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Barack Obama won the support of the Commonwealth against John McCain in 2012 by about six percentage points. It completed the phase Virginia has gone through from being a strong red state to a reliably purple state. But it won’t happen again. Let me explain . . .
Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) recently stated that if the 2012 presidential election was held today, President Barack Obama would not be able to replicate his win in Virginia. He is right. There is more than enough votes to send give a republican the 4% of the vote necessary to take the Commonwealth.
In Virginia some things are predictable. Northern Virginia will always go democrat and south, central, and southwest Virginia will always go republican. The two factors that matter is what the counties between Richmond, D.C. and the coast do and how large Obama can win or how small he can lose everywhere else. That is what matters.
In 2008, Obama flipped some counties which was huge for him. But it was against a weak candidate with the political winds at his back. That will not happen again.
In Hampton Roads, Obama beat McCain by over 78,000 votes, but in 2004, Bush beat Kerry by almost 50,000 votes.
In Richmond and its surround counties, Obama beat McCain by almost 40,000 votes while Bush beat Kerry by almost 55,000 votes.
Furthermore, consider this. Obama as a strong candidate against a weak candidate won northern Virginia by 230,000 votes. But Bush, a strong candidate against a weak candidate only lost northern Virginia by only 70,000 votes. This time, Obama is the weak candidate going in against Rick Perry. A republican will lose northern Virginia, but not by hundreds of thousands of votes.
Obama also won Bush counties including Loudoun and Prince William, Henrico and Virginia Beach. These will all go Republican this time around.
Representative Connolly is right. He sees the writing on the wall. Obama is going to lose states like North Carolina and Virginia that he won easily in 2008. He is vulnerable and we can beat him.