Rural White Voters Didn’t Show Up for Virginia’s Election

Seth Masket, Vox

What fueled Democrats’ victories on Tuesday? A quick analysis from the New York Times suggests this was a “suburban rebellion,” with moderates shifting from Donald Trump to Democrats. A look at the Virginia vote, however, suggests that votes in the most rural, conservative counties may hold the real story.

To analyze this further, I looked at how well each candidate held on to their presidential votes from 2016. {snip}

In the chart below (left), I look at the Gillespie votes as a percentage of Trump votes across all the cities and counties based on how urban they are. I do the same with the Northam votes as a percentage of Clinton votes. The lines shown are the moving averages.

Even while there wasn’t extraordinary variation in these figures, the lines suggest that Democrats did a better job turning out their voters than Republicans did, and particularly so in the more rural localities. {snip}

I’ve put together a similar chart below (right) based on the percentage of the locality that is white. Interestingly, it is in the whitest counties where Democrats did the best job holding on to their voters while Republicans did the worst.