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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Virginia Isn’t Really About Obama

We’re one week out from Election Day in New Jersey and Virginia.
No matter how the governors’ races in those two states turn out, plenty of pundits will argue that the outcomes are a referendum on the Obama Presidency.
At least with Virginia, we’ve got an excellent data point to show that this argument is demonstrably false.
Greg Sargent has looked at the internals of the new Washington Post poll (which puts McDonnell ahead by 11 points) and pulls out one key stat:

Seventy percent of likely voters say Obama is “not a factor” in ther choice. Only 15% say opposition to Obama is a factor, while 14%, say support for him is a factor.

The real issue in the race is the lack of enthusiasm for Deeds’ campaign among those who voted for the president last year. As Marc Ambinder points out, it isn’t so much a gap as it is a chasm.
That said, it’s important to keep in mind that we’ve always had a historic hurdle to cross this year.
For instance, the last time that the party of presidential power won one of the two governors races in an off-year was 1985.

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