For whatever reason, election numbers broken out by congressional district are still not available on the State Board of Elections website. Fortunately, David Nir at Daily Kos has crunched the numbers himself and come up with preliminary estimates for Virginia. Those are the numbers I've used for this graphic. Also note that this graph is the Democratic candidate's performance in each district not in absolute terms, but relative to how President Obama did against Willard "Mitt" Romney in the district. Thus, if Obama won a district by 5 points, and the Democratic congressional candidate won it by 2 points, then the congressional candidate "underperformed" Obama by 3 points (5-2). It's really not that complicated, but I think it will become crystal clear as I explain the results by CD.
1st CD: President Obama lost this district to Willard by 8 points (53%-45%), while Democratic congressional challenger Adam Cook lost his race to Rep. Rob Wittman by 15 points (56%-41%). Thus, Cook "underperformed" Obama by 7 points. What happened? I'd point to almost total lack of name recognition for Cook, plus a dearth of financial resources to get his name and message out there, plus not much use of social media. Still, I like Adam Cook and think he could be a strong candidate in the future, assuming he addresses those issues.
2nd CD: Barack Obama carried this district a narrow (50%-49%) margin, but much-touted Democratic challenger Paul Hirschbiel ended up losing to Rep. Scott Rigell by 8 points (54%-46%), meaning that Hirschbiel underperformed Obama by 9 points. Why? I'm not sure that it was money, so much as not having a particularly strong or clear message, not focusing on the grassroots, and not using social media. Also, gotta give credit to freshman Rep. Rigell, who appears fairly well ensconsed in this seat for a while. :(
3rd CD: Rep. Bobby Scott romped, actually overperforming Obama's performance relative to Romney in this district. That's probably a combination of Scott's many strengths and a Republican opponent who had nothing particularly going for him (to be charitable).
4th CD: This is a fascinating district, held by an incumbent Republican Congressman (Randy Forbes), but in which Romney managed only a 50%-49% win over Obama. In contrast, Democratic congressional challenger Ella Ward lost the district by a whopping 14 points, thus underperforming Obama by a whopping 13 points. This seems like a district that we could, and should, do better in during future elections, but we'll need a strong (well funded, focused, talented, etc.) candidate for sure.
5th CD: President Obama lost this district by 7 points (53%-46%), while Democratic challenger Gen. John Douglass lost his race against Rep. Robert Hurt by 12 points (55%-43%). Thus, Douglass underperformed Obama by 5 points. I'd point to three main factors: first, Douglass started off completely unknown in the district; second, Douglass initially was running in the 10th CD, but after redistricting was (finally!) completed he ended up in the 5th, meaning he had a relatively late start; and lastly Douglass was outspent significantly by Hurt. Add all that up, and you get the result we see here - despite the fact that Douglass ran an energetic, in many ways impressive, campaign. Bummer.
Looking back at the 2011-2012 election cycle provides an opportunity for accountability - both positive and negative - for political analysts, candidates, campaigns, pundits, and pollsters. Over the next few weeks, I hope to get to the first four on that list. Today, though, I want to focus on the best and worst polls (and pollsters) of Virginia during 2011-2012. (source)
BEST VIRGINIA POLLS AND POLLSTERS OF THE CYCLE (Note: the actual results are available here - Obama 51%-Romney 47%; Kaine 53%-Allen 47%)
1. PPP's November 4 poll had Obama up 51%-47%, which turned out to be the exact results! PPP also had Tim Kaine up 52%-46%, which nailed the 6-point margin exactly. Very, very impressive!
2. JZ Analytics/Newsmax came close to nailing the final results as well, predicting Kaine by 7 points and Obama by 8 points in their final poll of the cycle. Not too shabby, especially when the poll was by the widely-mocked John Zogby, paired with the far-far-far-right-wing-loony Newsmax. Maybe they canceled each other's badness out and ended up with goodness? Heh.
3. The Washington Post's last poll of the cycle, about two weeks out, came close to nailing it as well: Obama 51%-Romney 47%; Kaine 51%-Allen 44%. Nice job!
