A record number of Virginia voters voted in Tuesday’s election, giving Democrats a strong rebuke and offering Republicans a preview of the road back to power before next year’s midterm elections.
Those voters chose Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin (R), a former Carlyle Group CEO who alternately positioned himself as a non-threatening suburban parent or an angry culture warrior, over former Governor Terry McAuliffe (D), who tried to paint his rival like Donald trumpDonald Trump Republicans are poised to sweep Virginia, wowing Democrats Five takeaways from a bleak night for Democrats New Jersey’s gubernatorial race is too close to call for MOREclone.
The election showed that even amid the partisan polarization that has divided the nation, there are still many voters who are willing to switch between the two main political parties. The death of the undecided voter, Virginia showed, has been greatly exaggerated.
Both Democrats and Republicans mobilized their voters. More than 3.3 million Virginians turned out to vote, either early or on Election Day, a surprisingly strong turnout for a different year’s election. Youngkin, who was running for public office for the first time, garnered more votes than any of the 74 governors who preceded him. McAuliffe won more than half a million more votes than in the 2013 race he won.
But Youngkin’s victory shows that there are many voters willing to switch between the two major parties and that, even in an age of polarized politics, persuasion matters as much as mobilization.
Tuesday’s results will have a thousand parents: President BidenJoe Biden Five Takeaways from a Bleak Night for Democrats Youngkin Wins Virginia Governor’s Race Michelle Wu Chosen as Boston’s First Mayor MORElow approval ratings, lingering anger over restrictions imposed during the pandemic, a resurgence of culture wars fueled by Republicans who made false claims about critical race theory in the classroom, and traditional voter backlash against a sitting president in his first year all played some role in Youngkin’s victory and McAuliffe’s defeat.
Desperate to maintain his iron grip on the Republican Party, Trump was one of the first to claim credit for the red tide that swept through the Old Domain, though his involvement, to Youngkin’s relief, was limited to a few phone appearances.
But Youngkin’s victory represented a notable improvement over the coalition that Trump built: Independents broke with Youngkin by 9 points, a year after backing Biden by 19. Men favored Youngkin by 12 points, after narrowly backing Youngkin. Biden. Voters in the major suburbs supported Youngkin by 6 points, one year away from supporting Biden by 8.
Voters listed the economy, education, and taxes as the most important issues facing the Commonwealth; they favored Youngkin over McAuliffe on all three issues.
Youngkin even improved Trump’s performance in what is becoming the core of the Republican Party base: Trump beat Biden by 24 points among white voters who had not earned a college degree; Youngkin beat those voters by 52 points. Trump led rural Virginia by just 6 points, a margin Youngkin extended to 28.
Over the course of four years, Virginia voters hovered about 11 percentage points, giving Youngkin a 2-point victory after voting for Governor Ralph Northam (D) by a 9-point margin in 2017. That The change is much less dramatic than the tidal wave that swept Republican Bob McDonnell to power by a 17-point margin four years after Democrat Tim kaineTimothy (Tim) Michael Kaine Democrats face monster December collision Biden triggers high-stakes fight over spending framework Manchin says he will support .75T price tag for MORE spending plan he won the governorship by almost 6 points.
But Youngkin’s victory, in contrast to the results of four years ago and even last year’s presidential race, shows where the Republican Party can improve without Trump on the ballot.
Youngkin upped the score in Shenandoah and Southwest Virginia, ancestral Democratic regions now firmly owned by the Republican Party. He improved over Trump in suburban Loudoun, Chesterfield and Henrico counties, albeit only by a small margin. And he won in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake County, areas where Republicans have narrowly lost in recent years.
The results will cloud Democrats in Washington, where they cling to the smallest majorities in the House of Representatives, a majority based on previous victories in districts like the Representatives’. Elaine luriaElaine Goodman LuriaDem expects infrastructure vote to hit the brick wall Biden’s comments on Taiwan leave the administration fighting Youngkin under fire for invoking George Soros in the school board debate MORE, Abigail spanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerHillicon Valley – Feds Focus on Groups Critical to National Security Federal Drive to Identify and Protect Critical Groups from Hackers Gains Moment Now is the time to take stock of our cyber defenses MORE and Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonVirginia previews Democrats’ midterm challenges Family of late Capitol police officer urges Congress to accept Jan.6 commission., moderate Democrats who captured formerly Republican-occupied suburban and ex-urban districts in the 2018 midterm elections.
Those suburban Democrats now have a year to hone their own voter appeal, while Republicans try to maintain Youngkin’s coalition to regain control of Congress. Although the outlook is grim for Democrats today, Virginia voters proved once again that no coalition is forever, no majority is permanent, and nothing, not even a decades-long trend of liberalizing politics in what still amounts to. to a blue state, it is forever.