Could Virginia Flip Red Today?

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by James A. Bacon

I put little stock in the election prognostications of professional pundits, the vast majority of whom are guilty of wishful thinking and confirmation bias. But it is election day today, and the conventional wisdom is that the Virginians will vote handily for Joe Biden as president, Mark Warner will spank his Republican challenger for the U.S. Senate, and Democrats might even gain a House seat. So, when I see a contrary analysis, I take a look. I don’t necessarily give it any credence, but I like to chew it over.

The following analysis originates from Bob Marshall, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates known as the most conservative elected official in the legislature at the time. So, insofar as wishful thinking and confirmation bias factor into his thinking, they push Marshall toward favoring a Republican outcome. Take his observations with a grain of salt.

Based upon its analysis of early voters, Target Smart, a Democrat-leaning, Washington, D.C.-based election data firm, has concluded that President Trump can win Virginia, Marshall writes.

Early voting in Virginia through October 30: 2,292,289+ ballots cast.

  • Democrats — 1,109,287 (48.4%)
  • Republicans — 872,623 (38.1%)
  • Other — 310,379 (13.5%)

Based on past performance, 53% of Virginians who will vote have already voted, leaving 46% to vote today (leaving 1% with no opinion).

Target Smart expects the remaining voters to fall into the following buckets…

  • Republicans — 55%
  • Democrats — 30%
  • Independent — 15%

….resulting in the following election-day vote percentages:

  • Trump 59%
  • Biden 35%
  • Jorgenson (Libertarian) 4%

“In short,” writes Marshall, “Target Smart concludes that President Trump is looking at a four-point lead in Virginia IF he gets a solid Republican turnout.”

Bacon’s bottom line: First of all, it’s not clear where these numbers come from — I can’t find any data that Target Smart has published online. Second, upon what basis does Target Smart estimate whom early voters cast their ballots for? I’d like to know.

Third, what do we make of the fact that 13.5% of voters picked “other”? Libertarian Jo Jorgenson is on the presidential ballot, but the Libertarians are the only third party, and, as much as I like the Libertarians, I know there’s no chance he’s getting 13.5% of the vote. So, that doesn’t make any sense. Whatever.

Marshall’s conclusion of a four-point GOP lead in the presidential race is predicated on a “solid Republican turnout.” If, despite all massive early voting, you have to wait in line when you go to vote today, it might be an indicator that the GOP will defy expectations. But if your voting station looks like tumbleweeds might roll through, that’s a pretty good indicator that Republicans are sunk. 

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39 responses to “Could Virginia Flip Red Today?

  1. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Looks like both teams are highly energized. Perhaps a 75 to 80% voter turnout rate? Virginia seems to have a good turnout for presidential elections. The 2000 vote was the only time in recent memory that it was below 70%. I hope Mr. Haner is having fun this morning. I bet he is a busy man as a poll worker.

  2. I note that Steve Haner has been at work today probably starting at 5am and probably will stay until 8pm or later…

    Thank You Steve for being a poll worker!

    I think Trump could win Virginia but he’d have to get more votes than just rural Va and he’d likely pick them up in Congressional districts voting Republican if there was a surge.

    Most legitimate polls show Virginia as dark blue not light blue – and a 10 point margin although it’s become clear that Trump/GOP voters purposely screw up the polls… and tell them Dem when called!

    We’ll see!

  3. I just cast my ballot. I can attest to one and all that Steve H. was manning the polls. He is the guy designated to hand out the ballots after you’ve shown your voter ID.

    Our Republican-leaning Henrico voting station around 11:00 had what I would call a steady trickle of voters. There were no lines to speak of. Steve reports that I appeared during a slow period in the voting. He scoffed at Bob Marshall’s analysis of the Target Smart data, but did allow that voting overall has been fairly heavy today. Some 150 people were lined up to vote when the polls opened.

  4. Was he carrying an AR 15?

  5. Oh you mean a semi automatic rifle made in the style of the m16 that can be shot individually, full automatically or sometimes in groups of three rounds. Did I get that wrong, too?

    • “Peter Galuszka | November 3, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Reply
      Oh you mean a semi automatic rifle made in the style of the m16 that can be shot individually, full automatically or sometimes in groups of three rounds. Did I get that wrong, too?”

      Yes, yes you did.

      AR-15, stands for ArmaLite. The original manufacture of the firearm. It was based upon the Eugene Stoner designed (AR-10). Colt bought that patent in ’59.

      The original ArmaLite Model 15 was select fire (full auto inception, 3-round burst after Nam, now back to full auto variant dependent). The selector level has

      1) safe, semi, auto (M16A1, CAR15, M4 an etc)
      2) safe, semi, burst (M16A2-A4)

      Colt’s patent died in 1977 allowing the reproduction by other manufactures form then until 1994 and back again in 2004.

      M16 or M4 designations is just the Military designation, that is all the M stands for (Military). It’s actually designed after ArmaLite’s Model 15.

      Anymore questions, actually research the topic first then opine, Petey. You just continue to discredit yourself, time and time again.

    • Yes you did get it wrong.

  6. The m16 is supposed to be the one fully auto, at the ones I shot were

    • Only if it’s an M16A1, was phased out in 1982. No triangle hand guards, no single trigger pull pewwwwwwwwwww empty.

      The fact that you know little to nothing about a firearm that someone “let” you fire, is in a word scary.

  7. Well mr. matt, I got my first rifle, a .22, at age 11. I used to hunt. I learned firearm safety in the Boy Scouts. I have shot periodically at ranges over years and have thought of hunting again. While in Russia, I shot a number of times with troops or at arms shows. And I have actually been involved in armed conflict as a journalist and have lost colleagues. Put me down for that if you want. Fine. It’s not going to bring them back. And you will have shown yourself, again, to be an asshole.