4. Believe it or not, Rasmussen of all pollsters had Kaine up 7 points a few weeks out. The problem is, Rasmusssen had the race moving towards George Allen in the closing days, with their final poll showing Kaine up just 2 points, and the one before that showing Kaine up just 1 points. Meh.
5. A few other pollsters who did reasonably well in Virginia during this cycle were NBC/WSJ/Marist, Ipsos-Reuters, Quinnipiac/NYT/CBS, and Garin-Hart-Yang (D-DSCC). Nice job, everybody!
WORST VIRGINIA POLLS (AND POLLSTERS) OF THE CYCLE 1. The most hilariously, outrageously awful pollster of Virginia this cycle was, by far, Roanoke College. Starting off in March 2011, with a poll that can't even really be called "crap," because that's an insult to good fecal material everywhere, is this, this...thing, showing George Allen leading Tim Kaine by - wait for it - 13 points (!!!). Uh guys? Bwahahahahahahaha.
1a. Another truly abysmal Roanoke College poll came on October 31, 2012, just days before the election. In this debacle, Roanoke College had Kaine and Obama both down FIVE points in Virginia, meaning that they missed the final results a few days later by 9 and 11 points, respectively. Wow.
1b. Even more hilariously, that Roanoke College "poll" (using the word VERY loosely) came just a few weeks after another one of their "polls" showed Obama up 8 points and Kaine up 10 points. That's right, according to Roanoke College, there was a 15-point swing towards Romney and Allen in Virginia during October 2012. Seriously, just shut this "pollster" down and spare us all the misery. (Note: I thought about looking at Roanoke College "polls"' internals, but then I thought, why even bother, these polls are so awful it doesn't even matter what the internals are, might as well have just pulled them out of their butts for all they're worth...)
2. Republican hack "pollsters" Wenzel Strategies, Gravis Marketing, McLaughlin, and Pulse Opinion Research/Let Freedom Ring all had George Allen up (from 2 to 5 points) in the closing weeks of the 2012 campaign. Not even close, although not as abysmal as the beyond-laughable Roanoke College.
3. We Ask America had a bizarre poll back in June 2012 showing Allen up 9 points over Kaine. This one's a bit surprising, as Nate Silver rated We Ask America as fairly average. Not this poll, though, which was a major stinker.
Yesterday, I attended a post-election forum ("After Virginia Votes") held at GMU Law School in Arlington between George Allen senior advisor Boyd Marcus and Tim Kaine senior advisor Mo Elleithee. The discussion lasted about an hour, and covered the 2012 Kaine-Allen race, as well as some thoughts on 2013. A few points that jumped out at me from this segment of the discussion (note: I'm still uploading parts 1 and 3; this is actually part 2) are as follows. Note that it got pretty colorful at times, with Marcus slamming his own "team," broadly speaking, in language for more candid than we normally here from political consultants...
1. It's fascinating to me, and not in a good way, that Marcus STILL has no compunction about their wildly irresponsible, false, Big Lie, whatever you want to say, use of "sequestration" to attack Tim Kaine. The fact is, this was a bipartisan effort, supported by Republicans like Bob McDonnell, Eric Cantor, etc., and which Tim Kaine had absolutely NOTHING to do with. The alternative at the time, by the way, was for the U.S. to default on its national debt, which would have been utterly disastrous. Whether Boyd Marcus understands this or doesn't understand this, it really tells you a lot about the Allen campaign.
2. Marcus' whining about a supposed lack of money to run ads - largely attacking Tim Kaine - is just laughable. Basically, what he's doing is trying to deflect responsibility for his candidate's crushing loss from himself to Allen himself, for not raising enough money. Lame.
3. Marcus' whining about having to go through a Republican primary, against what was in reality a field of nobodys, is also laughable. Excuses, excuses (note: last I checked, Jim Webb went through a brutal primary in 2006, was absolutely broke at the end, and beat Allen anyway - hmmmmm.)
