Analyzing Swing States: Virginia, Conclusions

This is the last part of a series of posts analyzing the swing state Virginia, which aims to offer some concluding thoughts. The previous parts can be found starting here.


As a state, Virginia’s population has always been located in three metropolitan areas: the Northern Virginia suburbs south of Washington D.C., Richmond and its suburbs, and the communities surrounding Hampton Roads. Together these three places compose more than half of Virginia’s electorate:

In all three metropolitan areas, Democrats have been improving their margins. Virginia’s suburbs, expansive and traditionally Republican, have shifted leftwards with startling quickness. This movement has been most apparent in the largest of its suburbs, rich and diverse Northern Virginia. The addition of NoVa to Virginia’s heavily Democratic, heavily black cities has given the Democratic Party a coalition that has won a number of recent elections.

Not everything has gone badly for the Republican Party. They have captured a formerly loyal Democratic constituency – the Appalachian west, which voted Democratic based on economic appeals. Moreover, they still dominate the rural whites who in bygone days voted Democratic:

Modified NYT Image

Thus, Virginia today is a state in change, like most states. Parts of it are shifting left and parts of it are shifting right; in aggregate, the effect has been to change it from a solidly Republican to swing state. Undoubtedly, other states will and are moving in the opposite direction.

Colorado, the next state in this series, is probably not one of those Republican-shifting states.

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3 Responses to Analyzing Swing States: Virginia, Conclusions

  1. rolliewinter says:

    I found and posted on the 4th installment of this excellent series covering Virginia entering a swing status. And I agree with you that this will continue to be a hard slog. I live in Loudoun and just finished the book I was writing: Swing County. It can be found at the website by that name or on Amazon and Kindle. Hope you have a chance to see it – would love any input you could give me.

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