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2024 Leaner Deep Dive and Forecast: Virginia (13 Electoral Votes)

Updated: Jul 13


By CAPT. SETH KESHEL

JUL 03, 2024


VIRGINIA

Basic Election Facts

2024 Electoral Votes: 13

Population (2020 Census): 8,631,394 (+630,369 since 2010)

Likely Population at 2024 Election: 8,750,000

-

Partisanship

Governor Party: Republican

State House Majority: Democrat

State House Majority: Democrat

U.S. House Delegation: 6 Democrats, 5 Republicans

U.S. Senate Delegation: 2 Democrats


Ethnic Demographics (2020 census)

White: 62.8% Black: 18.3% Latino: 10.5% Other: 8.4% -

Presidential History since 1932

Times Republican: 13

Last: George W. Bush, 2004, +8.2% Times Democrat: 10

Last: Joe Biden, 2020, +10.1%


Presidential Election Characteristics

· Virginia removed itself from a “Solid South” Democrat voting pattern (backed all but one Democrat nominee from 1876 through 1948) in the 1950s and supported all but one GOP presidential nominee (Goldwater in 1964) between 1952 and 2004 before its current streak favoring Democrat nominees began in 2008.


· Two worlds collide in The Old Dominion. Northern Virginia, colloquially known as “NoVa,” is made up of ten counties and independent cities largely reliant on the federal government and/or white-collar industries, and is rapidly populating with northeastern transplants and federal workers, while the remainder of the state is rugged, blue-collar, and fits the mold of a Southern conservative state. Currently, the former overpowers the latter.


· In 2016, Donald Trump became the first Republican to win the White House without carrying Virginia since Calvin Coolidge in 1924. Virginia and Colorado have backed the same presidential nominee in all but one election (1992) since 1948.


Looking Back

I have written repeatedly about coalition shifts, a term Richard Baris is fond of using to describe the electoral changes in the Industrial Midwest since Trump arrived on the political scene nearly a decade ago. Pennsylvania and Michigan are much different states now because hundreds of thousands of “blue dog” Democrats no longer vote for their grandfather’s “working man’s” party, largely because they hate regular, everyday Americans even more than the Republican establishment does. They started dropping off in the 2010 midterms, and then for Obama’s reelection, and once they finally got a GOP candidate who spoke their language, came over in droves, creating a see-saw effect that flipped those states, and should have expanded those Trump margins in 2020 if not for massive electoral fraud. Another coalition shift happened in Texas, when hordes of white evangelicals abandoned the Democrat Party in unison at the close of the 20th century.


When Obama won Virginia handily in 2008 (+9.0%), the first Democrat presidential win of The Old Dominion since 1964, it was on the back of a major coalition shift in Northern Virginia (“NoVA”), a grouping of five counties and five independent cities squeezed into the far northeastern corner of the state in close proximity to Washington, D.C. George W. Bush carried five of them (Loudoun, Stafford, and Prince William Counties, plus Manassas and Manassas Park) in 2004, and lost the ten collectively by 56,523 votes, keeping it tight enough for his landslide in “RoVA” (Rest of Virginia, to the locals – +318,740 margin for Bush) to give him a comfortable statewide win, which would be the last to this point on our timeline.


Here is how things have unfolded in NoVa in the four subsequent Republican defeats:

· McCain ‘08 - lost NoVa by 230,574, held only Stafford County

· Romney ’12 – lost NoVa by 225,407, held only Stafford County

· Trump ’16 – lost NoVa by 391,260, held only Stafford County

· Trump ’20 – lost NoVa by 527,709, lost all ten counties and cities



For reference, NoVa and RoVa are shown above in navy blue and orange, respectively. Those ten cities and counties, collectively, charged hard away from Republicans for a combination of factors.


