Tag Archives: Henrico County

Battleground Counties, “Independent” Voters and Super Lazy Reporters

The Washington Post takes a deep dive (2600 words) into four Battleground Counties that will help decide this year’s election.  Incredibly, they greatly diminish this extensive work by first, including the state of Missouri in the analysis — a state Obama isn’t even contesting. Second, before delving into each state/county they offer polls including an admitted month-old poll in Ohio showing Obama leading by 11 percentage points. Besides using incredibly stale data, they even got the poll #s wrong.  In the cited Quinnipiac poll from June, Obama was only leading by 9 percentage points, not 11.  And there were a ton of issues with that poll like Obama having a 3 point advantage among male voters? There is no chance that is accurate in 2012. With plenty of other polls available, how does an ostensibly reputable newspaper use data from a month ago when election preferences change almost daily.  Lastly, this talk of independent voters is nonsense.  Most of the interviews were with complete partisans.  Of course, the Republican partisan’s concerns were minimized by the reporter in classic liberal journalistic fashion, but regardless this article is allegedly about Independent/persuadable voters. Unbelievable.

With that as our lead in, we will focus on the worthwhile aspects on this opus like the three actual Battleground counties where the outcome is actually relevant: Wood County, Ohio; Henrico County, Virginia; Hillsborough County, Florida

In these next 100 days, President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney and their political allies will spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to sway uncommitted voters in a few key states. These are the people they’re after. Interviews with dozens of voters in Florida, Missouri, Ohio and Virginia illustrate just how complicated each voter’s decision can be and, sometimes, how very far removed it is from the election strategies being mapped out in campaign conference rooms in Chicago or Boston or Washington. The conversations with voters also show how little the daily media circus of gaffes and campaign ads and surrogate attacks actually moves its intended targets. After months of heavy advertising by Romney, many voters knew only that he is Mormon, rich and not Obama. This weekend, the Obama campaign kicks off the last 100 days of campaigning with 4,600 small events around the country, including Olympics-watching parties, house parties and “Barbecues for Barack.” The Romney campaign is taking a different approach. The candidate is in Israel this weekend as part of an overseas tour designed to enhance his image as an international statesman.

As it turns out, the fight is for an extraordinarily small slice of the U.S. electorate. In one recent poll, more than two-thirds of voters said they already had all the information they needed to make their choice. So a few undecided people, in just a few places, could swing an entire country. Washington Post reporters visited four counties that could be decisive. All four voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and then for Obama in 2008, and each is in a state that will be crucial to the outcome in November.

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48 Hours: Virginia

Over the next two days, Virginia is going to be bombarded by Presidential politics from both President Obama himself and high-profile Romney surrogates:

  • Obama will campaign across the Commonwealth on Friday and Saturday, making stops at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach and Phoebus High School in Hampton on Friday. On Wednesday, voters lined up in long lines Newport News and Hampton to get tickets for Obama’s visit to Phoebus High School. “It makes me proud,” said Marcus Mabry, 42, regarding the attention Virginia has received from the national parties. He waited three hours for a ticket
  • Obama will also be making appearances in Henrico County and Roanoke
  • On Thursday afternoon, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will lead a Veterans for Romney event in Virginia Beach
  • Gov. Bob McDonnell will be hosting the nation’s governors in Williamsburg for the National Governor’s Association. The meeting will be a high-profile event for McDonnell, who is frequently mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for Romney

Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie to Stump for Romney in Virginia

Tuesday morning Mitt Romney will appear on “The John Fredericks Radio Show” on WHKT-AM 1650 in Hampton Roads in what will be a whirlwind week of major politicians visiting the state including “America’s Mayor:”

As President Barack Obama prepares to campaign in Virginia later this week, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will pre-empt the president’s visit using a well-known surrogate: former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani will head off Obama’s Friday and Saturday stops with a “Veterans for Romney” event in Hampton Roads on Thursday at 2 p.m. And on Friday morning, Giuliani will visit the Richmond area for the grand opening of a Henrico County GOP Victory 2012 office. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling will also attend. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, last campaigned in the state two weeks ago, putting in stops in Salem, near Roanoke, and Sterling in Loudoun County. Obama kicked off his re-election campaign with a rally in Richmond in early May.

The Washington Post also reports New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will campaign for Romney next week in Virginia:

Next week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will travel to the region — likely the District — on behalf of the former Massachusetts governor.  Details on the Christie event were not available.


