Will 50,000 VA Voters Change Their Mind?
That could be the difference in the state turning from red to blue. That, roughly is the number of voters in Virginia that voted for George W. Bush in 2004, that will now have to vote for Barack Obama in 2008.
Follow my logic: (that was greatly assisted by our political analyst Dr. Daniel Palazzolo from the University of Richmond)
In 2004 George W. Bush defeated John Kerry by a total of 262,217 votes. It is that margin that Barack Obama is going to have to make up. According to the final voter registration numbers from the Board of Elections, there are 504,013 new voters they have registered since the 2004 election. That is a record increase in Virginia over a four year period. The 11% jump is slightly better than the increase from 2000 to 2004. <!–[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]–><!–[if gte mso 9]> <![endif]–>
The key to this anaylsis is to predict which precentage of these new voters will vote and then what percentage of those likely voters will vote for Barack Obama. With the help of Dr. Palazzolo, and based on historical trends, I believe that 70% of the new voters will actually show up to the polls. That means 352,209 new voters will cast a ballot November 4th.
The next challenge is to predict, how many of these new voters will vote for Senator Obama. Judging from opinion polls, I think 60% of those new, likely voters will vote for Barack Obama. That provides him with 211,685 votes that weren’t available to John Kerry in 2004.
So if you subtract the amount of new voters we have set aside for Obama, from Bush’s margin of victory in 2004, you are left with a gap of 50,532 voters. More than 50,000 voters, who voted for the Republican Bush in 2004 that will have to vote for the Democrat Obama in 2008. As a percentage it is about 2% of the total voter turnout in 2004.
Now there are any number of variables which could easily impact this prediction one way or another. Voter turnout, especially with new and young voters is highly unpredictable. In fact, Dr. Palazzolo pointed me to this study, which shows that youth voter turnout in Virginia, on average is generally lower than it is in other states. A very significant portion of Virgina’s new voters are young people. Their turnout could be the difference between who wins here in November.
So just to recap:
New Voter Turnout (70% of 504,013)– 352,809
New Obama Voters (60% of 352,809)– 211,685
Margin of Bush Victory in 2004- 262,217
Difference of Voters that will have to change their mind from ’04 to ’08- 50,532