Three candidates are standing for the Republican nomination for Virginia’s US Senate seat, Corey Stewart, EW Jackson, and Nick Freitas. Each comes with their negatives and positives. Each has brought their own strategy to the table in the approach to the June Primary. Three important facts that should play into the Republican Party of Virginia’s overall strategy when it comes to this election: 1. Hillary Clinton & Tim Kaine won in Virginia by more than 5% in 2016. 2. Terry McAuliffe who was Governor of Virginia at the time made several moves that gave the democrats additional voters (a potential 3% impact), which they would not have otherwise had in that election. Ralph Northam the current Governor has done nothing to change any of that. The question for today is this, of the three candidates, which one will fare better against Virginia Incumbent Senator Tim Kaine in November. This concludes series of four essays meant to convey the results of the analysis of the race and potential results in November. It covers the results of the EW Jackson v. Kaine matchup in November.
Jackson v. Kaine
In the 11,000 plus Jackson-Kaine simulations, Jackson lost more than he won. His performance in historical elections, his recent run for Lieutenant Governor in a poor year for Republicans in general showed a weakness as a statewide candidate. He didn’t perform as well as Cuccinelli, the candidate for Governor, or Obenshain, the candidate for Attorney General. Jackson has wisely chosen to ignore the 2016 campaign, but his emphasis on terrorism is old and tired. As an issue is hasn’t been particularly effective since 2006. Jackson also focuses on abortion as an issue, which does well for energizing a large segment of the Republican base. His stance on gay rights (marriage) is a difficult one for independent voters, possibly a show stopper. Only 3% of the 20% of the independent voting block are willing to even tolerate this issue. In conclusion, Jackson never gets more than 44% of the vote in the November sims. Anytime he performs better than Kaine’s 42.6% he wins. This is the case for 33% of the simulations. Jackson can win if he stays away from Trump.
What happens when the establishment goes on a 4 election losing streak? What happens when the establishment start campaigning against corruption, claiming to drain the swamp? What happens when Republicans start passing bigger budgets than Democrats? They start saying, there’s no such thing as fiscal sanity in an insane world. They start preaching that compromise is rephrasing and reframing the socialist aspirations of the other guys.
How the models work:
- It is driven by the current political environment, tested against historical results
- The statistical method used to build these models focuses on policy positions and candidate characteristics as detailed below. It’s possible to win at one and lose at the other.
- Branding is taken into account. Some people will vote republican or democrat no matter who wears the robe.
- Apathy is taken into account. Given a certain set of circumstance some people won’t hold their nose and vote for the lesser of two evils. They won’t show up at all.
- Regression is used to determine which elements are prevailing based on voting precinct. This assumes the people in a community are similar, but the analysis weeds out those factors that are irrelevant.
- Actual voter behavior is measured by comparing historical campaign data / events / campaign information and voter records by precinct. All voter records are available at the Virginia board of elections Web Site or from the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV).
- A Google Web crawler was used to determine a stand on and measure a candidate’s commitment to a position on a policy issue for the campaign. Policies were measured via a five-value scale from strongly favors to strongly opposes.
- Voting records are a separate factor from a campaign policy statement.
- Candidate historical voting records influence position stands. For example a person who holds a position they once voted against will have their commitment to the position diminished.
- Personal characteristics of the candidates such as education, jobs, prior public office, and military service, were taken from online biographies and campaign web sites.
- Candidate characteristics are based on available online mentions, videos, and supporter statements. The tenor and tone of the candidate from public pronouncements, press releases, or other publicly available information influence voting patterns as well.
- Voting records were assessed via linear regression analysis tied to the above factors to determine future voter behavior.
- Population change by county was considered.
- New Virginia Immigrant Citizen Voters were analyzed via origin state and assigned to a group of voters based on a similar voter region.
- The Model does not take into account dead people voting or any other form of voter fraud.
For Kaine and the Democrats, the key will be to link whatever Republican runs to Trump. If they make the race a true replay of the 2016 election they will engage their voters and get them out to vote. Nothing excites democrats like hating Trump these days. It is by far the most telling driver of turn out for them. Kaine has all the advantages of an incumbent senator including instant money and name recognition. He also has all the detractors of a candidate that corrupted an entire political process as part of an overall plan to nominate Hillary Clinton. This conspiracy handed the White House to Donald Trump and the Republicans. For many in the democratic party, this is unforgivable.
For Republicans, the best chance statistically is to nominate, Nick Freitas. In 2/3s of all scenarios, he beats Tim Kaine. He doesn’t need as much money or as much name recognition. He does need to get out and talk to everyone who will listen. E.W. Jackson can win the day, but he needs a new message and a new delivery model for it. Stewart is a wasted chance. Under no set of circumstances does he even win his home county of Prince William. Importantly, under no set of circumstances can a Republican win when any segment of the party refuses to participate after their candidate loses. I’m talking to you Bill Bolling.