First, the staple Democrats stayed put. Black voters remained firmly in the Democrat column and came out in droves for the first Obama run, counties like Prince William became increasingly diverse, and increased urbanization and population density trended NoVa further left. Second, white, single women increased in number and broke hard to the left. Finally, and most damning, the entrenchment of federal agencies and the regional dependency on the growth of the federal government and its resulting economy, combined with the push of the GOP toward populism in the 2010s, ripped away the moderate segment of the electorate that kept Bush treading water there in 2004 (and he actually won Fairfax County in 2000). For reference, Donald Trump had fewer votes in Fairfax County in 2020 (168,401) than George H.W. Bush did in 1992 (170,488).


My research accounts for a likely estimate of 74,983 fraudulent votes in NoVa in the 2020 presidential race, with none evident in Arlington County or Manassas and Manassas Park at the county/city level (I have to dig into precincts to find signs of disparity). Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford are obviously corrupt, and took advantage of no-excuse mail-in balloting in the 2020 presidential race. It is apparent to me, given that I’ve estimated 297,664 likely fraudulent Biden ballots in Virginia’s 2020 race (and just a 3.7% margin of Biden victory instead of 10.1%), that the vast majority of the cheating is woven through the 123 remaining counties and independent cities in RoVA – the Rest of Virginia. In fact, these 222,681 other likely fakes are responsible for dragging Trump’s RoVa margin down from +179,230 in 2016 to just +72,596.


The final tallies should have looked more like this:

· Biden adjusted margin in NoVA: +452,726 (the bad news – 61,466 worse for Trump than 2016).

· Trump adjusted margin in RoVA: +295,277 (would have been enough to carry Virginia with Romney’s 2012 losing margin in NoVa).


Looking Forward

I view Virginia like I view Minnesota, New Mexico, or any other white whale “blue state” out there. If it is won by Trump in 2024, it will be won on top of a likely national landslide. I don’t think Virginia should be targeted more than the six contested states of 2020, and I don’t think it creates a new electoral college pathway by itself unless Trump selects Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s Republican governor, as his running mate. Also, use caution in believing Virginia is “red again” just because a few races at the top of the ticket went Republican three years ago. Youngkin and allies came into office in an off-year (2021) election with an unpopular Democrat president fresh off a disastrous evacuation from Afghanistan, and had substantially fewer votes than Trump did in 2020, with his opponent, Terry McAuliffe, a whopping 815,100 ballots behind Joe Biden’s count (which should amplify just how much cheating there was in The Old Dominion in 2020, which stopped its vote count when people were busy panicking over the Rust Belt).


Assessment

July 3, 2024

Polling and Modeling

· 538 expects Biden to carry Virginia with 76% likelihood as of the time of this writing, and by an average of 5.8%.

· The Economist forecast has a similar projection, giving Biden a 67% chance of winning it, but projecting only a 0.8% margin of victory.


· Poll – June – Beacon Research – Biden +1%

· Poll – May – Roanoke College Inst. For Policy and Opinion Research – Biden +2%

· Poll – May – McLaughlin and Associates – Biden +4%

· Poll – April – Fabrizio, Lee and Associates – Biden +1% Party Registration Data

· Virginia does not register voters by party.

-Keshel Forecast July 3, 2024 Biden +3-5%


Virginia’s population has grown at a balanced rate. NoVa contributed 29.3% of the state’s vote in 2004, when Bush won it, 31.0% in 2016, and 31.2% in 2020. Adjusting for a big Trump turnout in RoVa and deducting fraudulent ballots in NoVa, it still would have contributed an even 30.0% of all ballots in 2020. The good news here is that the counties and cities of NoVa contributing less than a third of the vote don’t qualify Virginia as one of 18 states in which a single county (or in this case, a region) determines the electoral outcome of a state.


