For years, Virginia was a solidly Republican state in presidential elections. Not even Bill Clinton could do what Obama did, which was turn the state blue. Then again, the state did not have an elected Republican governor until 1970. At some level, the state’s electorate was willing to consider Democratic candidates. The swing status of Virginia may become the new norm, too, as the Hispanic population increased by 91.7% between the two most recent census counts.
Organizing for America, a Democratic voter mobilization group, holds a 4% advantage in voter contact. However, that won’t be enough to overcome the tide of Romney’s support in the state. Despite the Democrats making a strong push for early voting among their base, are showing an advantage in early polling as well. It appears that Romney’s making a strong push to turn the state back to red in the presidential contest, and the fact that Virginia has a conservative Governor in Bob McDonnell has to help with the electorate. Real Clear Politics has the average of polls putting Romney ahead by 0.5%, although recent polls have swung back and forth between the two candidates.
The one sticking point has been the ability of the Republican Party of Virgina to work with local groups. This may negatively affect George Allen. Allen is the former senator who six years ago lost to Jim Webb after a major gaffe on the campaign trail, and this “macaca” moment of six years ago is still hanging around his neck a bit. Currently, Allen is trailing in his senate race against Democrat Tim Kaine. Allen may not have enough to make it over the line given the combination of his own mistakes.
Coordinating successful campaign efforts can be a difficult endeavor in such a tense season.
Nonetheless, the feeling in the state is that Romney is heading for a hard fought victory, but that George Allen will not pick up the seat he lost six years ago. The changing landscape of Virginia's demographics make it a likely swing state in years to come. For now, we'll have to see how those demographics play out in two tough contests for Republicans.
Editor's Note: Each day, Rob Lee will provide analysis of key swing states leading up to the election. Each of these states are identified as swing states by Real Clear Politics. In addition to the presidential contest, each state also offers an array of competitive Senate and House races that will influence the agenda of the president, whoever emerges victorious next week. Tune back in tomorrow as Ohio is evaluated.