Like it or not, Virginia is now a Democratic stronghold

When total votes are cast throughout Virginia, Democrats rule. Republicans in places like Floyd County find their votes for Trump are ignored and don't count, particularly in the Electoral College.
Signs are held up as the motorcade arrives ahead of a Biden's drive-in campaign event. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Polls confirm what the last few elections in Virginia have shown: The Old Dominion is now a Democratic stronghold in the South. Polls show Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by 18 points on trust and 11 points in ballot choice.

“Biden is running away with it,” says Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. “If Biden can win by double digits in Virginia, I think this election is over.”

Polls also show Democratic Sen. Mark Warner leading the ticket with a 57 to 39 percent lead over GOP challenger Daniel Gade. Warner leads Gade by 25 points with independent voters.

Polls also show Democrats leading in three competitive Congressional House districts.

The lede statewide, of course, comes from the heavily populated areas of Northern Virginia, Tidewater and Richmond, which has gone over to the Democratic side in recent elections.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Susan Cortese, who lives near Charlottesville, says she has already voted for Biden in this election.

“My dissatisfaction started before Trump,” Cortese, 60. “It just accelerated and amplified once he got there. And I haven’t seen many profiles in courage…in terms to standing up to the more egregious activities and policies of the Trump administration.”

Trump may be the candidate of choice in Southwestern Virginia, but not in most of the rest of the Old Dominion. His approval rating of just 41 percent is dismal for an incumbent president and 57 percent said they strongly disapprove of the former TV reality star’s performance as president.

Signs for President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden stand outside the Fairfax County Government Center, an early-voting site. Polling shows likely voters in Virginia favoring Biden over Trump. (Alexander Drago/Reuters)

In Northern Virginia’s Washington suburbs, Biden leads Trump by 44 points. His 23-point lead in the Richmond area swamps the six-point margin Hillary Clinton held in 2016.

But Trump has supporters in Northern Virginia. Beth Povlsen, who lives in Fauquier County, says she will vote for him.

“They’re using it as a political pawn,” she tells the Post. “I don’t think the pandemic is political. It’s a virus just like anything else, and you’re either going to get it or you’re not. … Is it going to kill people? Yes, but the flu does, too. Get over it and move on.”

Povlsen things Biden is too far left for her taste.

“I’m not a communist or a socialist,” she said. “I work too hard for my money. The government doesn’t need to give it to somebody else.”

Same for Sabrina Brooks of Henry County, just south of Floyd. She voted for Trump in 2016 and will do it again.

“He did everything he promised,” says 36-year-old computer processor Brooks in an interview with The Post. “The only time we had downfalls was once the coronavirus hit.”

Emma White, 73, is an African American homemaker in Hampton. There’s no way, she says, that she will vote for Trump.

If you’re going to be my president, then represent all people, not just some people, I think Biden is more for the people of all races. I’ve seen him reach out to us when he was with President Obama.

She voted early for Biden and adds:

I feel good about Biden as a candidate, because he has proven himself to be so far a man of his word. I’ve seen him be a father, I’ve seen him be a husband — I just like who he is.

In Fairfax County, system analyst Ambrisio Daniel, 40, voted for the Green Party ticket in 2016. This year, he will vote for Biden.

“I don’t like the way that this administration has been handling the covid-19 response,” Daniel says, adding that he thinks America’s current president is “idiotic.”

“It’s sad for him to do the things he does,” Daniel told the Post. “It’s unfortunate, and it’s a lack of leadership.”

Because Virginia’s statewide vote totals determine all of the ballots cast in the Electoral College, the winner wipes out the vote of anyone who voted for Trump in 2016. The same thing is likely again after the votes are counted next week.

“I’m nervous about the election,” James Cauthen, 63, a college professor in Charlottesville, told The Post. “I’m concerned about the direction the country is going in now and extremely concerned … about the future of the country as a republic under President Trump.”

Cauthen voted early…for Biden.

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