    • Well there is a vast difference between a .22 LR and a 5.56 NATO. There is also a very stark difference between a Stoner designed gas block system and a lever action and or bolt.

      While in Russia, I shot a number of times with troops or at arms shows. Good for you, doesn’t mean you should’ve been anywhere near that AK or SKS with you seemingly lack of knowledge. However, the Russian aren’t known for their adherence to safety.

      “And I have actually been involved in armed conflict as a journalist and have lost colleagues.”

      Let gets some things straight Petey, you observed conflict you were never in conflict. You didn’t send rounds down range in anger and I could give a flying leap what you think.

      I don’t have to put you down, you put yourself down every time you write a statement that is abjectly void of fact. As for calling your supercilious statement about me, sure I can be but only towards those who are deserving.

  8. Mr. Adams, I know you hate my relatives but my aunt’s sister’s husband was an engineer who lived in western New England and in the late 1950s or early 1960s, he worked in the AR 15. I think he worked at the Springfield Armory or maybe Colt. Don’t know much else about it.

    • “Peter Galuszka | November 3, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Reply
      Mr. Adams, I know you hate my relatives but my aunt’s sister’s husband was an engineer who lived in western New England and in the late 1950s or early 1960s, he worked in the AR 15. I think he worked at the Springfield Armory or maybe Colt. Don’t know much else about it.”

      That’s what is known as a strawman.

      I’ve never claimed to hate anyone, your family included. Pointing out that their actions, deeds and services are not your own isn’t tantamount to that.

      Seeing as you don’t know which manufacture he “worked” for that would prove my point that his deeds, actions and services are not your own and have imparted zero knowledge upon you. Especially considering, SA didn’t manufacture an AR variant until the 1994 ban had lapsed.

      I’ve got a 30-40 Krag from SA , does that mean I fought in the Pilipino Insurrection like my forefathers and therefore their experiences are mine? No it doesn’t but it still kicks like a mule when I shoot it.

      • I”ve got a 1861 Springfield Savage my dad bought for $95 unshot out of the crate in 1957… still drives tacks at 50 yards….. does that count? Can I get in on this dribble?

        • Come on in the water is fine. That is indeed a lucky find, the 30-40 was a hand me down and both my father and I have used it deer hunting, ekk gads.

          I’ve heard of stories where guys were lucky enough to find pre-ban AK’s and SKS’s still in cosmoline.

          There also may be a spoils of war in my gun cabinet to the make of an Arisaka Type 99.

          • A local on one of our teams in Afghanistan refused a ‘new’ AK-47 — preferring to keep his Karabiner 98k which he had been using since the 1980s to pick off Ruskies……he liked to be able to ‘reach out and touch’ em before they could see him…..some truth to that….

          • Mauser actions are hard to beat, just don’t try stuffing the 7.62R from an AK or SKS into it.

  9. Peter:

    My advice? Leave the snark (was he carrying an AR 15, in reference to Steve) to Nancy_Boy. Nancy_Boy never tries to make a credible argument so he has no credibility to lose. You often make credible arguments and are one of the few articulate voices from the left on this blog. Sarcastic comments about a polling place volunteer carrying a rifle to the polls don’t help anybody’s cause.

  10. Ripper. Ok. Got it. Thanks

  11. Matt. How the hell do I know what my distant family associate worked? I said I do not.

    • You brought it up, I haven’t a clue why. Maybe you should’ve just zipped it while you were behind.

      Oh and if they worked for a Manufacture it was Colt, as they owned that patent during that time. Again, a piece of information you would’ve garnered if you’d read my comment.

  12. Quiet again….if half of this precinct voted early, like most of Henrico, we will probably hit 80% or more by 7. Not bad here today, but that’s because so many voted early. Lots of obviously new voters and many who have been inactive. I still think my old friend Bob is wishful thinking.

    Nobody packing here. The usual polite and friendly Virginia voters. Had to be pretty patient before 8 am, the two crazy hours….All even wearing masks!

  13. Quite also at Bethia Methodist Church. Three then one cop. No need for Stephen the to unslung the Ar15 (style) semiautomatic and do the job. My sense, however, is that he had done a good and valuable job. So have lots of others. Have even seen a love of (Democratic) ideals when allowed in places like Russia.

  14. It’s telling, perhaps, to see gun talk predominate in comments on both this post and the Bill of Rights post. Stay strapped and stay safe, folks.

  15. Ha! Virginia got called for Biden about 15 minutes after the polls closed. So much for the fantasy of turning Virginia into a red state.

    • Too many people dependent upon FedGov spending in this state.

      • Too many Republicans still trying to get to the top of Cemetery Ridge, when they should remember they are the party of Lincoln…..

        • Looks like to me that Virginia moved from Blue back to purple … The Dems got slaughtered in the 7th and Warner looks weak.

        • James Wyatt Whitehead V

          Too many yankees on top of Cemetery Ridge. Well I guess the fall back position is here now.

          • Cemetery Ridge now runs along the Rappahannock. Until the GOP can get over that ridge and become competitive again in “Occupied Virginia,” it will remain in a distant second place. As to how, well, I’m not sharing that advice here at this point. Continuing to dine at Pickett’s Buffet is not among the steps in the plan….nor is picking fights in the shadow of a statue that General Lee himself knew would be a mistake.

          • James Wyatt Whitehead V

            It’s a long road to Appomattox. In the not too distant future the battle of Richmond 2021 is on! Pickett’s Buffet was always overpriced anyways. Better off at the Golden Corral. I recommend the one in Winchester very clean and well managed. I did notice 6 monuments cleared the ballot in a non binding vote.

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