Back in April I wrote about Larry Sabato’s 10 Keys to the Governor’s Mansion – the ten criteria identified by the UVA talking head/professor for handicapping Gubernatorial elections in Virginia that had amazing predictive power when applied retroactively.
In a somewhat confusing exercise, I attempted to use the 10 Keys as a means of evaluating which Democratic primary candidate would fare best against Bob McDonnell. EThe results were mixed, at best.
Now that the primary is over, the picture has cleared and, well, what the Hell, the 10 Keys are like a high fastball of political punditry and I have to take another swing at it.
One disclaimer. This analysis is art, not science. Reasonable people (including the three or four Virginia Republicans that fall into that group) can disagree with respect to my evaluation of each criteria, but for the most part I only conferred an advantage upon a candidate for a category if it was a clear advantage. Otherwise, I rated the category neutral.
Whichever candidate has the advantage in the most categories will be the winner. That’s not me talking -- Larry Sabado says so. As far as I’m concerned, once we have that we don’t even need to hold the election. Prof. Sabato’s opinion is typically more accurate than any election result could ever hope to be.
1. The economy, as measured by changes in per capita income and the unemployment rate in the twelve months prior to Election Day.
Neutral. Previously scored advantage R. The reason for the change is economic indicators have turned up and consumer confidence is rising. Unemployment, however, will continue to be an issue for the rest of the year.
2. Campaign Organization and Technology
3. Candidate Personality and Appeal
4. Retrospective Judgment on Previous Governor
Advantage D. Tim Kaine’s approval ratings are over 50%.
5. Presidential Popularity as measured by public opinion poll ratings for the six months prior to election day.
7. Party Unity.
Advantage D. Previously rated Neutral. Reason for change is that primary is over and Democrats are coming together behind Creigh. Republicans, on the other hand, on both a state and national level, are in the midst of a serious ideological struggle to define their party in the wake of devastating electoral losses over the last several elections. This struggle is, in the long term, healthy, but it tips this category, for this year, to Democrats.
8. Campaign Money.
9. Prior Office Experience of Candidates (where statewide elective office is given more weight that a district or local office).
10. Special Issues and Dominant Circumstance.
Final tally: Deeds +2
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