The Virginia Battleground Map

Similar to the post below regarding Ohio, Crystal Ball’s Geoffrey Skelley breaks down the Battleground map of Virginia, complete with the all-important battleground counties:

The idea of Virginia being a swing state is an entirely new concept, but it’s something the Commonwealth — and the nation — is going to have to get used to. The nature of the state’s population growth since the millennium has brought about major demographic and cultural shifts. Virginia is now the New Dominion, rather than the Old.

Of the state’s 13% growth in population between 2000 and 2010, a large portion occurred in Northern Virginia, the diverse suburbs and exurbs of Washington, D.C. Examples of rapid growth abound: Prince William County grew 40% while Loudoun County led the state with a growth rate of 84%, making them the third and fifth-most populous entities* in the state, respectively. Fairfax County crossed the 1 million resident threshold, making it more than twice the size of the state’s largest city, Virginia Beach. NoVa, as it is somewhat derisively known among down-staters, is now the most powerful region in the state on Election Day. As shown on the chart below, Northern Virginia had more total two-party voters in the 2008 presidential election than any other region.

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Battleground Counties: Henrico County, Virginia

One of our favorite topics gets more ink today in the Richmond Times-Dispatch–Battleground Counties.  Henrico County, Virginia was mentioned in our very first post on this subject and remains as vital as ever to securing victory in one of the most important states this election cycle:

Henrico County has emerged as a bellwether in a critical battleground state that could determine the outcome of the presidential election. In large part because of the county’s influence, the Richmond area is among the regions where the battle for Virginia’s 13 electoral votes is expected to be decided. Last week, the Richmond-Petersburg area was the top media market in the nation for advertising in the presidential election by the Obama and Romney campaigns and outside groups. In recent years, the former conservative stronghold of Henrico has shifted from a dark red to pure purple, reflecting the demographic and attitudinal shifts that have put Virginia at the center of the Obama-Romney battle…University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato said that while Henrico won’t necessarily decide the election, it will undoubtedly serve as a barometer for the state. “If Obama carries Henrico again, it’s an indicator he’s probably winning the state,” Sabato said. “He can lose it, but not by much.”

A volatile voting county

When Henrico reversed course in 2008 and voted for Obama after decades of picking Republican presidential candidates, so did Virginia, marking the first time a Democratic presidential candidate won the state since President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. The following year, the county swung back, backing Republican Bob McDonnell for governor. But Henrico’s political volatility goes back a bit further. In 2005, the year after the county helped keep President George W. Bush in the White House, the county voted to put Democrat Timothy M. Kaine in the Executive Mansion. In 2006, Henrico supported Republican George Allen in his ill-fated bid for re-election to the U.S. Senate. Two years later, the county not only helped elect Obama but also supported Democrat Mark R. Warner for the U.S. Senate.

Formerly predominantly white, now a suburban melting pot

  • Henrico is the sixth most-populous locality in the state
  • African-Americans now account for 30 percent of Henrico’s population, up from less than 25 percent in 2000
  • The Hispanic population has grown 152 percent since 2000 and now represents 5 percent of the county’s population
  • Henrico’s Asian population now tops 20,000 people and accounts for 6.5 percent of the population, compared with 3.6 percent in 2000
  • East vs West: While the western portion of the county’s population remains largely affluent, white and conservative, the eastern end, which has exploded in population, has become largely black and Democratic

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Battleground States? How About Battleground Counties

Amy Walter at ABC News’ The Note drills down even further into the very topic of this blog — the limited nature of Battlegrounds in this year’s election:

We all know there are just a handful of states that will ultimately decide the election. But  it’s really just a handful of counties in a handful of states that actually matter. The two states I think will determine the outcome of the election are Colorado and Virginia.

Colorado: Jefferson and Arapahoe Counties in suburban Denver are the swing counties in the state. In 2008, those two counties contributed 565,000 votes – or 25 percent of the 2.2M cast.

Virginia: Five key counties determine the winner of the state: Henrico (Richmond suburbs), Loudoun and Prince William (suburban Washington, D.C.), Virginia Beach and Chesapeake City. Total votes cast by these five counties in 2008: 764,000 (20 percent of total votes cast in the state).

I’ve never lived in a Battleground state or even a loosely contested state, but I can imagine by election day residents in each of the above counties will loathe both campaigns due to what can be an inundation of campaign ads littering their televisions over the come five months.