4. After all that, Marcus seems to claim that the ads didn't matter anyway, and that it all came down to "turnout." Huh?
5. Marcus claims the RNC 72-hour model for getting voters out "doesn't work." Marcus says there "was a lot of activity going on...[but] most of it was pretty worthless...not very well done." (note: this sounds to me like more blame-passing and excuses by Marcus)
See the "flip" for Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) slamming Romney for these "insulting" and "completely unhelpful" remarks. You know things are bad when even a right wingnut like Jindal thinks Republicans are being "the dumb party" and that the 2012 Republican nominee for president is hurting the party. Me, I'm just popping up some more popcorn and enjoying the show! :)
From the Kaine campaign...congratulations to my friend Mike Henry on being named Chief of Staff for Senator-elect Kaine. A well-deserved honor!
TIM KAINE ANNOUNCES MEMBERS OF U.S. SENATE TRANSITION TEAM
Richmond, VA - Today, Senator-elect Tim Kaine announced members of his transition team that will begin the process of establishing his U.S. Senate office.
Mike Henry, Chief of Staff: Mike Henry most recently served as the Campaign Manager for Kaine's campaign for U.S. Senate. Henry, a veteran of Virginia politics, previously managed Kaine's gubernatorial campaign in 2005 and U.S. Senator Mark Warner's 2008 campaign for Senate. Mike has also worked in a number of policy roles, serving as a representative conducting case work for former U.S. Senator Chuck Robb and, more recently, as the Senior Director for U.S. Field Operations at the ONE campaign where he focused on strategies to alleviate global poverty.
Jillian Martin, Transition Director: Jillian Martin most recently served as the Policy Director for Kaine's campaign for U.S. Senate. Martin has extensive experience on Capitol Hill, having previously served on the staffs of U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Robert Byrd, and U.S. Representative Dan Maffei.
Marc Cheatham, Transition Scheduler: Marc Cheatham most recently served as the Scheduling Director for Kaine's campaign for U.S. Senate. Cheatham is a long-time member of Senator-elect Kaine's staff, serving as his executive aide at the Democratic National Committee and as Director of Constituent Services and Senior Assistant to the Governor for Policy in Kaine's administration. Cheatham first began working for Kaine during Kaine's term as Lt. Governor after serving as a U.S. Marine Corps sergeant.
"I am thrilled this team has agreed to assist me as we set up a Senate office that will serve all Virginians. Their expertise will be invaluable during this process," said Kaine. "Mike has been a trusted member of my staff and advisor for years and I am excited he's agreed to continue to serve the Commonwealth in this new role. I am additionally grateful Jillian and Marc have stepped in to lend their expertise to ensure a seamless transition as we set up offices in Washington and Virginia."
Additional transition announcements will be made in the coming weeks.
No, it wasn't just that Willard was in the heat of a campaign, or that somehow his 47% remarks were taken out of context, or any other possible excuse you can think of. The fact is, the guy's an ignoramus, sociopath, and - as Kos puts it - "as big a dick as always." Check out Willard's latest, from a conference call earlier today with - who else - his big money people, explaining why, in his view, he lost the election (hint: it's not because his party's bat**** crazy, that he was a horrible candidate, that he managed to turn off just about every Latino in the country, etc.).
In a conference call on Wednesday afternoon with his national finance committee, Mr. Romney said that the president had followed the "old playbook" of wooing specific interest groups - "especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people," Mr. Romney explained - with targeted gifts and initiatives.
"In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups," Mr. Romney said.
"With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift," he said. "Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents' plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008."
The president's health care plan, he added, was also a useful tool in mobilizing African-American and Hispanic voters...
Note how Willard slices and dices America, blames everyone but himself for his failings (of which there are too many to count!), and basically demeans anyone who was too stupid (you know that's what he's thinking) to vote for him? Yes, Willard is as heinous as we all thought he was. Thank god he didn't win the election.
P.S. Meanwhile, of course, the fact is that the "red states" (and "red" counties within blue states) overwhelmingly are net recipients (aka, "takers") of largesse from the "blue states" (and "blue" counties/cities within red states), which are overwhelmingly net donors (aka, "makers"). Fascinating how that works, huh? Anyway, have fun seceding (more teapublican lunacy - shocker!) and forgoing all that money you guys get from places like Northern Virginia, all you Romney-supporting, dead-ender teahadists out there!
