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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Biden-Youngkin Voters

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state elections.  The 2021 Virginia governor's race was a  curtain-raiser for the midterms.

Greg Sargent at WP reports on a Democratic Governors Association study of the 2021 Virginia governor race, which finds a bloc of "Biden-Youngkin voters."
The analysis’s central finding — one that will worry Democrats — is that a sizable bloc of Biden voters in Virginia cannot be thought of as reliable Democratic voters in any long-term sense. The study, which polled more than 2,400 Virginia voters, found that 9 percent of Biden voters who participated in both the 2020 and 2021 elections switched to Youngkin.
Who are these Biden-Youngkin voters? More than half — 52 percent — were independents, according to the analysis, which was conducted by Democratic pollster Geoff Garin for help in understanding 2022 gubernatorial and congressional races.

Large majorities of these Biden-Youngkin voters were male, were White or had four-year college diplomas. In a worrisome finding for Democrats, around 15 percent were Black and 8 percent were Latino.

“We need to address the long-term problems that exist for Democrats with Latinos and black men,” the analysis concludes.
Indeed, the analysis suggests many moderate, White, educated and/or independent voters were alienated enough by Trump to support Biden, but only temporarily: They can be recaptured by a positive-sounding Republican who keeps Trump at a distance (while surreptitiously communicating in a Trumpist idiom to the base).

Losing Democrat Terry McAuliffe worked hard to tie Youngkin to Trump, which failed. But this wasn’t a uniform failure: The analysis finds that highlighting Trump did help drive Democratic base turnout, which was unexpectedly decent.

So one takeaway is that Democratic campaigns must improve their target messaging to the Democratic base about Trump and his radicalization of the GOP — especially because the former president still looms over our politics — while developing a better appeal to voters who aren’t decisively alienated by him.

Which brings us to education. In another warning, the analysis concludes:

The issue of education stands out as the number one issue motivating Biden/Youngkin voters to switch their votes.

The analysis advises: “We need to retake education as a winning issue for Democrats.”