#rsrh …Dagnabbit, I need better crosstabs on these polls.

I just had to throw out four hours of work on a post on Virginia’s Romney/Obama Head-to-Head situation because I don’t really have the data to answer the question What percentage of the white vote can Obama reasonably expect in Virginia in 2012? This is important because (what follows is very much back-of-the-envelope calculating, based off of the NYT exit polls) if Obama gets 40% of the white vote (the percentage he won in 2008) and nothing else changes, he wins Virginia; if Romney gets 68% (the percentage Bush won in 2004) and nothing else changes, then he wins Virginia, by about the same percentage that Obama did*. Unfortunately, it’s still too early to make any kind of confident statement about which percentage of the white vote each candidate will get.

But it’s looks like it’s going to be that demographic that’s going to be the key to VA…

Moe Lane

*I know that this sounds weird, but look at the exit polls.  CNN’s has the 2004 demographics for VA as 72/21/3/2/2 White/Black/Latino/Asian/Other; the NYT’s for 2008 was 70/20/5 White/Black/Latino.  Even if you take the NYT’s numbers and assume that: Black turnout will be the same percentage of the voting population and the same percentage voting for Obama (92/8, and not impossible); AND that the 10% that’s effectively “Other” will vote for Obama at the same percentage (again 92/8, and highly unlikely)… if Romney gets Bush’s percentage of the white vote then it still comes out as a dead tie.

2012 R D % R D
White 68% 32% 70% 476 224
Black 8% 92% 20% 16 184
Latino 8% 92% 10% 8 92
50% 50%

You can muck with the numbers quite a bit (for example, the NYT had the Latino vote in 2008 as being a much better 34/65 McCain/Obama) and this is all rough and not particularly ready guesstimating anyway.  but the point here is that – contra the narrative – the suggestion from the exit polls is that Virginia’s African-American population didn’t come out in relatively higher proportions in 2008 than they did in 2004.  That implies that they should not be the focus of the Democrats this cycle; white voters (specifically, white Democratic voters) should be, instead.


  • qsclues says:

    Even before your last paragraph, I was thinking that there was no way the Latino/Asian vote was going 92% for Obama. Personally, I don’t see Obama winning VA, NC or FL, which means he’s got a really big uphill climb. But maybe that’s just the optimist in me.

  • OU812 says:

    Oh great, so VA is going to go to the Dems?

    • Moe_Lane says:

      ….Actually, if these numbers hold up then the Democrats are in real trouble (they also need to have a better campaigner than Tim Kaine, whose reputation seems to be a bit inflated). Romney doing about halfway between McCain & Bush with white voters (and all else being equal) would probably be enough.

  • Wombat-socho says:

    Considering that the Administration is widely perceived to have written off the working-class white vote, I think Obama has about as much chance of winning Virginia as he does of swimming to Hawaii. Then again, I’m not a political professional.

  • jocon307 says:

    No white person with 1/2 a brain will vote for Obama this time.

    What’s he done for the white man? Nothing.

    What’s he done for the black man? Nothing.

    All he has done is go golfing.

    Get RID of him.

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