In August 2011, I wrote a blog post refuting Jon Huntsman's argument that America is a "center-right country." In fact, on issue after issue - abortion, energy, environment, food safety, guns, health policy, GLBT equality, taxes/deficit, corporate power, etc. - Americans when asked respond in ways that sure as heck don't sound "center-right." In fact, Americans want to keep their government retirement programs (Social Security, Medicare, etc.), want women to have the right to choose, want GLBT equality, want clean energy, want a healthy environment, want more controls on guns rather than fewer, want limits on the power of Wall Street and corporate power, on and on. In sum, based on their responses to polling questions, Americans are not only NOT center-right, they actually are quite progressive, even if they don't call themselves by that label (possibly because it's been absurdly, relentlessly demonized by the right).
Now, after the not-as-close-as-you-think reelection of Barack Obama - a cautious, centrist politician but with progressive instincts, just like the American people more broadly - in addition to Democratic successes in the House and Senate, not to mention passage of state initiatives in favor of gay marriage and marijuana legalization, it's even harder than ever to argue that this is a "center-right nation." In fact, as Vivian Paige correctly points out, that's nothing more than a myth. So why do Republicans maintain (narrow) control of the House of Representatives? The major reaons: partisan gerrymandering.
More great work by filmmakers Eric Byler and Annabel Park, this time an interview with Rob Johnson, the small business owner in Harrisonburg who witnessed a Republican political operative trashing completed voter forms prior to this year's elections.
Presenting live election returns as a sporting event makes for good television. At 9pm, Barack Obama & Mitt Romney are tied in the popular vote! The Virginia, Massachusetts and Montana Senate races are tied! Who will win? You have to stay tuned to find out!
But watching election returns minute-by-minute gives a biased view towards the states and even the precincts that count their votes early in the evening. Watching early totals presents a skewed presidential picture in any year, as California (6.2 million Obama votes) doesn't even close its polls until 11pm ET.
This year the problem was even more pronounced than usual as voters in Democratic precincts faced significantly longer lines than voters in GOP precincts. In 59 voting divisions in Philadelphia, Obama beat Romney 19,605 to 0. That meant Democratic precincts were likely to report results later - and in some cases hours later - than their counterparts in Republican areas. Races that seemed surprisingly close early on turned out to be the solid Democratic wins everyone but Fox viewers expected.
So how has what we know about the election changed since Tuesday night?
Does Nate Silver ever sleep, or even rest? Apparently not. Even after a grueling election season in which he (rightfully) became a superstar, and also somehow found time to write and promote a new book (The Signal and the Noise, which I'm currently reading), he's still hard at work. The latest example: this past Saturday night (as I said, he never rests), Silver posted his rankings of "the 90 polling firms that conducted at least one likely voter poll in the final three weeks of the campaign." You can see those on the "flip."
But first, here are Nate Silver's rankings of the "roughly two dozen polling firms that issued at least five surveys in the final three weeks of the campaign" (click on the image to "embiggen!"). As you can see, Gallup wasn't just bad, it was abysmally, disastrously off course - both inaccurate AND wildly biased (towards Republicans). Sadly for Gallup, this election cycle wasn't a fluke; as Nate Silver points out, this debacle makes "three poor elections in a row" for Gallup. So much for being a respected pollster anymore, at least by anyone who knows anything (e.g., not many pundits or much of the corporate media).
Other than Gallup, other godawful pollsters were - shocker - Rasmussen (both inaccurate and heavily Republican biased), Mason-Dixon (inaccurate and Republican biased), and American Research Group (ditto). The best pollsters, interestingly, were ones that much of the "mainstream" media (e.g., the Washington Post, whose own polling unit was mediocre at best) disdain, such as internet pollsters Google Consumer Surveys, RAND Corporation, Ipsos/Reuters, and Angus Reid. Also doing very well were live phone (including cell) pollsters IBD/TIPP, Mellman, CNN/Opinion Research, Quinnipiac, and Marist. Robodialer PPP, which for whatever reason the "mainstream media" insists on calling a "Democratic" firm (do they identify Rasmussen as wildly biased towards Republicans?), turned out to actually have a 1.6-point Republican bias. Pretty funny. Anyway, check out the list of pollsters with a minimum of 5 polls in the last 21 days of the election, and when you're done, head to the "flip" for the longer list, and a few more comments by yours truly (including on the utterly abysmal, laughable, Roanoke College polling unit).
