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, July 19, 2006

Keys to the Election - Roanoke Metro

The Roanoke Metro area is very important in the electoral map of Virginia because of its an area that can result in a big win for the GOP or the dems. For our analysis I will be considering the "Roanoke metro area" to be Roanoke County, Roanoke City and Salem City.
Since at least 1996, every statewide candidate that won the Roanoke metro area went on to win the election.
Here are the results for the metro area and (statewide):
'05 Gov: Kilgore - 47.4%, Kaine - 52.6%; (46-51.7)
'05 LG: Bolling - 53%, Byrne - 47%; (50.5-49.3)
'05 AG: McDonnell - 51.2%, Deeds - 48.8%; (50-50)
'04 Pres: Bush - 58.1%, Kerry - 41.9%; (53.7-45.4)
'01 Gov: Earley - 46.5%, Warner - 53.5%; (47-52.1)
'01 LG: Katzen - 49.3%, Kaine - 50.7%; (48-50.4)
'00 Pres: Bush - 54.8%, Gore - 45.2%; (52.5-44.4)
'00 Sen: Allen - 53.3%, Robb - 46.7%; (52.2-47.7)
'97 Gov: Gilmore - 57.6%, Beyer - 42.4%; (55.8-42.6)
'97 LG: Hager - 50.1%, Payne - 49.9%; (50.2-45.1)
'97 AG: Earley - 59.2%, Dolan - 40.8%; (57.5-42.4)
'96 Pres: Dole - 50.6%, Clinton - 49.4%; (51.1-48.9)
'96 Sen: John Warner - 50.7%, M Warner - 49.3%; (52.6-47.4)

As you can see, the Roanoke results are typically close to statewide results, and is important to any statewide candidate who must carry this area to win.

The other important thing to remember about this area is that in big GOP wins like 2004, Salem city basically offset Roanoke city leaving Roanoke county to start offsetting NOVA losses. Conversely, in 2005 Kilgore had to go into Botetourt and Bedford to offset the Roanoke losses. Those votes will make a big difference when we see how far the NOVA offset stretches.

This area is very important to keep in mind for the election this year b/c Allen should do well here due to his rural appeal; but Webb' consultant Mudcat Saunders, who lives next door in Franklin county and engineered Warner's strength in this area, could even the playing field. If NOVA is as weak as it appears for the GOP, Allen will need to get a big win from this area to win. The more votes he can send from here to NOVA, the better he will be.


  • At 7/19/2006 4:10 PM, Anonymous brimur said…

    Really fascinating analysis. Looks like Roanoke is the new Fairfax County. The swingingest of swing.

  • At 7/19/2006 10:38 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    It looks like Roanoke is actually becoming like Lynchburg in that the GOP will probably always win the area in the future, but they have to win it big.

  • At 7/20/2006 8:28 AM, Anonymous Bubby said…

    Huh? The GOP will probably always win the area? Where do we get that? The last two Governors (D) won strongly in metro Roanoke. Mark Warner almost caught the well liked incumbent John Warner, and George Allen rode coat-tails that no longer exist. Roanoke voters really, really pay attention to the issues - and they will be asking themselves what has George Allen done for us? Meanwhile, the MZM Inc. / Rep. Virgil Goode illegalities play daily - a few kliks down the road in wilting southside. I just don't see a bump, let alone a groundswell for team GOP.

  • At 7/20/2006 10:26 AM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    If you look at trends in presidential races the GOP seems to be getting stronger every election here.
    That may or may not transfer into other statewide strength, but it probably suggests we will be stronger there in federal elections if nothing else.

  • At 7/20/2006 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    I thought that both Warner and Kaine won Lynchburg.

  • At 7/20/2006 2:34 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    I meant to say "Lynchburg area" which is not only the city but Bedford, Appomattox, Campbell and Amherst counties.
    I am fairly certain no dem has won that entire area in a long while.
    You are correct that Warner and Kaine did win the city of Lynchburg though.


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