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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Virginia Is for Lovers

posted by on October 9 at 18:18 PM

The average of eight polls indicates Obama is now leading McCain by 5.1 percent in Virginia. Considered in spring a solid red state, and then in summer a toss-up state, Virginia’s electorate now leans blue, pushing Obama’s numbers on the electoral map over the 270 votes required to win. Those supposedly crucial swing states, Ohio and Florida, may not even matter.


I have a hard time swallowing the idea that Virginia could turn for Obama, but Virginia is for lovers, and swallowing is one way of saying I love you. Polls only say so much, particularly considering the wild card of voters getting pushed off the rolls, but the apparent trend in Virginia isn’t just a polling anomaly:

For the last 10 presidential elections, Republicans have been able to bank on Virginia delivering its 13 electoral votes to the GOP. President Bush won Virginia by 8 percentage points in both 2000 and 2004, and President Bill Clinton was never able to capture the state when he ran in 1992 and 1996.

But the explosive growth of Northern Virginia in the last decade has changed the state’s electorate. Drawn by government jobs in nearby Washington and high-tech jobs in the Dulles corridor, the growing population in Northern Virginia is more liberal than the mostly rural southern portion of the state, which has remained reliably Republican.

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I figured it out.

There's a quantum entanglement between Obama electoral votes and the DOW points.

Citizens, keep supporting Obama and you'll drive the market into the bedrock!

Posted by John Bailo | October 9, 2008 6:20 PM

wait, wait! what the fuck is this washington "leaning" blue shit on this map?! i am voting absentee in WA from new york, so pardon my apparent ignorance. leaning? leaning?!?!

Posted by buffalo | October 9, 2008 6:34 PM

I see #2 and raise you a WTF for Washington state. We should be a solid blue.

Posted by Simon | October 9, 2008 6:40 PM

I've read that Florida is pretty much leaning Obama as well. The polls average out giving Obama a 4 point lead or something. Ohio is slightly Obama as well but well within the margin of error.

@ buffalo: you have to remember that although King County is a very blue county, almost the entire rest of the state is voting McCain (probably) so that's why the whole state is only "leaning Obama"

Posted by Craig | October 9, 2008 6:42 PM

#2, most of WA should be renamed "West Idaho"

Posted by jrrrl | October 9, 2008 6:44 PM

I love the color chart.

Forget the information provided by pie charts and graphs for a moment please....

or whom is in dis-proportion to who-it or war-it or bore-it...

All I see is focus royal blue...

sky ties...

fire trucks glowing in bright red...

granite colored peaks....

and the reminders of

"iiinnter-esssting co-tabgalelaments and woooords of the worthiers......."

yes a juxtapositioning of collected....

coter-r(ius)keys squared + -ie -tripled...


that's it... a clearly present referance to a world of "drowsy" soporific experiences... almost thankfully... redundant.

And why might add..

"For there not far from what once was,

'used by the ancients as a love potion';

a second... to wish upon....

the upper line of the lip on cupid's bow.

Random housed thoughts on poetic clearings in the liner notes...2nd edition.

R.S./issue1063:M.T. thankyou dk.

p.s. backup 11, nextdown 17: blue succory.

Posted by d.b.kieneker | October 9, 2008 6:47 PM

@4, I believe it was King, Pierce, Snohomish and JEFFERSON, counties that went blue in 2004. All those hippies in Port Townsend make the difference. There should be an old map somewhere showing the 2004 election map.

Posted by StC | October 9, 2008 6:52 PM

#4, king county "only" went 65% for Kerry. Seattle is dark blue but the eastside is as purple as any random suburb in America. The West Idaho border is lake washington.

Posted by jrrrl | October 9, 2008 6:55 PM

Real Clear Politics is getting spanked by, the polling site founded by brilliant baseball statistician Nate Silver. See his posts on RCP's unclear, potentially biased poll weightings here:

Posted by Eric F | October 9, 2008 7:02 PM

"but Virginia is for lovers, and swallowing is one way of saying I love you"

oh, lord. i just peed a little in my mouth.

Posted by adrian! | October 9, 2008 7:34 PM

I'm using this map as a salve to my frayed nerves. Thanks, Dom.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | October 9, 2008 7:51 PM

adrian! - indeed. i read that line, and realized that somewhere in heaven, a baby cherub was smiling.

