Taking a look at the record: Democrats scored a lot of good wins in Virginia Tuesday night.
Beyond that, new House of Delegates member Danica Roem gave one of the best interviews we've ever heard to Lawrence on Tuesday night.
Danica Roem knows how to talk! We plan to discuss her remarks this weekend.
Yesterday, we decided to explore the size of Tuesday's turnout. We hit upon some information which we thought was worth recording.
First, how big was Tuesday's turnout? The answer: Turnout was substantially larger than in the 2013 gubernatorial election, but significantly smaller than in years not long past.
Let's start at the beginning! According to the leading authority on Virginia elections, these were the turnout rates, through 2013, in gubernatorial elections:
Turnout rates, Virginia gubernatorial elections (percent of registered voters)For all data, just start here, then click back through past years. Or you can just click here.
1977: 62.7 percent
1981: 64.8 percent
1985: 53.0 percent
1989: 66.5 percent
1993: 61.1 percent
1997: 49.5 percent
2001: 46.4 percent
2005: 45.0 percent
2009: 40.4 percent
2013: 43.0 percent
As you can see from these numbers, participation has substantially dropped in the years since 1993. Based on the number of votes cast this week (see below), it looks like this year's turnout rate was roughly 50 percent. That's a big jump from 2013, but it only restores the overall turnout rate to where it stood in 1997.
(Given Tuesday's outcome, we'd assume the increase in turnout came from Democrats more than from Republicans. Presumably, some of the overall rise was caused by Governor McAuliffe's restoration of voting rights to an estimated 156,000 felons this year.)
How much was raw turnout up this year? Here's the figure for this year, as compared to 2013:
Total votes cast, Virginia gubernatorial electionThat's an increase of 370,000 votes, or roughly 16.5%. A few points of that increase is attributable to population growth. Presumably, McAuliffe's action helped a bit more.
2013: 2.24 million votes
2017: 2.61 million votes
As compared to recent years, that was a large turnout for a gubernatorial election. Still, turnout fell far short of the norm for a presidential year:
Total votes cast, Virginia presidential electionAs you can see, this year's raw total was substantially below where it was last year. Last year, 3.98 million votes were cast in Virginia. This year, the number dropped to 2.61 million. This fact is reflected in the comparative vote totals for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Ralph Northam this year:
2012: 3.85 million votes; turnout 71.1%
2016: 3.98 million votes; turnout 72.1%
Total votes received, Virginia elections:If Democrats liked this year's turnout, there's almost surely room for improvement next year.
Hillary Clinton (2016): 1.98 million votes
Ralph Northam (2017): 1.41 million votes
Democrats scored a lot of wins across the state. Also, Danica Roem really knows how to talk.
We're most struck by the drop in overall turnout rates since 1993. That pattern still obtained even in this higher-interest year.