Is Virginia a Bellwether?


At the moment, Democrat Terry McAuliffe has a decent lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia gubernatorial race. It’s way early to declare victory, of course, and I’m lukewarm about McAuliffe generally. But what’s interesting here is that McAuliffe is ahead mostly because he has a huge lead among women.

The shift in the race has come almost exclusively from female voters, who prefer McAuliffe by a 24-point margin over Cuccinelli. The candidates were effectively tied among women in a Washington Post poll in May.

McAuliffe’s strength among women is probably due in part to an intense campaign to portray Cuccinelli as a threat to women and the issues they care about most deeply. A new McAuliffe ad, for instance, features a Norfolk OB-GYN speaking directly to the camera about how she is “offended” by Cuccinelli’s position on abortion.

We saw a lot of this during the 2012 elections, but it’s so good to find Dems unabashedly supporting abortion rights and learning this can win elections for them.

Dave Wiegel doesn’t mention McAuliffe’s support among women, but says the GOP is gobsmacked that McAuliffe is winning.

What mystifies Republicans is that McAuliffe, who they consider a homonoculus made of pure sleaze, trounces Cuccinelli on questions of “trustworthiness” and ethics. Voters simply know more, and worry more, about Cuccinelli’s financial scandals than about McAuliffe’s. And they narrowly prefer the Democrats in the downballot lieutenant governor and attorney general races, before Democrats have really gotten on the air to amplify the social conservative positions of the GOP candidates. (LG candidate E.W. Jackson is the guy who worries that Satan might fill the hearts of people who engage in meditation. For an example.)

It’s by no means clear that Republicans know how to combat this. The most effective ad I’ve seen (in D.C., we get a decent amount of Virginia TV) comes from Citizens United; it condenses their documentary about McAuliffe’s failing businesses and disappointed employees into a spot reminiscent of the anti-Romney spots that worked so well in 2012. More recently, I saw this spot from the new Super PAC Fight for Tomorrow. It started running on September 12.

[The ad is a hoot, btw]

The ad speaks to the conservative frustration with Virginia — how, how, how can voters not see that McAuliffe is a Democratic sleeper agent? In a fundraising pitch, FF asks for “$400,000-$600,000” to run the ad and promises that Virginia “can be a Gettysburg for the whole Obama-Clinton nightmare.”

I haven’t spent enough time in Virginia to have a feel for what works there and what doesn’t. If you ran that ad in New York City media, people might assume they were watching a rerun from Saturday Night Live. And if McAuliffe is a radical leftie, I’m a blowfish.

Republicans accuse McAuliffe of being obsessed with social issues. That’s rich, considering Cuccinelli’s war on oral sex.

This race could easily tighten up again before it’s over. But if McAuliffe wins because of women’s votes, it would make the GOP crazy. Heh.

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  1. biggerbox  •  Sep 24, 2013 @1:23 pm

    That ad is amazing! I’m a bit surprised they didn’t include the Illuminati and Freemasons among their “gang of 5″ groups that are conspiring to destroy Virginia. Wow.

    I can imagine that ad getting some traction, but mostly with those who would be willing to give money to the Cooch already, and those too poor to donate, but stupid enough to blame their condition on ‘those damn librul Dimmicrats”.

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 24, 2013 @1:25 pm

    So much fear in 60 seconds.
    Too much fear, in 60 seconds.
    And all of it, crap!
    It is, though, a pretty fair list of all of the Conservative’s Liberal Boogey Men who hide underneath the beds, and in their closets.

    And whodathunkit?
    If you treat women like crap, they might decide that they don’t want to vote for you.

    Also too – has there ever been a politician more aptly named, than EWWWWWW! Jackson?

  3. moonbat  •  Sep 24, 2013 @1:31 pm

    Love to see Republicans desperately blowing money on advertising that will appeal to no one outside their crazed base (who need no such expensive prodding). That ad is crammed full of keywords and memes that have little or no charge outside the conservative bubble. I’m glad I don’t live in a state as apparently nutso/schizophrenic as Virginia.

  4. justme277  •  Sep 24, 2013 @2:41 pm

    How on earth can Virginia be for lovers if you can’t lickalotofpuss? You point to the polls where McAuliffe is ahead(no pun) with women. And I say BRAVO to the women of the state who don’t want to add oral sex to the list of things they are willing to do without. I guess those Virginia women have a southern strategy all of their own( pun intended there!).

  5. syskill  •  Sep 24, 2013 @2:51 pm

    But if McAuliffe wins because of women’s votes, it would make the GOP crazy. Heh.

    I foresee ALEC circulating model legislation for the repeal of the 19th amendment.

  6. Swami  •  Sep 24, 2013 @3:32 pm

    justme277… 🙂

  7. moonbat  •  Sep 24, 2013 @3:56 pm

    How on earth can Virginia be for lovers..

    Apparently those who fear for their precious bodily fluids are afraid of too much of a good thing…

  8. Bill Bush  •  Sep 24, 2013 @4:12 pm

    We should announce that Democrats are smearing bodily fluids on voting machines and then watch how many gloved Republican voters show up on election day. It would be fun!

  9. Swami  •  Sep 24, 2013 @4:25 pm

    Masters and Johnson in their study on human sexuality “proved” that there was a correlation between those who engaged in oral sex with being of a higher intelligence level. Not that it’s gonna make you smarter by engaging in it.. just that there is a connection to intelligence. Maybe because smarter people can think outside the box?

  10. maha  •  Sep 24, 2013 @4:38 pm

    think outside the box?


  11. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 24, 2013 @4:57 pm

    I take pride in the fact that, unlike our great Swami, that pun never occurred to me. 😉

  12. erinyes  •  Sep 24, 2013 @4:57 pm

    Humm….Australian aquatic mammal banned from Virginia ? Good one,Harley gal !

  13. goatherd  •  Sep 24, 2013 @5:10 pm

    There was an old joke as I recall, “He/she thinks oral sex is just talking about it.”

    Maybe I’d better stop there.

    Thanks for the “Dr. Strangelove” clip, moonbat. It brought this to mind, regarding the underground compound.

  14. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 25, 2013 @6:54 am

    OT – Drama queen Ted Cruz-ader is “filibustering” Obamacare.

    As part of his bloviation-fest, he read from Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham.”

    I bet that makes the ‘FOX It Sucks’ viewers very happy.
    FINALLY, SOMETHING they can understand!
    Except the message of course – which is that if you try ‘Green Eggs and Obamacare,’ you just might find you’d like it.

    I finally realized that “Idiocracy” was really a documentary.

  15. BlueLoom  •  Sep 25, 2013 @8:50 am

    [Speaking from the badlands of Northern Virginia]

    If you think Cooch and EEWWWWWWWWWWW Jackson are bad, how about the GOP nominee for AG: Mark Obenshain, a member of the VA senate. He once proposed legislation that would have required a woman who has a spontaneous miscarriage to report it to the police. No vote was ever taken on the bill; he later withdrew it.

    And of course just last year (or the year before–these things blur in my mind) there was the infamous bill to require vaginal ultrasounds before abortions. The (mostly male) legislature ultimately recoiled in horror when they learned what is actually involved in this procedure.

    Is it any wonder that we Virginia women are voting Democratic in droves?

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