What I am going to say here is going to be a hard to swallow pill. The current rendition of the Republican Party under Trump is not compatible with modern Virginia, the land of Washington and Jefferson, and this may be a good thing for the rest of the country. You wouldn’t have Trump campaigning in Maryland, because the southern portion of Maryland has the same political dynamics as NoVa. The only thing distinguishing Virginia from Maryland and making the state reasonably competitive is a massive swath of land extending into the south and into Appalachia that helps blot out what would otherwise be devastating margins on a piece of land the size of Maryland. What is Trump supposed to do to get votes in NoVA? Show up and have a rally in Arlington and say, “When I return to the White House, I’m going to shut down every deep state agency in sight, cancel every global trade deal and defense arrangement by which you all profit, and move every remaining agency, those I don’t outright shut down, to Kentucky, Kansas, and New Mexico.”?


Yes, Virginia could probably be a toss-up again, but it would be a toss-up when the Republican nominees are more like their governor, Youngkin, whom almost none of you reading my work on social media like. That would release the massive grip the America First agenda has on Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and several other key states. He is non-offensive, slick, well-spoken, and palatable enough to Beltway moderates that he didn’t get crushed bad enough in NoVa, which allowed him to sneak into the Governor’s Mansion by a less than comfortable margin (again, in an off-year election with a historically unpopular Democrat president). I am not speaking negatively of his performance as governor, but merely reflecting on the political calculus that presides over the current state of affairs in Virginia.


Now, back to the 2024 race. I do think, in an election cycle free out ridiculous cheating, Virginia could be a true toss-up this year – not a Trump +5, but most likely within 3% on the left, and within an eyelash on the right. Trump should have won Stafford County in 2020, but that’s it as far as NoVa is concerned. The game in NoVa is about limiting the damage. Prince Wiliam County, won by Bush, is now the first county in the state to have a minority- majority population, and may well have a surprisingly close result, and perhaps Trump’s improvement with the black vote will save him some margin in Fairfax, but he’s probably going to get hammered in Arlington and Alexandria, which are full of left-wing, white government workers, consultants, and feminist women. If we can save some margin and win back some ground in Loudoun County, then Trump may be able to get back down to where I think 2020’s NoVa defeat margin should have been – roughly 450,000 votes.


This is where it is critical for election integrity watchdogs (special hat tip to Colonel John Mills, Thomas Kasperek, and Ken Vande Vrede for their hard work) to get busy – RoVa. Trump’s vote increases in RoVa were astounding over his performance in 2016, but he lost over 100,000 votes in margin from one campaign to the next, and lost back the cities of Lynchburg, Chesapeake, and James City, plus the large and vital Republican strongholds Virginia Beach and Chesterfield County. Ballot harvesting is tightly governed according to Virginia law, but is almost certainly being used to rot GOP margins in RoVa. This is aided by the implementation of Automatic Voter Registration in 2020, which fuels the voter roll database with extra registrations that fend off any potential upstart challenges, such as the one Trump is looking to make in 2024 (Biden won or “won” 18 of 20 states in 2020 that operated Automatic Voter Registration - 243 electoral votes to 9).


For now, Virginia looks like lean Biden, within 5%; however, Trump’s gains with minorities, combined with his V.P. choice and prolonged incumbent fallout may open a limited window. I agree with the current forecasts that Virginia is a long shot, but not outside the realm of possibility if the perfect storm builds.


How Trump Can Win

· Target Loudoun, Stafford, and Prince William Counties in NoVa, with a margin of defeat in NoVa as close to -400,000 as possible.


· Work the campaign in RoVa, as was just done with the Chesapeake rally, which if the NoVa target margin if met, will require a margin greater than +400,000 in RoVa to tilt the state. This is only possible if Democrat ballot stuffing in Trump- favorable areas is squashed.


· Flip back Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Counties and hope a substantial gain in the minority vote creates an unexpectedly large shift in margin. Black and Latino voters make up about one- quarter of the voter roll in the state, thereby contributing between 1.0 and 1.1 million ballots, so even a 10% improvement would shift 100,000 in margin. Leon Benjamin, a friend and fighter, knows this better than most and has been hard at work for years spreading the truth.


For all 2024 analysis, link to Captain K’s 2024 Electoral College Situation Room.



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