Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why Deeds Lost In Virginia

Hint: It's not because they don't want health care:
Instead of attempting to energize more young and minority voters to the polls to make the electorate more representative of Virginia–they began running a campaign targeted to the people already planning to vote. Creigh began bashing federal Democratic priorities like “Cap and Trade” and health care reform to appeal to the conservatives that were headed to the polls.

And every time he did it, polls indicated turnout shriveled even further among Democrats and progressive voters–making the electorate even older, whiter, and more conservative. To which Creigh responded to by bashing federal Democrats more–which resulted in even more progressives becoming disengaged. Over and over, the cycle continued. Over the last six weeks, PPP polls indicated the share of the electorate that identified as Democrats declined from 38% to 31%. In other words almost one out of every five self-identified Democrats planning to vote on Labor Day has since then looked at Creigh Deeds and his conservative message, and decided they weren’t voting. Ouch!

The people feeling this voter depression most are Democrats running downballot from Creigh for Lt. Governor, Attorney General and the House of Delegates. When an upballot candidate loses because Independents break against them, downballot candidates still have a chance by winning those Independent voters back to vote for them. But when an upballot candidate depresses the base and changes the composition of the electorate, there is nothing a downballot candidate can do. Which is the major reason why Republicans will sweep all three statewide offices today and make major gains in the House of Delegates, barring a last minute miracle.

The lesson for candidates in 2010 is clear: do not depress your base when our electorate is already far less likely to vote than Republicans to begin with. Successful candidates in 2010 will find a way to engage young voters and minority voters so they come back to the polls–and AFTER they do that, work on winning over enough Independents to win.

It would be nice if this election killed this crappy strategy once and for all, but the media seems to think Deeds lost because Obama is increasing the deficit or something, so I'm not getting my hopes up.

1 comment:

  1. apparently you didnt get the memo JJ- deeds lost because america has finally had a referendum on the socialist obamination in office. i think karl rove and bill kristol were very clear about that last night.