Elephant Ears

This blog is dedicated to the political happenings in the Valley and Southwest Virginia. As the the name implies, this blog will have posts based on what is heard by this elephant's (GOPer's) ears. It is also a great treat to get while at the county fair or a carnival.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Which Way Is Up?

Thanks to NLS for pointing out the new SurveyUSA poll that shows Allen leading 56-37. This certainly is in stark contrast to the Zogby poll showing the race at 49-44 or even the Rasmussen poll showing 51-41. The crosstabs are even more interesting.

First, they show Allen garnering 26% of the African-American vote. NLS pointed out that the AA community is the one area Allen outperformed Bush in 2000, and also a voting block who may go against Webb due to his affirmative action stances, etc (the Paul Gillis radio ad also must be considered). I am still skeptical about Allen's strength here, but time will tell.

Second, Allen is at a tie in NOVA 46-46. This is interesting since that would require Allen to win Fairfax County (depending on what "Northeast" is defined as). This comes soon after proposals of a historic 100,000 vote margin for Webb in the county this year. This also would signal NOVA has not gone as far left as some think. Here too, I am skeptical that things are this good. Kilgore was tied in NOVA early on as well.

Third, it shows Allen leading southeast 62-31. Southeast Virginia includes Tidewater, which is where I fear Allen could have his biggest struggle. Webb's military credentials should allow him to make inroads in the military community here, but this poll shows the exact opposite. Also, if Allen carries this area by a big margin it will probably doom Phil Kellam's chances of knocking off Thelma Drake.

All in all, I hope Allen does have a commanding lead like this. Even so, I am concerned that this poll could do what I have feared all along; give Allen supporters a false sense of security. Allen's biggest threat right now is that if people think he has nothing to worry about, they won't go vote. The strongest congressional district for Allen, the 6th, has no congressional challenger so there is nothing else on the ballot (other than the marriage amendment). Other strong districts like the 7th have seemingly token opposition. This could be the downfall of Allen if his supporters think the race is in the bag. Polls like this don't help with that problem.

Of course, if this poll is right and the numbers hold, it won't matter.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Fairfax 100k Strategy

Alluding to my last post, I have designed a strategy that Allen would need in order to win the election if he lost Fairfax County by 100,000 votes. Instead of running though each and every locality, I am going to break up the state into who needs to offset who. I am assuming about a 58% turnout statewide.

First off is NOVA: in addition to the loss in Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria will probably put us another 55,000 votes behind. Manassas and the Park will offset Falls Church and Fairfax City, so all that is left is Loudoun and Prince William Counties. This is the first big question. If Allen loses Fairfax this bad, we will assume he will do poorly in these areas too, which will result in an additional 10,000 vote deficit. This is the best case scenario for Webb. That means Allen is down 165,000 votes coming out of NOVA.

Next is the Exurbs and the Shenandoah Valley. This is the swath from Fauquier, Stafford and Spotsylvania through Winchester, Harrisonburg and Roanoke. These are the areas Allen will need big numbers, probably rivaling Bush's margins. Even so, the biggest margin he can hope to get from this area is about 100,000 so he will need the rest from the 5th and 9th congressional districts.

If Allen gets 59% in the 9th and 54% in the 5th, that will get him the remaining 65,000 margin and we will be back to 0. Anything below this would probably spell defeat.

The next area is Richmond. Hanover, Henrico and Chesterfield have to not only offset Richmond City; but actually show a vote gain going into Tidewater. If Allen can get good numbers he will be up around 20,000 in Richmond Metro.

Tidewater is last. Allen will need to win Chesapeake and Virginia Beach big and keep Newport News close to offset losses in Norfolk, Portsmouth and Hampton. If he gets Bush '04 margins he will be down around 10,000 but a more likely scenario is a deficit of 20,000.

That has eliminated all the democratic strongholds for the most part, so the remaining areas will show a marginal Allen lead. That marginal lead will be the margin of victory if all goes like I have proposed.