Yet another glimpse into the impenetrability of the right-wing world of illusion: anything --even a wholesale rejection of most of America-- is preferable to having to change one's deluded belief system.
The beliefs in question concern President Obama. But more fundamentally they concern a completely false picture of the nature of the moral choices to be decided through the American political system. This distorted picture serves very well the interests of Big Money in America: they're entitled to all they can get, and anything that calls that into question must be denigrated as the grasping of losers for what they don't deserve.
Here are some passages from Eric Boehler, on put it in the blog post on Media Matters, about the attack on the electorate elicited from the right from the failure of the voters to ratify what the right wing has been spewing about President Obama for the past four years:
During Obama's entire first term they depicted him as a business-hating, class warfare socialist who despises the American way of life.
But if that's true, why did Obama just score his second electoral landslide in four years?
It's so funny to watch this stuff now (it actually was then too, but it's much funnier now). Heck, even at the time, there was absolutely ZERO evidence of "major momentum" for Republicans in Virginia, as "Virginia Victory 2012" chairman Pete Snyder (note: believe it or not, this guy's been talked about as a possible Republican LG candidate in 2013!) claims. It's also hilarious to listen to Snyder on how the first debate supposedly caused a "seismic shift" in the election (because Romney was sooooo awesome at that debate, and Obama was soooo horrible, blah blah blah), but when people saw Romney unfiltered by the "liberal media," they just swooned! LOL. I mean, seriously, how much are they paying Pete Snyder to just say whatever crap they tell him to say? Hopefully a lot!
As if all that's not pathetic enough, Snyder - trained under the wing of one of the worst liars in the country, Frank Luntz, natch - proceeds to repeat a few of the pants-on-fire big lies that Republicans loved to trot out in the 2012 campaign, about Democrats supposedly decimating the military, the juvenile/mindless "teleprompter" attack, etc, etc. Again, how does Snyder spew this crap with a straight face, about how Bob McDonnell's been such a great success as governor, with "approval ratings soaring through the roof" (huh?!? based on what evidence?!?). Wow.
Beyond Pete Snyder being a lying liar, the broader point here is that this is the Republican echo chamber in a nutshell. Of course, the video above is from Faux "News," which had Romney supporters so delusional come election day, they truly believed they were going to win, that Pennsylvania was in play (on another show, Snyder actually said that too - lol!!!), that the polls were all skewed, that the liberal media was biasing everything, that hordes of conservative Christians would come marching forth to save the day, etc.
Of course, none of that happened, and instead President Obama won reelection easily (a "landslide" by Republicans' own standards), while Democrats actually GAINED seats in the Senate and the House. So how does all this delusion and utter disconnect from reality (just like they don't "believe" in climate science) serve Republicans, exactly? Not well, that's for sure. But hey, if they want to keep living in la-la-land, wasting hundreds of millions of the Koch brothers/Sheldon Adelsons' money, etc., more power to 'em I suppose.
P.S. One possible consequence of sane Republicans finally waking up from la-la land is a possible GOP civil war. We can only hope...
