Tag Archives: Chris Saxman

SHOCK Fox Poll — Youngkin +8? Outlier or Actual?

by Chris Saxman

Oh yeah.

That Fox News poll release last night created some noise. No sooner had that hit the airwaves than the phone started blowing up from around the country and Commonwealth. Glenn Youngkin was +8 (53-45).

What do you think? Is this real?

Naturally, Republicans were thrilled and Democrats dismissive. It is Fox News. The reactions would have been reversed were it a poll from MSNBC.

Today, the Washington Post/GMU Schar School Poll released their poll (McAuliffe +1 49-48) and it will likely receive the same partisan response. Republicans will dismiss it and Democrats will hail it.

Republicans will say it’s the Post AND Dwight Schar, for whom the school is named, supports Terry McAuliffe. Given the Fox Poll showing Glenn Youngkin +8, anything closer to a tie will be a response ray of relief for Democrats and another “See I Told You So” (SITYS) moment for the Republicans.

Rinse and repeat. Binary politics at its best.

But it’s gotten so bad this year for Republicans in Virginia that Democrats are complaining to me about how partisan the coverage is.

To which I reply :

Continue reading

Virginia Polls Tightening, 25 Days to Election Day

Home stretch momentum shifting. Independents breaking to GOP.

by Chris Saxman

Trying to make sense out of all the polls you are seeing on the Virginia gubernatorial race?

Start at the top. How’s Joe Biden doing? Hint: he’s never been that popular nationally except when the choice was Biden v Trump.

Terry McAuliffe said as much in this clip put out by the RNC:

Continue reading

Gubernatorial Debate Review with Winners and Losers

by Chris Saxman

Last night’s debate between Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin was more or less like the first one on substance – pretty much the same answers but perhaps a deeper, more clarifying look at those.

I don’t see a lot of votes changing from those who actually watched the debate but there were some notable moments which could be turned into ads that THEN might move the electorate.

This is what campaign consultants fear and desire about debates – there is so much on the line that they are just hoping and praying their candidate makes it out clean but also that the opponent creates an opening to exploit.

I predicted a tie, and on points it was just that. Therefore, given his strong first debate performance, Glenn Youngkin held serve by not losing. Terry McAuliffe was much better this time — less agitated and more at ease.

Princess Blanding, the Liberation Party candidate who has qualified for the ballot, disrupted the debate about ten minutes after kick off. Moderator Chuck Todd seemed unprepared for this and eventually went to commercial breaks. Continue reading

Wilder’s Take on the McAuliffe-Youngkin Race

L. Douglas Wilder. Photo credit: Wikipedia

by Chris Saxman

Yesterday I spoke with former Governor Doug Wilder regarding the recently released poll by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School on the 2021 governor race.

That conversation is one that I will remember for a very long time in that here’s a former governor who, at the age of 90, is still actively engaged in Virginia politics because he honestly just gives a damn about the future of the Commonwealth.

Good on him.

When he picked up the phone for our interview, I naturally asked him:
Governor, how are you today?

Without missing a beat came the upbeat and wise reply:

I woke up! It’s a good day!

My favorite quote from the interview was this:

Truth is not partisan. Continue reading

A Deeper Dive into CNBC’s Rankings

by Chris Saxman

In doing a deeper dive on the CNBC Top States for Business rankings, two quotes keep running through my unsettled mind.

Why unsettled? Well, last year I posed this question to Virginia FREE’s Board of Directors:

If Virginia was a stock, would you Buy, Sell, or Hold?

Not one said Buy. They all said Hold. Thankfully, no one said Sell.

So, the first quote comes from New York Yankee Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra who is now more famous for his Yogiisms than his playing. This one was an answer to a question about a famous New York City restaurant — was it still as good as it used to be?

To which Berra replied:

No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded. Continue reading

Mamma Mia! CNBC Says Virginia #1 for Business, but Chief Executive Mag says #13.

by Chris Saxman

Beauty, the Greeks started saying back in 3rd century BC, is in the eyes of the beholder.

CNBC announced today that Virginia is the Top State for Business in 2021. That’s great news!

They rank their top 10 states: Virginia – North Carolina – Utah – Texas – Tennessee – Georgia – Minnesota – Colorado – Washington – Ohio.

