Commentary: The One Number That Puts Youngkin in the Governor’s Mansion

by Shaun Kenney


Some more thoughts on the FOX News poll showing former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe up by 5 points over Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin just three (and now two) weeks out from the November 2nd election.

One of the numbers in the poll? McAuliffe’s support among black voters at +63. Which is shorthand for a 79/16 gap — which sounds atrocious (and quite frankly, is atrocious for a party built on the premise that all men should be free).

The last time Republicans came close to knocking off a Democratic statewide candidate was 2014, where former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie came within inches of defeating who was then the most popular statewide Democratic elected official in Virginia — radical centrist Mark Warner. The gap then? 90/10.

Which means that in an era of Black Lives Matter, Critical Race Theory and gender ideology being pushed on kids? An interesting question begins to be raised.

Maybe — just maybe — black voters are a little sick and tired of being told what to care about by white progressives pretending to be more aggrieved than the people they harm?

Some raw numbers from the Fox News poll (just click here for the full poll):

One number to consider in the wake of the McAuliffe gaffe over parents? If you are a parent, you’re still voting for McAuliffe 53/43 — don’t ask me how. There’s no gap between moms and dads either — you’re still voting for McAuliffe.

Independents? Voting for McAuliffe +6.
Moderates? Voting for McAuliffe +36.

Something to consider in all of this. Losing moderates by 36 points sounds terrible unless there are only 100 moderates in a polity of 8.6 million people. That’s akin to saying that McAuliffe is winning among Edmonton Oilers fans only to realize that McAuliffe is the sole Oilers fan in Virginia.

There are 1.66 million blacks in Virginia — just under 20% of the population. 97% of black voters have supported Democrats in the past; 20% of them are self-declared independents and only 24% actually believe that the Democratic-controlled General Assembly are actually doing anything on black issues.

For back of the envelope purposes, let’s say that black voters vote proportionally to the rest of the commonwealth:

2017: 47.6%
2013: 43.0%
2009: 40.9%
2005: 44.9%
2001: 46.4%
1997: 46.4%
1993: 61.1%

As of right now, there are 5.9 million registered voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Assume for a moment that these numbers hold and Election Day turnout is at 45% — a pretty fair barometer. If black voters go 90/10 for McAuliffe in 2021 as they did for Warner in 2014, that means aboiut 2.6 million Virginians will vote, and of that 481,590 blacks will vote Democratic while 53,000 blacks will vote Republican.

However — say that 16% of blacks vote for Youngkin as they are indicating in the Fox News poll at present. That shift adds 32,000 votes to the Republican tally.

How much did we lose by in Warner-Gillespie ‘14? 18,000 votes.
How much did we lose by in Allen-Webb ‘06? 9,000 votes.
How much did we lose by in Allen-Kaine ‘12? 25,000 votes.

Now we can adjust the turnout models any way you wish. 48% or 42% — the gap matters but only in degrees.

If Glenn Youngkin gets to 20% among black voters? McAuliffe is toast.

So precisely what issues are we running on that matter to black voters in a way that actually comes from the black community?

Doug Wilder has been asking for five long months and no one seems to give a damn just yet.

Some of the questions that Wilder — a former governor and the first black governor in America — continues to focus upon are “education, employment, social justice and delivery of public services” and most of all a re-commitment to Virginia’s HBCUs.

Notice that it’s not Critical Race Theory or tearing down statues or the agenda of Black Lives Matter/Antifa — not the grocery tax or defunding the police — but concrete questions that bother most Virginians.

The last Virginia Republican governor to get 20% of the black vote in Virginia was none other than Jim Gilmore in 1997. For one reason or another, Virginia Republicans walked away from the Jack Kemp approach in pursuit of other goals — most likely in the 2004 Bush-Cheney election where populism was welded to conservatism in a rebuttal to the old Reagan-Goldwater libertarian-conservative fusionism that defeated Soviet communism (guess which camp I prefer).

Whether Youngkin is intentionally pursuing the black vote in Virginia or whether it is simply residual from Democratic white progressives instructing black Virginians on what’s best for them — as odious and condescending a racism as their forebearers practiced — remains to be seen.

Keep your ear to the ground on the values of black Virginians who remain exasperated and unpersuaded by Terry McAuliffe and the neoliberal sellouts the Democrats have wrapped themselves in.

After all, there’s a reason why McAuliffe is bringing Barack Obama to stump for him in late October — to shore up the black vote. Yet for the 20% who have sat on their hands, don’t think for a minute that they don’t know why it took until late October before McAuliffe decided to invite a man he didn’t need in September… August… July… June…

If Youngkin can nab just 20% of the black vote by November — many of whom are undecided and as yet unpersuaded — then that 2% gap we see in the aggregate polling might very well dissolve overnight.

Remember Jack Kemp — if the way things are working is working for you, vote for the Democrats, but if you’re ready for a change, vote for the Republicans — and if we don’t work for you, throw us out.

Case in point:

Headlines such as these? They matter tremendously.

Candidates such as Winsome Sears? They matter as well, not for the sake of tokenism (I hate that word) but for the sake that our own leaders should look and sound like the Republican Party.

Keep your eye on this number. If Youngkin really can capture just a fraction of black vote in Virginia, then those margins we seem to lose by all the damn time might become margins of victory rather than defeat.

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Shaun Kenney is the editor of The Republican Standard, former chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Fluvanna County, and a former executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia.
Photo “Glenn Youngkin” by Glenn Youngkin. Background Photo “Governor’s Mansion” by Leonard Woody. CC BY-SA 3.0.






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