Posted by Scotto | October 9, 2008 8:12 PM

Man! My ass is still bleeding. Do you think I should see a doctor.

Posted by John Bailo | October 9, 2008 8:17 PM


Damn straight. Nate Fucking Silver fucking fucked baseball. He fucking fucked it like it had never been fucked before and it will fucking stay fucked. Baseball is as exciting as tic tac toe after Nate Silver.

And FiveThirtyEight knows WA is 97% certain to go the right way -- not some pussy shit "leeeeeans Obama." Please.

Electoral votes? Obama 347.6, McCain 190.4.

Posted by elenchos | October 9, 2008 8:22 PM

Yes, "Virginia is for lovers".

For reference, please see the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Loving v Virginia, in which interracial marriage was made universally legal.

Posted by simon | October 9, 2008 8:58 PM

We won't support spine-less NO-Bama and will re-defeat him next month !!! Go Hillary 2012 !!!

Posted by clintonsarmy | October 9, 2008 9:04 PM

Dominic, read the recent New Yorker article on Virginia, Jim Webb, and Obama.
Eastern Virginia is pretty cosmopolitan (mostly DC suburbs), and open to liberal government. As for the rural western part of the state, their politics are solidly Democratic when it comes to economics. Republicans have won there simply because they've managed to exploit values issues like gay marriage, flag burning, gun rights.

Let go of those issues, and the state turns all blue.

Posted by Sean | October 9, 2008 9:15 PM

From U.S. News and World Report:

I think it would be an absolute cheap shot to blame the falling stock market on Wall Street's sudden realization that Barack Obama will very likely be the 44th president of the United States. But is fear of a potential Obama presidency playing any role at all in the weakness? How many investors, I wonder, buy into the theory of economist Peter Morici, hardly a conservative mouthpiece, who says, "Obama's tax and redistribute policies will not resurrect jobs, wages, or the price of stocks in American retirement accounts. Ordinary Americans who have to earn their livings outside the cosseted confines of Wall Street will be not much better off two years from now. In fact, Obama's policies may make economic conditions worse."

Somthing to think about.

Posted by raindrop | October 9, 2008 9:55 PM

I was born in DC and was raised in Northern Virginia. When I attended university in Richmond in 1974, I was asked by a prof where I was from I answered "Northern Virginia." He said, "Suh, there is no nawth to Virginia . . . it is uppah Virginia." Not a lot has really changed.

Virginia state law states: "A civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage is prohibited. Any such civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created thereby shall be void and unenforceable.”

The constitution of Virginia states: "This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."

Not just no to marriage but no to any contracts between adults, formulated in other states that might have any semblance of a relation remotely like marriage: VOID. When I go to visit my parents in Northern Virginia, I stay the least amount of time possible because if I fall ill or die, my partner of 20 years with whom I have contractual agreements (medical power of attorney, etc.) in Washington State has no such rights in Virginia.

Go blue, but it's still a despicable part of the country. I *hope* that things change. I'm not optimistic.

Posted by stephen | October 9, 2008 9:59 PM

Oh yeah, raindrop, right-wing economic policies have always been totally awesome for "economic conditions." Trickle-down = bullshit. Give money to the super rich, they fucking keep it or buy a yacht. What happens when CEOs get spooked? LAY-OFFS. No "I better do my part and stimulate the economy by creating some more jobs!" That's just the theory. We all know the practice.

My family was on food stamps during the Reagan years. I made millions during the Clinton years. It all vanished in the Bush years.

My absentee ballot can't come soon enough. I'm almost out of downers. Wake me up for the landslide.

Posted by threnody | October 9, 2008 10:14 PM

Thanks, @9! I hate looking at polls that don't have all the numbers, and ever since that statistics course I want to see ALL of them. That site's fantastic!

Posted by wench | October 9, 2008 10:15 PM

They reach into your room
Just feel their gentle touch
When all hope is gone
Polls only say so much...

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | October 9, 2008 10:29 PM

Ehh, I've been looking at the polling data and the the numbers are too close (and the margin of error too large) for me to actually believe that the data is supporting what everyone is claiming it supports. Unless there is polling data that I have missed!