Chief Executive Magazine in April ranked their top 10 states thusly: Texas – Florida – Tennessee – North Carolina – Indiana – South Carolina – Ohio – Nevada – Georgia – Arizona. Virginia comes in at #13 for them.



Forbes in 2019 had Virginia at #4 and US News had the Commonwealth at #7 back in March of this year.

If you take the four rankings and then rank those? (No, you don’t add and divide by 4 which would get Virginia to 6.25.) Continue reading

Reporting the Truth in the Post-Trump Era

by Chris Saxman

When I was a teacher of U.S. History and Government, I had only one rule for my students and it was that they think. I told them flat out:

I don’t care what you think – I care that you think. Time will take care of the rest.

Their thinking was dependent upon being able to access facts and alternative lines of thought so that they would be challenged to actually think deeply versus reacting emotionally.

Today, kids call that “adulting.”

In order for me to make 17th and 18th century U.S. History interesting for late 20th century high school students, I had to make it relevant to their lives. So, we would talk a great deal about current events and apply them back to whatever time we were discussing in our curriculum. In that way, our history would come alive for them and they would then dive deeper into their studies. Continue reading

The Primary Results — Explaining the Obvious

Tuesday’s big winner: Terry McAuliffe. Photo credit: The Washington Post

by Chris Saxman

There is no sense doing a deep dive on Tuesday’s elections results because there is not a lot of depth to explore.

Somethings are just obvious.

In the end:

  • Money talks and bullshit walks.
  • Challengers don’t win – incumbents lose.
  • The leadership of the Democratic Party of Virginia is firmly in control.
  • There was ZERO ideological shift in either party.
  • Base voters want fighters who can win. They are angry and want that anger represented. (Reminder – anger is fear based) Many vote Against rather than For.
  • Legacy media continues to lose influence on voter behavior as they become more partisan.
  • #1 data point from Tuesday? The similarity in Ralph Northam and Terry McAuliffe primary vote totals. 2017: Northam 303,531. 2021: McAuliffe 303,410. That’s the base of the Democratic Party of Virginia.
  • Destiny might be more geography than demography.

And here we go… Continue reading

John Warner’s Verse of Manner and Deed

by Chris Saxman

It’s not so much what you do, but the manner in which you do it.

John Warner has shown us, once again, that we really are better than we let on. The praise of Warner’s tenure as our United States Senator has been universal and consistent – John Warner was a great politician.

A statesman.

Virginia’s gentle man.

There have been many wonderful remembrances of him. Read them all.

After the news broke yesterday, I recounted my own with fondness, many smiles, and several laughs. That was a great trip down Memory Lane, but it wasn’t sad.

Then I remembered that I was having lunch with Frank Atkinson in just a few hours and that we would be nerding out on the life and times of John Warner. I mean Atkinson literally wrote the books about modern Virginia politics. Continue reading

Ranked Choice Republican Recap

Image credit: The UP Lab

by Chris Saxman

Well, the Republican Party of Virginia actually pulled it off. Their Ranked Choice Voting Unassembled Convention Through the Legs off the Backboard with Twist (which lasted lemme see…one… two…three…no, FOUR days) finally ended and ended well.

Not only did RPV manage to pull it off, but their statewide ticket of Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears, and Jason Miyares is the most diverse in the history of the Commonwealth. National Republicans are thrilled, but more importantly for the GOP, Virginia Republicans are united, well-funded, and energized for the 2021 campaign season. They also have a month head start on their Democratic opponents.

Since I attended the Phillies/Nationals game in DC yesterday, you’re probably going to read more than a couple baseball references. But since politics and baseball are so similar the references usually work, I offer no apology.

Like the movie Mr. Baseball starring Tom Selleck pointed out – every batter has a “hole in their swing.” That’s the place in the strike zone a pitcher looks to throw the ball because, for some reason or another, the batter just can’t hit a ball thrown there. Swing mechanics, stance, hands, hips, shoulders …. all create holes. The problem Selleck’s character had was not just a hole in his swing, but more importantly he had a hole in his attitude. His Japanese manager and the Japanese culture, filled those holes. It’s a fun movie with a nice storyline.
Anyway… Continue reading

Glenn Youngkin’s Good Vibes

by Chris Saxman

Over the last week and a half, I attended three Glenn Youngkin campaign events with three different women — my wife Michele and our two daughters, Mary Kathryn and Nora. It wasn’t intentional that I went to separate events with each of them, it just worked out that way. All three are college-educated suburban women.