As you can see, the biggest keys for Allen are winning the Valley big, winning Henrico County and winning the traditional suburban GOP strongholds of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and hopefully Prince William and Loudoun. If he can do that, even a blowout in the Democratic strongholds and Fairfax County will not derail his re-election. As to whether it will happen; only time will tell.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Fairfax Fallout

NLS has a great post up on the spiraling numbers for the GOP in Fairfax County. He chronicles the slide from George W. Bush's 6,000 vote victory in 2000 to Kilgore's 60,000 vote loss in 2005. He even says that some at the DSCC think a Jim Webb victory of 100,000 votes in Fairfax County is not out of the question this year. Before we go any further, lets look at the likelyhood of that happening.

The turnout in 2004 was 460k and in 2005 it was 270k. My guess is that the turnout in this year's race will be somewhere between those, so lets say 365k voters in Fairfax this year. That would be turnout of 58.6%, which is reasonable. Based on this turnout number, the final count would be 232k Webb, 132k Allen and 1000 write-ins and indys. That would mean Webb would be getting 63.6%. For comparison, Kaine got 60.15% in Fairfax last year.

As Ben's post points out, this is the best case scenario for them, and it assumes Bush's poll numbers fall another 5 points or so. While I am not sure how those numbers can fall any further without him being revealed as satan (therefore losing the religious right's backing), I do think that a 100k loss in Fairfax is possible. This race will be tell tale sign as to whether Virginia is really in play in 2008, or whether we just like dem governors and GOP presidents.

I will have a few more posts related to this topic, such as the strategy of how Allen can win if he loses Fairfax by 100k, and also what the possible fallout will be in the event Allen loses this year.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

New Allen-Webb Poll

The spin machine is in full force in the blogosphere over the WSJ/Zogby battleground polls released today, one of which being the Allen-Webb race. The poll shows Allen leading 49-44 which is down from 48-41 in March. Many GOP bloggers say this poll is useless b/c its an internet poll, its a liberal Zogby, and a host of other things. Conversely the Rasmussen poll is Allen leading 51-41, which some dems discredit b/c they say Rasmussen is a Republican and hes more favorable to GOPs.
Since its not clear, lets take a look a some other races to see how close they are.

WA Senate: WSJ: 48-43 Cantwell (D), Rasmussen: 44-40 Cantwell (D)
PA Senate: WSJ: 48-41 Casey (D), Rasmussen: 56-33 Casey (D)
NJ Senate: WSJ: 41-40 Menedez (D), Rasmussen: 40-37 Kean (R)
OH Senate: WSJ: 47-34 Brown (D), Rasmussen: 44-41 Brown (D)
MO Senate: WSJ: 49-44 Talent (R), Rasmussen: 43-40 Talent (R)

This shows 5 of the hottest Senate races in the nation with no clear picture as to who is better or who shows partisan leanings. Those who say Rasmussen is GOP cannot explain why he shows Santorum getting romped where "liberal" Zogby shows a reasonably close race in PA.

Averaging these two polling firms is probably a good indicator. If thats the case, Allen leads by 7.5, which is pretty accurate in my opinion. Webb has a way to go, but Allen has some work to do as well. Thats all today's poll tells us; which is what we already knew.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Is It Really Over?

Is the budget stalemate really over? It is according to the RTD.
Just yesterday it looked like the negotiators wouldn't be able to get a budget this week, but now it appears they have.
I guess my friend who said this thing would get done this week was sort of right.

The Senate is supposed to go back Monday to pass the budget, with the House doing it Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

GOPHokie on the Radio

If you guys want to listen, I will be on Fox News Radio 810 AM in Blacksburg tomorrow moring around 8:30 AM.
I will probably be discussing a little about the primary.

