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Why Virginia Democrats (and Obama) Should Be Scared


The disparate claims of racism to explain why Mitt Romney is now tied with Barack Obama in Virginia speak volumes about the fear they feel as November approaches. And fearful they should be.

Obama’s collapse in Virginia is not hard to understand.

In May, when Barack Obama “evolved” into a fan of gay marriage, there was an immediate uproar from his African-American base. A large segment of black Christians made it very clear they were not happy about Obama’s latest “evolution” (he has been on both sides of the issue for long periods at a time) on gay marriage. Polls done in North Carolina and Georgia a few days afterward found 20% of African-Americans intended to cast their ballots for Mitt Romney, most likely because of gay marriage.

Virginia Democrats must be getting the same numbers in their internal polls. Virginia African-Americans must be telling pollsters they are unhappy enough to either stay home or vote Romney in November.

These voters are the same kind of people who sit in the Baptist or AME churches each Sunday in North Carolina and Georgia. They hear the same message from their pastors: we can’t support Obama because he is pushing gay marriage on us.

A recent Quinnipiac poll of Virginia’s registered voters found that the 50/42 lead Obama had in March fell to 47/42 last month, and Obama and Romney are now in  a 44/44 tie.

Despite the still-high percentage of Virginia’s African-Americans who are expressing support for Obama (88%), even this is a decline of 4 points since 2008. Nevertheless, in this cycle, who a voter WANTS to see elected and whether or not that voter will actually go out and vote are not necessarily the same.

Gallup’s numbers:

Moans about racism don’t explain Romney’s surge in Virginia, but new information from Gallup might. A Gallup spokesman said, “Democrats are significantly less likely now (39%) than they were in the summers of 2004 and 2008 to say they are ‘more enthusiastic about voting than usual’ in the coming presidential election. Republicans are more enthusiastic now than in 2008, and the same as in 2004.” The enthusiasm spread is 51/39 in the GOP’s favor.

It’s the lack of Democrat enthusiasm to vote that is ending Obama’s chances of winning in Virginia, not racism.

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Photo credit: tango.mceffrie (Creative Commons)

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