While you might think that in our house we talk politics a lot and always vote the same way, I can assure you — we do not. Never have. I have always told our kids to vote for the person you think is best for the job. We compare notes afterwards. Michele and I have been the same way since our first political conversations thirty years ago. “Who did you vote for?” “Oh, okay.” “How about you?” “Oh, okay.”

The first event was at a local restaurant the Henrico GOP uses for its meetings in Innsbrook called Atlas 42. Good size. Clean. Plenty of room without being cavernous. Mary Kathryn and I went to check out the campaign of Glenn Youngkin. Continue reading

CNU Polls — Post-Trump Shift Happening in Virginia

by Chris Saxman

Folks, we have a ball game in Virginia.

Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center released another poll today and VPM’s headline captured the catnip as their headline writer wrote, “New Virginia Poll Shows Support for Progressive Ideas, but Not Labels.” It should have read “Virginians are centrists but like free stuff.”

In that VPM report (VPM is PBS/NPR’s new label – irony noted) is this quote from CNU’s Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo:

“Americans as a whole tend to lean conservative in their ideology,” Bromley-Trujillo said. “And this usually is kind of based on broad values, like liberty or small government. But when you get into specific policy proposals, then you see more support for Democratic policies.”

This is not new. This is also why we put the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on our kids’ credit cards. This is also why we fight incessantly over health care — everyone wants Mayo Clinic level care on their street corner, but no one wants to pay for it. Continue reading

Did Joe Biden Just Cost Virginia Democrats 47,000 Votes?

by Chris Saxman

Full disclosure on this one: I hate cigarettes. I have never smoked one — ever. When I waited tables and tended bar, the worst part of the job was cleaning ash trays. And that includes the time I had to break up a bar fight after which the teeth swallowing loser had a tracheotomy performed on him.

Today’s front page of the Wall Street Journal had this article : Biden Administration to Seek Ban on Menthol Cigarettes Tobacco industry indicates court fight is possible over move, which would take years to implement. Going through the courts gets around the legislative process — again.

In the article one finds this nugget that should get the attention of any observer of Virginia politics:

In the U.S., 84% of Black smokers and 47% of Hispanic smokers use menthols, compared with 30% of white smokers, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health data. Continue reading

Will Virginia Republicans Rebound This Fall?

by Chris Saxman

Virginia is just 38 short days away from its first statewide nomination as the Republicans are finally set to pick their candidates for the Big Three — Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General on May 8th in an “unassembled convention.”

Sticking with the date of May 8th is the smartest decision the Virginia GOP has made this year, as it gives them a 31 day head start on likely Democratic nominee, former Governor Terry McAuliffe.

And they need it.

As Ward Bond’s Father Lonegan says to open one of my favorite movies, “The Quiet Man”:

“Well, then. I’ll begin at the beginning.”

It has been 512 days since the Democrats won the majority back from twenty years of Republican control of the House of Delegates. In just 223 days, Virginia’s citizens will decide if they merit a return to power. Continue reading

Yuck. Virginia Politics Need a Car Wash.

Spray ‘er down, buddy.

by Chris Saxman

Spring in Virginia politics is like the daily pollen car wash. It’s that morning muck that cakes up the windshield worldview.

This is when political campaigns send out unmitigated crap attack ads that make no sense but try to instill just the tiniest element of angst and fear in order to generate a negative response towards an otherwise decent person.

The Virginia GOP dominant majority in General Assembly actually managed the Commonwealth well over the last twenty years as it had to work with a Democratic governor 75% of the time. But eventually, the engine of innovation wears down. They could use some of the Ideas Retreats of the past vs. conventions which boil down to who is more pro-gun, anti-gay, or anti-abortion. As if there are no other issues that matter to Republican convention goers.

On the other hand, we have many Democratic candidates who seem content on coming up with Elizabeth Warren-level of detail in their policy proposals. Continue reading