Possibly the first rational thing Bill Kristol's said in a long while, but it's good to see this arch conservative coming at least a LITTLE bit to his senses. Now, if he could just talk some sense into the dead-enders at the Club for Growth, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. Also, I'd point out that Kristol's not conceding much at this point, given that if Congress doesn't act, all the Bush tax cuts - and other tax cuts as well - will expire at the end of the year, meaning that President Obama and the Democrats basically hold all the "cards" at this point. Plus, Republicans just got walloped big time this past Tuesday. Heck, even John Boehner is telling the GOP that (the NY Times paraphrases) "[t]heir party lost, badly...and while Republicans would still control the House and would continue to staunchly oppose tax rate increases as Congress grapples with the impending fiscal battle, they had to avoid the nasty showdowns that marked so much of the last two years." So, bottom line: it's time to cut a deal, aka "compromise," for the good of the country, and stop acting like "my way or the highway" partisan absolutists for a change. Sort of the way things were for most of this country's history. Radical concept, huh? :)
A full transcript of President Obama's remarks is on the "flip." The bottom line? We need to pay down the deficit in a balanced way; "we can't just cut our way to prosperity;" we should lock in middle class tax cuts now; those making more than $250,000 per year need to pay more. In other words, we're talking about everything we just had an election about, and what the majority of Americans voted for...
A brand new analysis of spending by outside groups in the 2012 election cycle would be hilarious if it weren't so...actually, it IS hilarious! :) Below is a ranking, from most to least effective (the percentage is the amount of money spent that actually led to the desired result), of major groups' "return on investment" - ROI - for their spending during this campaign season).
As you skim through this and look at the color scheme, I think you'll quickly notice a pattern: the pro-Republican outside groups had a generally abysmal ROI, including just 1.29% for supposed "genius"/"Bush's brain" Karl Rove's American Crossroads group, and an even worse 0.81% ROI for the NRA Political Victory Fund. In stark contrast, progressive, pro-Democratic, pro-women, and pro-environment groups generally had excellent ROIs, including around 98% for Planned Parenthood, 78% for the LCV, 74%/84% for SEIU, etc. On the "flip," I'll throw out a few ideas why this disparity might be the case, but first here are the raw numbers.
Planned Parenthood Votes: 98.58%
Planned Parenthood Action Fund: 97.82%
Majority PAC (goal: "Protect the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate"): 87.86%
SEIU Committee on Political Education: 73.99%
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC): 79.73%
League of Conservation Voters (LCV): 78.17%
Worker's Voice: 76.14%
Women Vote!: 73.16%
Our friends Annabel Park and Eric Byler are up to no good LOTS of good again! :)
Shocking New Footage of the Polling Place Ordeal of the most African-American District in Virginia's Prince William County
Video is part of new Web Series and Documentary Examining the Deep Divisions in the American Electorate: "Story of America: A Nation Divided"
Washington, DC - Producers of a new web series called "Story of America: A Nation Divided" released today shocking new polling place footage from River Oaks Precinct, the most African American precinct in Virginia's Prince William County. Filmed in the waning hours of the 2012 Presidential election on November 6, 2012 at Potomac Middle School, the video captures footage and commentary from voters who spent hours in lines with the last vote coming in at 10:45pm, nearly four hours after the polls officially closed.
According to Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi, Virginia law requires that one voting machine be assigned per 750 registered voters. By contrast, Maryland law requires one voting machine per 200 registered voters. This polling place did not appear to adhere to Virginia's law, with only six voting machines and over 5,000 registered voters.
Here are a few winners and losers (note: this list is FAR from comprehensive, and was put together on little sleep, so take it for what it's worth - probably not much!) from this (endless) election cycle that I think are worth highlighting. I'm not going to dwell much on the obvious winners (Obama, Kaine, Virginia incumbent Congressmen) and losers (Romney, Allen, Virginia congressional challengers), but instead pick out other things that sprung to my mind. Enjoy (or not)! :)
Winners 1. Nate Silver/538 Despite all the attacks on him by pundits jealous they don't have 1% the brainpower he does, as well as by Republicans frustrated that the math simply wasn't adding up their way, no matter how desperately they tried to "unskew" it, Silver appears to have predicted ever state correctly, pending results in Florida. That means Nate has now nailed 2008, 2010 and 2012. Any further doubters, other than the delusional?
2. The Kaine campaign (Mike Henry, Mo Elleithee, Brandi Hoffine, etc.): Mike and Mo had a rough 2008 (Hillary Clinton for President) and 2009 (Terry McAuliffe, Steve Shannon, Creigh Deeds), but bounced back strong this year with an impressive campaign against George Allen. The basic lesson here: when it comes to running general election races in Virginia, Mike Henry and Mo Elleithee (this year, add Kaine campaign Communications Director Brandi Hoffine to the mix) are pretty much the gold standard. Congratulations!