Posted by scotlanded | October 9, 2008 10:34 PM

northern virginia is totally different from the rest of the state, having lived in a few locations but growing up til i was 17 in nova, 7 miles outside dc, i feel like i can say this. it is the largest concentration of population in all of virginia, and the dc metro area is largest concentration of educated people in country, and its influence has been growing. i stayed registered in virginia though i live in new york now in hopes of making a difference in this election, and i'm excited that likeminded virginians are coming out of the woodwork.

Posted by tobes | October 9, 2008 10:37 PM

Another Nova/DC expat. I fled there the moment I graduated high school. I still have family there, however, so go back at least once a year and am flippin' amazed at the transformation.

Places like Reston and Falls Church, which were once tiny little liberal islands now have become the norm.

Hell even redneck havens like Herndon, Centreville and Manassas have gone blue (not to mention far less white than they used to be).

I have hope for VA.

Posted by gnossos | October 9, 2008 11:22 PM

I obsessively look at about a half dozen electoral college maps every day. This is the most conservative leaning one. All of the others put most of these Toss Up states as leaning Obama, and predict Obama taking well over 300 Electoral College votes. And the numbers have been steadily and consistently moving toward Obama for a solid month now. I'm actually beginning to unclench a little.

I suppose the good news it that if even this most conservative-leaning data analysis indicates Obama clearly winning, things are not looking good for McCain.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | October 9, 2008 11:38 PM

Theres one problem with Virginia looking blue. These polls probably don't take into the fact that Liberty University has gotten almost all of their students to register to vote in Virginia AND they're cancelling classes that day in order to make sure the most students get out and vote. Oh and Liberty University has about 10,000 students.

Posted by Andy | October 10, 2008 6:05 AM

And then you have growing liberal pockets in Central Virginia like Charlottesville, home to UVA. It's also a destination spot for New Yorkers and such.

Obama came through Charlottesville (pop 40,000-ish), as did Clinton. Michelle was just there. I think along with the shift in NoVa during the last 10 years has come a growth of cities and towns like Charlottesville and Richmond, swing the middle of the state harder to the left.

Don't get me wrong. You drive five minutes out of town and it's God's Country, assuming that God drives a truck with a gunrack while doing Meth and listening to Kenney Chesney or whoeverthefuck.

Posted by sw | October 10, 2008 7:01 AM

maybe surprising, but probably true. has been predicting this awhile now, and our neighborhood in harrisonburg, va (conservative city, county, shenandoah valley, etc) is prickling w/ obama signs...
but remember, virginia may be for lovers, but it's not for sodomites!

Posted by the state | October 10, 2008 7:39 AM

Next time Slog does a Freaky Friday, can you make sure that d.b.kieneker is one of the chosen? Pretty Please?

Posted by NaFun | October 10, 2008 7:46 AM

I am so happy that my vote will count this year! The Northern Virginia explantion had been great for blueing up the state. Two Democratic Governors in a row (we have to replace them every four years due to our constitution) and one Democratic Senator has made the Democratic Party Hopeful. Of course, some horrible constitutional have gone through too! Blah.

Posted by clearlyhere | October 10, 2008 8:02 AM

Good call, one correction though, population of Charlottesville is 40K, the greater Charlottesville area is over 130K. More than just Charlottesville residents came out to see team Obama. Albemarle County, surrounding Charlottesville, is looking more blue everyday (population 90K+).

The same effort that Liberty is putting on can happen in the opposite direction at UVA. The history of UVA being conservative has changed. Lots of students are voting in VA and come from northern states that have always been blue.

Posted by C'Ville | October 10, 2008 9:52 AM

Oh and @28 again...Albemarle is 5 minutes out of Charlottesville, Meth is hardly a problem, unless wine drinking, manor owning, horse riding people are now doing meth. And they aren't all repubs, like I said, LOTS of northern transplants. Sorry to dash your image of country bumpkins.

I know because I live 15 minutes outside of Charlottesville, just not with a horse nor manor. It's not a backwoods hell hole everywhere there isn't a city in VA.

Posted by C'Ville | October 10, 2008 9:58 AM

I'm excited: I escaped from Alabama and moved to Northern Virginia just in time. Even though the news has mostly focused on NoVA and the communities around DC, some of the polling I've seen lately has Obama ahead even in the rural areas of VA!

Posted by ObliviousScout | October 10, 2008 12:04 PM

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