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, December 27, 2006

Tidewater Effects

Last week I posted on the recent results from NOVA and Richmond and how they have changed in the past 3 elections. Today we will look at the results from the greater Hampton Roads area and then look at the entire "urban cresent" of Virginia.

First we begin in the African-American heavy areas of Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Portsmouth.
The results were: Kerry +37,745; Kaine +39,811; Webb +38,131
This is in contrast to the Richmond AA areas that had smaller margins for dems in lower turnout elections. There are any number of reasons why this phenomenon happened.

The next area is the Tidewater "suburbs" of Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach.
The results were: Bush +48,155; Kaine +4295; Allen +10,034
This 38k vote swing was the largest shift from Bush-Allen of all the sub areas in the urban cresent. Part of this is attributable to this area being very military and defense heavy; where they vote strongly GOP when they go to the polls. Typically presidential elections are the only time these people vote, therefore severely cutting the GOP margin. Also the thing to look at is that in presidential election the GOP is up 11k going into the exurbs and the rest of the state. By 2006 we were down 28k.

The "exurbs" of Hampton Roads are the last area. They are the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, and York with Poquoson and Williamsburg.
The results were: Bush +31,508; Kilgore +4548; Allen +12,529
This area also saw a large GOP drop, due to the same reasons as the suburbs. To show the full damage of the Kilgore downfall; here the exurbs barely were able to offset the suburbs sending all the AA locale margins west.

The total Tidewater results were:
Bush +41,918; Kaine +30,968; Webb +15,568
As you can see, the GOP dropoff here is pretty even with Richmond and NOVA if you factor population. Yet again we see evidence that NOVA isn't the only problem ailing the GOP; even though at least this area is hurting us b/c of turnout and not as much of a growing trend. We will need another presidential election to see if this area is trending dem at the national level.

The final results for the entire "urban cresent" were:
Bush +67,973; Kaine +142,614; Webb +100,770
As I explained before, the problem is that in 2004 Richmond offset NOVA and sent 26k into Tidewater, where we gained another 42k votes. With no more major democratic areas in the state, Bush cruised to a big victory. By 2006, Richmond was only able to offset Tidewater and the 100k+ dem margin from NOVA was sent downstate and was too big for the Valley and SW/Southside to counter.

Going forward people need to understand that the democratic victories have been wins in the overall suburban community and not just NOVA. That means the GOP needs to wake up and start trying to tackle that community and not harp on only NOVA. It also tells the dems that a misguided strategy of pushing only NOVA will probably still not be enough to win.

The last thing this shows is that Virginia is still probably not going to be "in play" per se in 2008 due to the large GOP margin that will usually come from Hampton Roads that is usually absent in most other elections. If the GOP can hold their numbers in Richmond and Tidewater in 2008; NOVA will have to turn even harder to the dems to "turn Virginia blue".


  • At 12/27/2006 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good analysis.

    The african american areas in Hampton Roads and Peninsula always have higher turnout than similar areas in Richmond/Henrico.

    The historic triangle area is turning with affluent retirees from the Northeast and Midwest, they visit Historic Wmsbg and send their kids go to W&M, and then years later they retire there. Kaine was able to tap into the growth concerns far better than Kilgore on the Peninsula. York still has enough defense contractors and engineers to keep it Republican but the GOP has to work hard on the Peninsula.

    Cheasapeake votes GOP in Presidentials, but it's a tossup in other races now. VB still leans GOP. Suffolk still has a conservative Democrat flavor to it.

  • At 12/27/2006 2:19 PM, Blogger James Atticus Bowden said…

    Tidewater can produce a lot of GOP votes if there is a Conservative running. If there isn't a social, economic, defense Conservative running, then votes will be peeled off hither and yon issue by issue.

    The Baby Boomers (my generation) of well to do Yankees retiring in James City County and Williamsburg are a mixed lot. They're not all Liberals.

  • At 12/28/2006 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Didn't say they were all liberals, and you do have families with kids leaving Newport News and Hampton and moving to York or James City because of the schools a quality of life issues. This is an area that thought Virginia was moving into the right direction in 05 and wanted some attention to growth (look at the 05 James City board of sups races). James City will become up for grabs depending on candidates. I think York with the defense/NASA heavy lower part will remain 55-60% I used to live in upper York.

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