Parties Target Virginia's Swing Voters | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Parties Target Virginia's Swing Voters

Virginia Beach, Henrico County also a focus of Dems and GOP

Play associated audio

With five weeks to go before Election Day, Republicans and Democrats in Virginia are targeting a small number of jurisdictions as key battlegrounds, including Henrico County and Virginia Beach to the south, and Loudoun and Prince William counties in Northern Virginia.  

Voters in Loudoun and Prince William have already proven their politics can change. They helped elect both Republican George W. Bush to the White House in 2004 and Democrat Barack Obama in 2008. But they flipped again in 2009's gubernatorial race when they backed Republican Bob McDonnell.

"The polling shows that there's still a group that has not made a decision," says Toni-Michelle Travis, a political science professor at George Mason University. Attracting swing voters in Northern Virginia will probably come down to the bottom line, she says. 

"I think it has to be some dimension of the economic because that's where we saw a number of home foreclosures and, you know, people losing jobs," she says. 

So who are the undecided? Many of them are low-information voters, says University of Virginia Center for Politics analyst Kyle Kondick.

"The people who do pay more attention have a partisan affiliation, either an explicit one or an hidden one," Kondick says. "Whereas the undecided folks generally aren't paying as much attention." Reaching those low-information voters generally comes down to television advertising, which is why the local channels are flooded with commercials to move some of those voters.

To capture the rest of the Virginia electorate, Kondick says, both campaigns are relying on a strategy to turn out the base that's usually associated with Bush's 2004 campaign.

"I wonder if you might not see a similar thing, with Obama taking the role of the polarizing president," he says. 

The stakes are high as both sides converge on Virginia, where the commonwealth's coveted thirteen electoral votes could tip the balance.

NPR

From Her Dad To Her 'Jamish' Roots, A Poet Pieces Her Story Together

Salena Godden grew up in 1970s England with a Jamaican mom and an absent English-Irish dad. In her memoir, Springfield Road, she looks back on her struggle to find her personal identity.
NPR

If You've Ever Looked For Faces In Your Potato Chips, Thank Myrtle Young

The Potato Chip Lady, aka Myrtle Young, died in August of this year. She was 90. Young became famous after showing her collection of unusually shaped chips to Tonight Show host Johnny Carson in 1987.
NPR

Tennessee's Medicaid Deal Dodges A Partisan Fight

An agreement between the Tennessee Hospital Association and Republican Gov. Bill Haslam expands Medicaid without tax dollars, an agreement that could be a blueprint for other states.
NPR

Die-In, Vortex, Selfie Stick: What's The Word Of 2014?

In January, members of the American Dialect Society will vote on the 2014 Word of the Year. Linguist Ben Zimmer runs through some contenders — including words both old and new.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.