Maybe the GOP Has a Prayer After All

With elections two week away, a Virginia Commonwealth University poll released today finds that Virginians are evenly split in their preference for Democrats and Republicans to control the General Assembly. Forty-seven percent of the 800 adults queried said they wanted to see Democratic Party control while 47% favored Republicans.

Self-described Democrats and Republicans gave near-unanimous support for their own parties. Independents were nearly even split, giving a narrow edge to Democrats. What should encourage Republicans is the fact that VCU polled 800 adults, not registered voters or likely voters. Likely voters tend to skew more heavily Republican, especially in off-year elections, than the general populace. But Democrats have a big fund-raising advantage, and they most likely will dominate advertising in the closing two weeks of the campaign.

I had written off the Republicans. They seem adrift, offering no cogent alternative to Democrats. Meanwhile, the Dems are raising more money. Further, I’ve seen no sign that suburban women — the decisive swing vote in the last election — have relented in their detestation of Donald Trump, suggesting that the Democratic surge of 2017 would continue into 2019, even though this is a local election, not a national election. But what I don’t know about politics could fill a Loudoun data center, so my prognosis doesn’t count for much. If the election is going to be as close as the VCU poll suggests, the election will come down to individual personalities and individual races. I might even stay up election night and watch the results come in.


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19 responses to “Maybe the GOP Has a Prayer After All”

  1. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    IMHO the two key races are the two seats the appointed “neutral” court master intentionally targeted for defeat (no, no, how can you think that! He was neutral. ) That would be Kirk Cox and Chris Jones. They hold on and a few more break to the Republicans and they would wake up Tuesday with 51 still. It could also be 50. If there is still this big wave out there, might drop below 45 Republicans. Expect some re-count close races and there is always a surprise, an election nobody saw coming…

    Generic ballot polls done by professional polling firms don’t mean much. Done by a college class between bouts of social media posting they mean even less….Each race is on its own. You are right, Jim, that a central positive message – either of accomplishments or goals – is conspicuously absent. But in the House there is a good crop of GOP candidates, many of them in districts that just flipped in 2017, and the Democrats do have some baggage. I expect a couple of those seats to flip back – also a key unknown. In some localities, local races or ballot issues may drive unusual turnouts.

    The ad I’ve long expected with Delegates Kathy Tran and Debra Rodman happily discussing their bill easing the rules on late, late term abortions up to the point of birth is finally up and running. I said we’d see it come back in October.

    You’ll get the results faster on VPAP. 🙂

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    Up in my neck of the woods, the Dems are making healthcare an issue and the GOP says the Dems are lying about their position which is to support it also…. so we’re back to the age old: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” conundrum.

    I’m not sure if voters believe the GOP candidates, we’ll see.

    I’m thinking the court-directed voting district changes are not helpful to the GOP either.

    If the Dems “win” – it will be by a slim majority… and used to be they did “power sharing” but that idea may have been discarded.

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      Here’s a Democrat on Healthcare:

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        yeah, I don’t think that will win any Dem votes.. and increasingly no independent votes.

        ” According to the Quinnipiac University Poll, 24 percent of those polled say abortion should be legal in all cases, 40 percent say it should be legal in most cases, and 21 percent say it should be illegal in most cases.

        Only nine percent of both men and women say abortion should be illegal in all cases.”

        So we’re back to what the GOP believes as their philosopny versus whether they want to represent voters whose views are different than the GOP position.

        Isn’t this why Virginia is trending blue? Does the Va GOP have a moderate position (in terms of the voting electorate) on abortion? What is it?

  3. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Jim, anything to look on the bright side. Right?

    1. After predicting the Republicans’ demise, I’m just covering my ass.

  4. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Ha ha!

  5. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    I have long thought that Jones and Cox would be OK in their newly-drawn districts. They have been around so long and are so well known. I have not seen anything about Jones’ race, but Cox does seem to be getting a run at him.

    Personally, I can see some advantages to the House staying Republican with the Senate flipping to the Democrats:
    1. A split GA will lead to more compromise
    2. Jones will stay as House Appropriations chairman
    3. Democrats don’t have a strong, experienced leader

    1. Todd Gilbert remains as majority leader
    2. Gun bills continue to get bottled up in subcommittee

  6. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    There have only been six years in recent times when one party or the other held total control – House, Senate and Governor’s Office. Two years for the Democrats, 1992 and 93. Four years for the Republicans, 2000-01 and 12-13. Agreed, a split GA will force many compromises, especially on the redistricting map. Many on this blog seem to forget that divided control has been the norm.

    Sure, Larry, assume if you want that most voters are fine with abortions in week 39.5. I have no doubt most voting Democrats get squeamish on that one. It is very, very rare, but making it far easier was the point of Tran’s bill. I think on this one the GOP position is in line with majority opinion.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      The Dems do get squeamish, and they should and I think many would be susceptible to restrictions to make it rare – but when you accuse them all as wanting unrestricted 3rd term and call them baby-killers – the conversation stops.

