There has been a massive flip from the 2020 election.
Democrats did not think this was possible.
And this one major election change was the bad news that kept Nancy Pelosi up at night.
Democrats won every statewide election in the 21st century in Virginia except in 2009.
Changing demographics and the massive expansion of the federal government leading to more college-educated voters dependent on Washington, D.C. pushed Virginia from a ruby-red state to a solidly blue state over the last 20 years.
Democrats entered this year brimming with confidence over former Governor Terry McAuliffe’s chances to defeat Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin.
But in recent days, the race tightened, and one poll from Mary Washington University showed Youngkin leading McAuliffe 48 to 43 percent among likely voters.
Pundits and elected officials typically use Virginia’s off-year results as a preview of things to come in the following year’s midterm.
In 2009, Bob McDonnell’s blowout win presaged the Tea Party wave of 2010.
And in 2018, Democrat Ralph Northam’s nine-point win over establishment RINO Ed Gillespie signaled to Democrats that 2018 would be a good year for them.
So when the venerated Cook Political Report moved the Virginia gubernatorial race to “toss-up,” Democrats began to panic that the national political environment turned sour for them.
Democrats in Virginia saw signs on the ground that the race was slipping away from them as early voting was down 70,000 votes from 2020.
And while that may be expected since 2020 was a presidential year, Democrats also worried about how the early vote totals in 2021 compared to 2017, considering it was easier to vote early and by mail.
Blue Virginia wrote:
Right now, as of 9/20, we’re at 225,696 total early voting — 195,996 mail ballot requests; 26,473 having voted in person (including Day #1-#3); and 3,226 having voted by mail. This compares to early voting statistics in the 2020 presidential election: 34,739 in person on Day #1 in 2020, 2,748 in-person on Day #2 in 2020, 32,199 in-person on Day #3 in 2020. So clearly, this year we’re starting off at a far slower pace than last year…nearly 70k last year after the first three days having voted in person vs. just over 26k this time around.
Comparing to 2017 – with no COVID pandemic OR a law that encouraged early voting – finds that in 2017, we had 118,124 cast early in-person and 77,510 cast early by-mail. This time around, we’ve had 195,997 mail ballot requests, plus 26,473 voting early/in-person so far. With easier early-voting rules, it seems like we’d be seeing a LOT higher numbers than what we had in 2017, frankly. Why aren’t we? Lack of enthusiasm to vote, or simply no urgency to vote early this time around (but maybe voters will still show up on election day)?
Joe Biden carried Virginia by ten points in 2020.
Voter enthusiasm and momentum are clearly on the side of Youngkin and the Republicans in 2021.
This is despite the fact that Youngkin isn’t even running as much of a conservative and disappointed some voters with his comments on the abortion issue.
The fact that the race is even close represents a bad omen for Democrats, and as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer panicked about holding onto their jobs in 2022.
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