginia.  It was a tough campaign in a purple state with a large number of rural conservatives.  Terry McAuliffe defeated Tea Party favorite Ken Cuccinelli by a moderate 2.5 percentage points, although polls were predicting McAuliffe would be ahead by 4 to 7 percentage points.

Nevertheless, a victory is a victory in politics, so how did the McAuliffe team win against such tough odds?  They won by learning from the mistakes of the 2009 elections, totally discarded the dead Sailer Strategy, and focused on winning over the successful and growing women, minority, and young voters.

Back in 2009, governor McDonnell (R) won the votes of white women by nearly 30 points.  That lead among white women was reduced to 16 points in 2013 for the Republican candidate.  And with Black, Latino, and unmarried women who strongly favor McAuliffe and coming out to vote in the 2013 elections in numbers similar to the 2012 Presidential elections, McAuliffe had a strong lead on the women vote.  Cuccinelli's hard line stance against womens' reproductive and overall rights, typical with far-right conservatives, sure was a big factor.

Winning the minority voters and getting them to come out to the voting polls is critical in winning elections.  In the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections, Black voters in Virginia made up 20 percent of voters who voted, and reliably voted over 90 percent Democrat.  The 2009 elections were a bad time for Democrats, as the failed Democratic candidate failed to win the Black voters, with unmotivated Black voters making up only 16 percent of voters who voted in 2009.  The McAuliffe campaign learned well and actively sought out to win the Black voters, who in turn made up 20 percent of voters who voted in 2013 and greatly helped McAuliffe win the Virginia governor election.

However, the Democrats did not do so well with the Latino or Asian voters, which explains why McAuliffe's lead of 2.5 points was smaller than expected (4 to 7 points lead predicted by the polls).  Latino and Asian voters are the fastest growing minority voters who voted over 70 percent Democrat in 2012.
Even though Latinos, who have grown four-fold since 1990 in Virginia, make up 8 percent of the population, they were just 4 percent of the electorate Tuesday, down from 5 percent in 2012. Asians make up 6 percent of the population, but were just 1 percent of Tuesday’s voters, down from 3 percent in 2012.

The McAuliffe team also realized the young voters age 18 to 29 are important for the Democrats to win elections in the present and future.  They actively campaigned for the young voters, campaigning in many colleges and college towns across Virginia.  Their efforts worked.
Among voters ages 18 to 29, McAuliffe beat Cuccinelli 45 percent to 39 percent. That marks a big change from the state's 2009 gubernatorial election, when young voters went for Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell over Democratic state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds by 54 to 44 percent. McDonnell won by a 17-point margin.
While the Democratic share of Virginia's youth vote increased by only a single percentage point since 2009, the Republican share fell over that same period by a whopping 15 percentage points.

There were tens of millions of dollars raised and spent by each side, Democrats and Republicans.  This surpasses the cost of an average U.S. Senate race.  Losing and election like this is no joking matter, so if you are ready to burn some $10 million or more, be sure to keep following the losing Sailer Strategy.