3. Federal employees Would have faced grave threats to their job security, benefits, you name it under a Romney/Ryan administration. Now, it's not as if happy days are here again, but they certainly dodged that deadly bullet.
4. Virginia voters: Showed up in huge numbers, stayed in line for however long it took, showed what democracy is all about. Now, let's do it next year and make sure that Ken Cuccinelli does NOT become our next governor (god forbid)!
5. Loudoun County and Prince William County Democrats: Great work carrying these crucial, swing counties for Obama and Kaine! Prince William was particularly impressive, with Obama winning 57%-42% there. Nice!
6. Latino Americans. Related to that last point, about Loudoun and Prince William Counties, is the rapidly growing clout of Latino Americans. That clout was certainly demonstrated yesterday in Virginia, as well as across the country, as Latino voters broke heavily for Democrats, and also helped propel Maryland's DREAM Act to victory. Si, se puede!
7. African Americans Despite attempts by Republicans to suppress their vote, including by cutting down on early voting and making them wait in line for 5, 6, 7 hours, African Americans showed true grit and determination to NOT be intimidated by the bullies, staying in line as long as it took and making their voices heard. Impressive!
8. Clean energy and the environment A Republican victory would have been disastrous for clean energy and the environment. Not that it will be nirvana under Democrats, but remember that President Obama invested more money in wind, solar, energy efficiency, and other clean energy sources than this country's ever invested before. That needs to continue over the second 4-year term and beyond, as we move from dirty energy to a sustainable, clean energy-powered economy that works for everyone.
9. Congressional Redistricting. As much as I hate to say it, Congressional redistricting was effective, both here in Virginia (where every incumbent won easily) and across the country (where Democratic gains were minimized). Sad, but until we get nonpartisan redistricting instead of "incumbent protection," this is going to keep happening.
10. Earned media. Proved to be far more effective than paid media, in my view, with the big stories "moving numbers" including the Democratic convention, the 47% video, the first presidential debate, and Hurricane Sandy. None of those had anything, really, to do with paid TV advertising.
So, I'm going to be live blogging Virginia's election returns as they come in. Among other things, I'll be focusing on localities that came close to matching the overall Virginia results in 2008 (which were 52.62%-46.33% Obama): places like Winchester (52.02% Obama in '08), Loudoun County (53.66% Obama in '08), Montgomery County (51.73% Obama in '08), and Nelson County (53.98% in '08). I'll also be looking at specific precincts that came close to matching their locality's overall results in '08. Finally, I'll be looking at turnouts and margins compared to '08 to try to get an idea how Virginia will go tonight. Stay tuned...
UPDATE 11:22 pm: Barack Obama has now taken the lead in the State Board of Elections count, and that will only grow given where the outstanding votes are remaining (BLUE areas!). YES!!!! :)
UPDATE 10:54 pm: George Allen is now conceding to Tim Kaine on TV. Also, @PeterHambyCNN has called VA for Obama.
UPDATE 10:52 pm: Ben has called Virginia for Obama, and I agree, having crunched the numbers myself. With all the votes in NOVA still out, plus Norfolk and Portsmouth, plus lots of people still waiting in line to vote, and with Obama within 21,000 votes, I agree with Ben -- Obama's going to win Virginia and with it the White House! :)
We knew this race wouldn't be easy, but thanks to your hard work -- by donating, phone banking and canvassing -- we have been able run one of the most competitive congressional campaigns in our country.
When I head to the polls today, I know who else I'm voting for -- Barack Obama and Tim Kaine. More importantly, I know what I'm voting for. I'm voting to help every Virginian get a chance to learn and work, turn a job into a career, provide for a family and save for retirement. That's the dream we share, which keeps us working harder and harder for more security and more opportunity, so that we, as fellow Americans, continue leading the world.
So I have a feeling that today will be a great day for America and Virginia, as long as we get out every vote. Then we'll have time to celebrate and get some rest, before we continue our work to help Virginia families get a fair chance at a better future.
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