Virginia Democratic Gov. elect Ralph Northam addresses supporters and at the Northam For Governor election night party at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Last night and today long-time RedState friend and political consultant Patrick Ruffini took a deep dive into voter data from yesterday’s election in Virginia and noticed some remarkable things. Unfortunately, he didn’t blog it, it was all in the form of tweets and I’ve grabbed the best ones (if you don’t follow Ruffini on Twitter you really should be).
These seem to be the takeaways. 2017 was 2016 but with better Democrat turnout when compared to the 2013 race. The high Democrat turnout was not everywhere. The higher Democrat surge was mostly in areas that went heavily for Clinton. GOP turnout was up, too, but not by enough to offset the Democrat turnout. Education was a strong predictor of voting for Northam. Minority voting was off substantially. The issues of concern to Northam voters were not the same issues motivated Gillespie voters. Well over half of Virginians wanted keep Confederate statues showing that particular culture-war issue is not a big motivator. There is no doubt that Trump was on the ballot. Contrary to his assertion that Gillespie lost because he refused to embrace the Trump agenda, in fact, Gillespie got something of a boost in Trump areas. What he couldn’t match was the crawl-over-broken-glass intensity in core Democrat areas.
Does this replicate to 2018? That’s a long way into the future but it is probably safe to say that it doesn’t. It appears that what last night reflected was a hardening of partisan lines. The roadkill were Republicans in districts that were closely matched or where there was a small Democrat advantage in registration.