If you wanted to know whether Democrats will be able to recreate President Obama-like turnout levels among Democratic-base voters without Obama at the top of the ballot, Terry McAuliffe's win in Virginia yesterday seems to suggest, yes.
Yes, McAuliffe did underperform in turing out women (a two point drop) and young voters (a six point drop), but he matched Obama in turing out African-American voters, who provided more than enough votes to secure McAuliffe's two percent margin.
In 2009, Republican Bob McDonnell lost to Creigh Deeds among African-Americans by a 90 percent to 9 percent margin. But African-Americans made up only 16 percent of the electorate.
In 2012, Mitt Romney lost to Obama by an identical 90 percent to 9 percent margin, but African-Americans made up 20 percent of the electorate.
In 2013, Cuccinelli again lost African-Americans by an almost identical 90 percent to 8 percent margin. But McAuliffe was able to hold Obama's turnout level, ensuring that 20 percent of the electorate was African American.
With 2.2 million votes cast, the difference between a 20 percent African-American turnout and a 16 percent African-American turnout, is about 100,000 votes. McAuliffe won by just 54,000 votes.
If Democrats can keep turning out African-Americans above Census levels (19.7 percent of Virginians are African-American), 2016 is looking very tough for Republicans.
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