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Virginia & New Jersey: Democratic Warning Flags & Republican Opportunities

by Michelle Diggles,Third Way


The narrative of 2013 thus far has been the victory of pragmatism over dogmatic adherence to ideology, moderation and bipartisan compromise over extreme partisanship. Those on the Left may be tempted to view their victory in Virginia as a demographic inevitability, running up numbers with voters who are all but guaranteed to be Democrats for life. But buried within the polling are warning signs for Democrats and opportunities for Republicans.

Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe won the 18-29 year-old vote by a bare margin of 45% to 40%. A surprising 15% voted for Robert Sarvis, which marked the highest level of support the libertarian candidate received from any age group. By contrast, President Obama won 60% of younger voters in 2008 and 2012 in Virginia. But last night’s election proves that President Obama’s large margins of victory among younger voters cannot be assumed to simply transfer to other Democratic candidates. McAuliffe may have secured a plurality of the youth vote, but he was down 15 points from President Obama’s margin.

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Demography is Not Destiny

The last two presidential elections have left Republicans reeling and Democrats crowing. But can Democrats rely on demographic changes to consistently deliver them to power in future elections? Are Hispanics, Asians, and Millennials brand-loyal to the Democratic Party? Has an enduring liberal majority finally arrived?

Maybe not. 

Obscured within analyses of 2012 is a set of illusions about voters—illusions that could be dangerous and, if Democrats embrace them, could threaten the Party’s electoral prospects in the future. 

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Obama Pollster: Romney’s ‘Harsh’ Immigration Stands Will Hurt Him

At our Inside Politics press breakfast this morning, President Obama’s “Pollster General” Joel Benenson said Mitt Romney’s harsh immigration stands will hurt him with Hispanics, but that his biggest vulnerability is being out of touch with ordinary voters. Read more from the National Journal here