…Warner’s more moderate political persona gets him very little traction, electorally speaking. Above all, he lost the support of those rural voters who once backed him but are now far less likely to split their tickets. Further, Warner’s generally moderate policies did not generate sufficient enthusiasm among urban and suburban voters. Democrats rely on the support of these voters to counter the state’s increasingly Republican rural areas.
Loudoun County has become notably more Democratic over the years, but Warner’s share of the vote increased only from 46 percent to 49 percent there between 2001 and 2014. The same goes for Prince William County, where Warner’s share increased only from 47 percent to 50 percent. (In contrast, Terry McAuliffe last year received 50 percent and 52 percent of the vote in those two populous “swing” counties, where relatively small percentage increases translate to thousands of additional votes).
In addition, Warner doesn’t seem to get much credit in these highly partisan times for his efforts with moderate senators of both parties to promote more centrist policy-making. Nor did Warner and his colleagues on the anti-debt “gang of six” accomplish much legislatively.