Thomas Mills who runs the Politics NC blog identified some strands we should all be following:
1. The polls can be truly misleading. We saw this in 2016 but the true was same this week. Instead of trusting outside pollsters, be sure to look at the fundamentals. Northam was consistently underrated both in the VA primary and in the main election  (Read Nate Silver’s article about how and why the polls failed voters in 2016.
2. Stick with the moderate candidate in purple states. For Governor in both NC and VA, successful candidates focused on good government rather than ideology.
3. Democratic divisions are probably overblown and grassroots Democrats are highly motivated.
Read here for the whole article.

A ballot initiative in Maine backed expansion of Medicaid. If the final results in VA give Democrats a majority it is expected they will push for Medicaid expansion which exit polls show is a policy that’s very important to voters. In summary healthcare is likely to be a central voting issue in 2018.

Youth voters showed up in force in NJ and Virginia. Youth turnout was 34% in Virginia and 18% in New Jersey, according to CIRCLE’s calculations. To put this in context, as a proportion of all people who cast ballots in each election (youth vote share), young people made up 11% of the electorate in New Jersey and 14% in Virginia. This is a huge shift in voting patterns which we should aim to maintain.

As a little treat for those of you who , like me, love analysis by map, here are four maps shared by the NYT which tell the story of the Virginia Gubernatorial election. The shift in voting patterns since 2016 was particularly interesting especially in rural areas and could be relevant to North Carolina too.


Local Elections
Since we are state-focussed, and we had many Politicas active in the municipal races and the mayoral run-off, we chose not to comment on these ‘non-partisan’ races.

We do think there are some useful takeaways from our ultra local races and want to share them with you. The News and Observer identified 6 areas in the Raleigh election which are notable.

  • Split Down the Middle. The city is divided almost in half, west and east. The west voted for McFarlane and the east for Francis.
  • General contentment. McFarlane’s re-election is perceived as a sign that most people are content with the way Raleigh is developing.
  • Political tensions. The endorsement of Francis by the Wake Democratic party and then the donations received from controversial sources certainly fed the narrative in the lead up to the election.
  • Money. Both candidates spent close to $600,000 on the election. Up from $99,000 two years ago.
  • Turnout. Very unusually for a run-off, the turnout was higher on Tuesday (plus early voting) than in October. This shows how a fiery race can motivate voters. Let’s hope those whose candidates lost keep showing up.
  • Council make-up. Raleigh city council now has 4 women and 4 men. Seems fair in a city where more thsn 50% of voters are women!  Going forward the council is likely to be less developer-friendly than in previous years. Now, let’s see about more diversity!

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