ICYMI: A changing electorate in the Old Dominion?

My latest op-ed, title above, appeared in The Virginian-Pilot Thursday, prompted by  the release of a second CNU poll in as many weeks.

PollsCNU has been releasing its poll data over two days, with the horse race numbers the first day – and, of course, every body loves a race – and more detail on the second. For me, the second day releases have been more informative. This one (pdf) was no exception.

My reading of the data suggests that Virginia’s off-year electorate may very well be looking more like that of federal election years. At the very least, this 2013 electorate appears to be headed that way. One election doesn’t make a trend – we’ll have to see what 2015 looks like – but if the election were held today, the electorate would look far different from that of 2009.

I didn’t think it was possible for Virginia to move so far so fast. In fact, I thought that Virginia’s tradition of electing a governor from the party opposite that of the president would hold. While I expect a tightening of the race – and for a  majority of Sarvis supporters to cast their ballots for someone other than Sarvis – it appears that tradition will be broken. This poll gives us a window into the minds of the voters. As I wrote:

Those surveyed support the expansion of Medicaid, repeal of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and oppose using vouchers to provide public money for religious schools.

Further, they support a cap on gifts to public officials and taking redistricting out of the hands of the General Assembly.

Voters support candidates whose support of issues matches up with their own. It is no wonder, then, that McAuliffe is ahead.

I’m more excited, though, about what this could mean down the road. Could Virginia really be moving towards being – at every level – a purple state?

I could live with that 😉

My column appears in The Virginian-Pilot every week, usually on Thursdays. You can see the columns as they are published here, or navigate to them from the PilotOnline.com homepage by clicking on Opinion and then choosing my name at the bottom of the dropdown list. You can also see the columns by liking my Facebook page. Although my column appears weekly, I am not and have never been an employee of The Virginian-Pilot.





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