UPDATE: Thanks again to Nic Andrews for having me on the radio this morning. I enjoyed it and hope to be back a few more times in the future.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Results Are In

Well Jim Webb has defeated Harris Miller with 53.46% of the vote on 3.44% turnout.
Just to brag a little bit, this is the result I expected in this post.
Also, I guess me or "the gools" will get the title of "The Next Larry Sabato" from this post at Virginia Progressive.

Now that we know who we are against, lets get out there and win this thing for George Allen.

UPDATE: James Martin has declared me the Next Larry Sabato. Do not confuse this with the picture that would suggest I am "Not George Allen".

A Few Hours to Go

By most accounts, it looks like the turnout should be pretty similar to the 2005 dem primary.
Leslie Byrne won that primary and she endorsed Webb. Even so, the people who voted for her showed they wanted the person they agreed with; not the most likely candidate to win.

Heres the question, with most of today's voters being the same ones as 2005; which course will they take? Will they vote for the Leslie Byrne type candidate Harris Miller or for the Leslie Byrne endorsed candidate Jim Webb?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Countdown Begins

In 24 hours or so we should know who George Allen's opponent will be.
Should be an interesting day tomorrow.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Va Dems Hit the Big Time

I just saw this article on Yahoo News about the war of words between the Miller and Webb campaigns.
Its great to see our state getting such great news coverage.

Also, today's RTD has this article on the new Webb mailer of "Miller the Job Killer". Isn't that old news though?

Friday, June 09, 2006

My Take on Webb vs. Miller

Basically the only issue in the Va blogosphere for the past few months has been regarding Tuesday's primary between Jim Webb and Harris Miller. We have heard most all the dem bloggers endorse Jim Webb while most of the Virginia democratic establishment has endorsed Harris Miller.
I think this is very similar to the GOP in 2005 with Bolling vs Connaughton. While I don't think Connaughton had 90+% support from the blogs like Webb has, he had a very commanding lead among bloggers. Conversely, Bolling largely had the support of the Virginia Republican establishment. As we all know, Bolling won a pretty convincing victory in a super low turnout primary last year.
I will agree that these 2 races aren't quite the same from all perspectives, but there still remains the point that the establishment won in our LG race, and basically won the GOP AG and Dem LG races as well.
Alot of dem bloggers seem to think they control their party and are calling Miller to retire from the race due to Webb's "over-arching support". As history has shown, blogs don't give an accurate portrayal of a party's primary voters.
I imagine this will somewhat hold true on Tuesday as well. If Jim Webb breaks 55% it will greatly surprise me, and my prediction is more around the 52% or 53% range. Certainly turnout being so low could create a very interesting outcome, and who turns out will make a big difference. Even so, I think most dems outside the young activist group will probably vote for Miller.

My opinion is that the higher the turnout, the better Miller will do. This is in stark contrast with people like NLS who think just the opposite. My reasoning for this is the nature of the race. It seems to me that Miller's campaign is about money and media, whereas Webb is about grassroots. If the turnout is very, very low Webb will do very well b/c most dems are not interested in who challenges Allen. As turnout rises, it will probably signal that Miller's ads have struck a cord with the democrats who are prepared to turn the Republican in sheep's clothing away from the ballot box. Also, if it is a close race GOP crossover for Miller may actually deliver the race to him.

My final predictions:
Turnout under 2% will see Webb 60+%
Turnout of 2-3% will see Webb between 55-60%
Turnout of 3-5% will see Webb around 52 or 53%
Turnout above 5% will see Webb at or below 50% and probably a Miller victory

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Possible Appointment

NLS is reporting that Sen. Nick Rerras may be appointed to a position in the Kaine administration thereby resulting in a special election in his 6th Senatorial district.
The district is made up of Accomack, Mathews, and Northampton Counties as well as parts of Norfolk and Va Beach.

