Virginia’s contrarian streak could end
Politico, November 4, 2013
If the polls hold and Terry McAuliffe prevails in his bid to become governor of Virginia, a striking pattern will come to an end.
Call it Virginia’s contrarian side. It dates back to the 1970s, when Republican John Dalton won the governorship in 1977, following the election of Democrat Jimmy Carter 12 months earlier. Ever since, the party that loses the White House comes back to claim the top prize in Virginia politics the following year.
University of Mary Washington political science professor Stephen Farnsworth sees anger at work. “Anger is a really motivating factor in politics,” he says. “So when people lose a presidential election, they’re the angriest” – and therefore, more likely to turn out in Virginia’s unusual off-off-year gubernatorial election.