Election insights from political analyst Bob Holsworth

CBS 6 political analyst Bob Holsworth stopped by our class on Tuesday to share his insights on the upcoming gubernatorial election in Virginia.

 

By Samantha Morgan (@sammorganvcu)

holsworthHolsworth said that most states fall into one of two categories, either a “blue state” if it leans Democratic, or a “red state” if it leans Republican. However, recently Virginia has emerged as a very competitive state for elections, now owning the title of being a “purple state.” That title basically means that Virginia can go either way in an election.

The cause of this shift away from being distinctly one way or the other lies in the changing demographics of Virginians, said Holsworth. Virginia in general is experiencing a growth in minorities. Polls show that minority voters really helped push Obama to win Virginia in the last two presidential elections. Another trend showing up in the last two presidential elections is the fact that more metropolitan areas in Virginia sway Democratic, while more rural areas are claimed by the Republicans.

While presidential elections have started to lean Democratic, for gubernatorial elections this may not be the case. Voter turnout is significantly less for voting in gubernatorial elections than in presidential elections. And, according to Holsworth, the least likely group to vote for governor is young voters. That is why the campaign of Terry McAuliffe is very active on its social media platforms. Holsworth said that the McAuliffe team is banking on the young voters, and the best way to reach out to them is through platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Ken Cuccinelli’s camp is relying on the older generations to come out to vote, and historically the older Virginians turn out for gubernatorial elections. While historical odds are backing him, Cuccinelli has a few unique challenges. The McDonnell “Gift Gate” scandal, as referred to by Holsworth, has put the Cuccinelli campaign on the defensive. Ads placed against McAuliffe are trying to highlight alleged character flaws in an attempt to level the playing field once again.

We can all speculate who will win the election, but as Holsworth noted, you never know until the final results are in.

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