Notes From an Election

Tyler Whitley looks at the election numbers and finds that while turnout was a record, it was only just so…and that in some areas, turnout actually fell.

And then there was this item:

While he carried Virginia with 52.6 percent of the vote, Obama finished behind the Democrats’ U.S. Senate candidate, Mark R. Warner, who received nearly 2.37 million votes — 410,000 more than Obama. Warner obtained the most votes ever for a statewide candidate in Virginia.

Active, and widespread ticket-splitting. Not entirely surprising considering the low-wattage Gilmore campaign, and that to motivate the Republican vote for McCain, people had to be, repeatedly, told to “hold their nose” and cast that ballot anyway.

Hardly a motivating sentiment, and one that failed miserably to deliver the sort of margins McCain needed in GOP bastions like Chesterfield County, or even Prince William. Add to that the fact that a populous, former GOP stronghold like Henrico continues to become empurpled, and it seems as though the GOP grip on Central Virginia isn’t as tight, or as sure, as it used to be.

Heading into the 2009 election, that’s problematic for the party’s statewide candidates. Bob McDonnell scraped by in Henrico in 2005 and polled 59 percent of the Chesterfield vote (he out-polled Jerry Kilgore in both jurisdictions). Unless McDonnell can build on his Chesterfield showing and, somehow, stem the purple tide in Henrico, then his statewide chances are dim. It’s the same for Bill Bolling, whose numbers largely mirrored McDonnell’s in the two big counties.

How do they do it? Any number of possibilities, actually. But one thing is certain: wafflers don’t turn out the base. And if they can’t turn out the base around Richmond, then Democrats win.

(Cross-posted at Tertium Quids)