GOP Takes Virginia: Exit Poll Analysis

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Posted: Nov 03, 2009 8:23 PM
Some key factors in the GOP's victory in Virginia from the Associated Press:

---Republican Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell's victory in Virginia over Democrat Creigh Deeds is definitely a triumph for the GOP as the party looks to rebuild.  Virginia went to Obama just a year ago by 6 points... now it has had a significant swing among independent voters back to the GOP.

---"Early returns in Virginia showed that by a 2-1 margin McDonnell was winning rapidly growing, far-flung Washington, D.C., suburbs — places like Loudoun and Prince William counties — that Republicans historically have won but that Obama prevailed in last fall by winning over swing voters."

---"Independents...were a critical part of the diverse coalition that carried the president to victory in Virginia and across the country. But after more than a year of recession, still early in Obama's term, they fled from Democrats in a state where the economy trumped all."

---"The Associated Press exit polls showed that nearly a third of voters in Virginia described themselves as independents on Tuesday...They preferred McDonnell by almost a 2-1 margin over Deeds in Virginia."

---"The surveys also suggested the Democrats had difficulty turning out their base, including the swarms of first-time minority and youth voters whom Obama attracted as part of his coalition."

---Virginia voters reported their top concern was the economy.

---More than four in 10 voters in Virginia said their view of Obama factored into their choice on Tuesday, and those voters roughly split between expressing support and opposition for the president.