The 2005 breakdown looks like this:
Kaine won 53.9%-46.1%
Bolling won 51.6%-48.4%
McDonnell won 52.1%-47.9%

This district certainly has the makings of an interesting race. The strategy of this district also makes it even more interesting. Mathews and (usually) Accomack are GOP strongholds whereas Northampton is a dem stronghold. The Va Beach section is GOP, but it only 2 precincts so it has very little effect. Nofolk commands around half of the district, and is a tossup section of the city (Kaine won it 55-45, Bolling won 50.1-49.9 and McDonnell won 51-49).

The basic GOP strategy in this district would typically be to break even in Norfolk city and on the eastern shore, winning Mathews and Va Beach and winning the election. Even so, it looks like the likely dem candidate will be 100th district Delegate Lynwood Lewis.
Since he represents the eastern shore and is from Accomack, it is very likely that he will probably win that area by a pretty good margin (he won 60-40 in 2003). Mathews and Va Beach may be able to cut into that margin some, but the GOP candidate still has to win Norfolk by a decent margin to carry the district.
Bearing Drift is reporting that Pamela Brown of the Norfolk Republican Women would be the likely GOP candidate if this seat came open. I know nothing about her, but the GOP will need to run someone from Norfolk to win this race.

As NLS points out, alot would ride on this race. Since there are 3 vunerable GOPs in NOVA and no other seemingly competitive seats on either side, this race would hold the magic 4th seat the dems need to win in order to regain the Senate majority.

Just remember that we have had several other appointment rumors that have not come to fruition, so maybe we shouldn't jump the gun yet :)

UPDATE: Vivian Page says this isn't going to happen. Time will tell I guess.

CA-50 Special Election

With 97.6% of precincts reporting, Brian Bilbray (R) leads by a 49-45 margin which is 5,000 votes. That seems to be an unsurmountable lead, but I have said that before so we will see.
I will have my analysis of what this race means when the full results are in.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Blogging and the Republican Party of Virginia

There has been plenty of discussion about blogging and the GOP in the last few days.
First we had the comment at state central by Tom Kopko.
Then Chad and Bearing Drift chimed in about how the RPV leadership was not very supportive of the blogosphere, even though Bolling and McDonnell as well as 4th District GOP Chairman Wayne Ozmore is.
And now NLS points out that the GOP has not been seeing many new blogs, whereas the dems have.

First off, the "discussion" at state central was simply Tom Kopko issuing his rant against anonymous blogging and personal attacks. There was virtually no response by the crowd to his comments. Later Wayne Ozmore gave his 4th district update and said blogs were an important force in politics b/c they were an "echo chamber" and b/c they can report news or events that the "mainstream media" doesn't. His statements were also met with little response.

As to who supports and opposes blogs, Bolling, McDonnell and all other elected (or possible candidates) are embracing the blogs to use them in their future campaigns to build grassroots support and have an avenue to get their message out to the base.
As for RPV, they are not very favorable for a few reasons. First, I am sure Kate loves TC's blog after his accusation that she would resign the chairmanship at a hastily called exec meeting. Also, most all blog posts regarding RPV have been negative so the staff at RPV probably isn't big on a press medium that only attacks them. Furthermore, RPV seems to basically be operating as a fundraising mechanism as opposed to a policy setting body, so blogs don't really fit into their purpose.

As to Ben's comment, we probably have too many blogs now, so its not surprising we aren't seeing more people join in.

My overall opinion is that blogging is still alive and well in the GOP and that regardless of how RPV wants to approach us, we will continue to be a force in Virginia politics for awhile.
That being said, I don't see RPV entering the blog arena for quite awhile. It doesn't fit their purpose, and it certainly isn't somewhere they are loved.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Who's More Influential?

In light of the 2 newest pieces of info on the Miller-Webb race, which is better?
First, NLS reported that John Kerry had endorsed Jim Webb.
Next, the liberal standbearer Washington Post endorsed Harris Miller.

So who holds more sway in Virginia dem circles; the presidential loser, or the people who endorsed the presidential loser?