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

How Do You Spot A Nonconformist? You Can Start With Their Internet Browser

According to Adam Grant, a person's preferred browser is one way to tell whether they accept or reject the defaults in their life. His new book is called Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.
NPR

Calif. Restaurant Gives Diners Ocean View — Up Close

The Marine Room is a restaurant right on the beach. When the tide is high, waves will literally hit the windows.
NPR

This Year, Anger Is All The Rage In Politics. Why?

It seems that anger is all the rage in this year's election. In a commentary, NPR's Michel Martin reflects on anger as a habit, a practice and a choice.
NPR

Super Bowl 50 Tightens Cybersecurity

This year's Super Bowl will be held in the most technologically advanced stadium in the world. FBI special agent John Lightfoot talks to NPR's Rachel Martin about the threat of cyber attacks.

Leave a Comment

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