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November 5, 2021 · OPINION

Seven numbers to know about this year’s election

Cardinal News Photo/Dwayne Yancey
Glenn Youngkin at a campaign rally in Roanoke.
By Dwayne Yancey
Editor, Cardinal News

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius asks the famously moody Dane what he’s reading. Hamlet replies: “Words, words, words.” If Polonius asked me, I’d say, “Numbers, numbers, numbers.” Of course, he can’t ask me. For one thing, he got stabbed to death in Act III, Scene IV, and he’s kind of fictional anyway. But the election we just had was quite real, and here are some of the numbers that matter.

1. Virginia had record turnout for a gubernatorial election. Turnout was up 15% from four years ago was up in ways that obviously benefitted Republicans more than Democrats. Anyone who thinks that a high turnout automatically benefits Democrats is wrong and this election proves it. The question is always who turns out, and this year Republicans did a better job of ginning up a high turnout than Democrats did. We’re indebted to the Virginia Public Access Project for these numbers. Here’s the percentage of registered voters who have voted in the past six gubernatorial elections:

2021: 54.9% (Republican Glenn Youngkin won)
2017: 47.6% (Democrat Ralph Northam won)
2013: 43.0% (Democrat Terry McAuliffe won)
2009: 40.4% (Republican Bob McDonnell won)
2005: 44.9% (Democrat Tim Kaine won)
2001: 46.4% (Democrat Mark Warner won)

Pretty much everything you want to know about why this election turned out the way it did can be explained somehow through turnout (and the shape of the electorate it produced). VPAP has a nifty visual that shows how turnout was higher than 2017 across the board but was much higher in Republican localities than Democratic ones.

Click here to continue reading


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