Virginia: McAuliffe Overcoming the GOP’s Turnout Advantage

If Virginia’s gubernatorial contest was a fight between two equal candidates nominated by two equally evil parties, as it was initially billed, Ken Cuccinelli would have been a modest favorite. The state has a slight but clear Republican lean in an off year election, when Virginia’s new Democratic coalition of young and non-white voters is disproportionately likely to stay home.

But clearly, Virginia voters do not think this is not a contest of two equally evil candidates and parties. The latest Quinnipiac survey shows McAuliffe taking a 6 point lead, 48-42. …

Turnout does not “favor” Democrats in the Quinnipiac poll. Party ID is an attitude, not an immutable characteristic. We don’t have a great idea of what it would look like if Democrats got a “good” or “bad” turnout in 2013. If you want to see whether Democrats are getting their 2012-esque turnout advantage, check the verifiable stuff, like age and race. By those reliable metrics, it’s completely obvious that this is not the 2012 electorate. And yet, McAuliffe still has a distinct advantage. [cont.]

Nate Cohn, New Republic