      See I don’t agree that the majority ends up on the GOP side because of the Trans thing. They don’t own her position and see it as radical also but they’re not going to go with the GOP’s current prescription of none no matter what.

      People need to deal with the realities – and if you do not have very easy access for teens – they’re going to be pregnancies – that’s a reality and we cannot wish it away and we cannot in good moral conscience say that they got themselves pregnant and have to go forward with it – have the kid when they are 15 or 16 and leave school and go on Medicaid.

      Surely there is something between the two extremes on this.

      But that’s my personal – from a straight political perspective – the Dems are not going to go for a virtual ban on it. That’s what the polls show… something like 70+ % want to allow some level of it and those folks just are not going to vote for a “no way, never” position.

  7. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    I am not sure that a split GA would result in compromise on the redistricting map. In the past, each house has deferred to the other on its map. The major force will be the Governor who can veto a redistricting bill, like McDonnell vetoed the Democrats’ Senate bill in 2011.

  8. Will the Amendment to install that non-partisan redistricting commission advance split GA or not?

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      The head of the Black Caucus, Delegate Lamont Bagby, was recently quoted stating many concerns over that. Not a good sign. He was laying the groundwork for its demise, I believe. I think it was a Virginia Mercury piece, another sign it comes from “the establishment.” Once they have the power, back to business as usual. Just saw a GOP Senate tweet that noted Elizabeth Warren came to VA to attack the 2011 map, and she seems to have forgotten that the Senate map that year was drawn by a Democratic majority……

  9. LarrytheG Avatar

    Neither party should be involved in the map. Have it done by computer and have the computer program written so that it can be given different test scenarios to demonstrate that it is not biased and have a judge or panel of judges certify the results.

    It’s totally true that the Dems have been guilty of the same behavior as the GOP but today we are at a point where the natural base of the GOP shrinking and trending Dem and they seem to be more interested in messing with the map than actually representing voters rather than their own political philosophies.

    The purpose of elections is to represent voters and lead where the voters want to go – not try to figure out how to surreptitiously impose your own philosophy, aka “the Virginia Way” on them.

    Virginia needs the ability for citizens to be able to initiate referenda to keep the elected representatives honest – both parties because without that capability, both parties play word games and cloaking games then after elections go back to their respective parties to determine how to govern – that’s how Dominion got to it’s current position in my view.

    If you look at some of the lopsided polls where 70% of voters favor something – and the GA refuses to act – it’s an indication that governance is not leading but obstructing.

  10. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    So, Larry is another vote against the 1787 U.S. Constitution. He’s a direct democracy guy. Time to read the Federalist Papers again, Larry, if you ever have. And, as usual, he is MSU (making stuff up). Immediately following the Mercury piece that said the Democrats were going wobbly on the redistricting reform, the GOP did put out a unified statement in favor. Over the past few years support for some kind of reform there has been broadly bipartisan.

  11. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    In response to Larry–initiative-originated referenda are a bad idea. On a referendum, the vote is up or down, no chance of amendment. I can’t count the number of pieces of legislation that I have seen that I thought were good ideas and I supported, only to see them amended and think, “Gee, I didn’t think of that. That’s a good amendment.” Or, “OK, I can go along with that amendment if it makes it so the bill will pass.” Also, on “leading where the voters want to go”, I don’t think that is always the best course of action. I subscribe to the Edmund Burke quote: “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

    On redistricting: I thought it hilarious that Republicans began to support the creation of a redistricting commission after opposing it for so many years. What changed? Why, first there was a Democratic governor who could veto their plans and second, now there is a good chance that the Democrats will be in charge of redistricting. As for Democrats, I wondered if they would abandon the idea of a redistricting commission if they took over. Now, it looks as if they may. Hypocrisy knows no sides.

    1. Excellent point about citizen-initiated referenda — it’s a terrible way to enact legislation!

  12. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    “Hypocrisy knows no sides.” You are learning, grasshopper.

  13. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    SCOTUS has held in Planned Parenthood v Casey that a state can prohibit abortion once a fetus is viable (say 22-23 weeks). But a state cannot place an undue burden on a woman’s ability to have an abortion. It’s an awkward balancing act. On one hand, the state has a cognizable interest in making sure viable fetuses are not destroyed by abortion. On the other hand, if a doctor says there are health complications, the state’s interest is effectively overruled.

    I don’t have a problem with the basics behind Casey. And I think it’s reasonable to protect a fetus as it gets closer to full term. The ideas promulgated by Northam and Tran that abortion should be available to and past the point of delivery seem Nazi-like to me.

    I think an agreement to handle redistricting through a bipartisan body makes sense but the final vote must come from the General Assembly. I don’t like decisions made by people I cannot vote for or against. That’s why SCOTUS made the right decision not to allow courts to “correct” partisan redistricting. I cannot vote a federal judge out of office.

    As far as Senator Warren is concerned, her veracity is comparable to that of Donald Trump and Fred Hiatt.

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