It was Republicans, not Democrats, who defeated Eric Cantor and here’s the proof.

John McLaughlin, Eric Cantor’s longtime pollster, is taking a lot of flak this week for his pre-election survey showing Cantor with a 34-point lead.  His poll (and we had even bigger margins for Cantor a month earlier) was flawed because he, like all of us who polled this race, surveyed only primary voters who had participated in the low-turnout 2012 Presidential or 2012 Senate and Congressional primaries and not the broader universe of all eligible voters (which means everyone).


But McLaughlin misses the mark by blaming the Cantor defeat on “Democrats” raiding the open GOP Primary as does Cantor consultant Ray Allen who tried to alibi the embarrassing defeat on “15,000 card-carrying Democrats” voting in the GOP Primary. 


But an analysis of the numbers indicates the exact opposite is true, because the more Republican the area, the higher share of the “new” vote that went to Dave Brat.  And that this election was not an example of Democrats raiding an open primary, but Republicans taking their party back.


No one anticipated a slew of unforced errors by Cantor and his team.  After the Slating Debacles and repudiation at the Seventh District convention, and Cantor’s in-your-face support for anti-Tea Party “Republican” organizations, Cantor made things worse with comments on amnesty, a refusal to campaign and an overall image as weak and spineless.


Even after all of that, no one, including those in the campaign, would have predicted that turnout would have jumped 28 percent from 2012.  And even fewer people would think that with a 28 percent turnout jump that Cantor’s vote would have gone up, instead of down by 8,000.


We analyzed the differences between the Cantor/Brat 2014 race and the Cantor/Bayne contest two years earlier and found a direct correlation between the vote for Mitt Romney for President and the share of the added new vote Brat received.


In order to compare apples to apples, we’re going to limit this analysis to the Election Day vote, because some counties are split and do not break out presidential absentees by Congressional District.


Overall (including absentees), turnout was up by 17,984 from 2012, from 47,037 to 65,021.  But the Cantor vote was down by 8,468 while Brat received 26,452 more votes than Floyd Bayne in 2012.  In other words, Brat received 147.1% of the “new” voters (26,452/17,984).  (Brat won 148.2% of the “new” absentee vote)


Now let’s look at these numbers based on the share of the “new” vote Brat received based on the share of the two-party vote that went to Mitt Romney in 2012.


There are 229 precincts in the 7th CD.  Romney won 171 of these and Obama won 58.  Brat won 132.9% of the “new” vote in the Obama Precincts, but an even bigger 149.9% of the “new” vote in the Romney Precincts.


Those numbers by themselves should put to rest the myth that “Democrats” elected Brat.  But an even closer analysis makes the case even clearer.


The share of “new” voters going for Brat dropped the more Democratic a region was.  In the 20 precincts where Romney received less than 40 percent, Brat won 126.3% of “new” voters.  That number dropped to 121.4% in the 13 precincts that Romney lost 2-1 or worse, 110.9% in the 8 he lost by 3-1 or worse and 97.6% in the five precincts Obama carried by 4-1 or more.


Similarly, Brat’s share of the “new” vote increased in the Romney Precincts as well.  Brat won 153.0% of the “new” vote in the 103 precincts Romney won with 60 percent or more, 159.1% in the 54 precincts Romney carried 2-1 or better, 189.8% in the 7 precincts Romney won 3-1 or better and an incredible 229.3% in the three precincts, all in Hanover County, that Romney won by 4-1 or better.


Among those last three precincts, where Mitt Romney averaged 81.6% of the vote against Barack Obama, Dave Brat won 72.3% over Cantor, while two years earlier Floyd Bayne received just 20.3%, or a shift of 52.1% over the two years.


Put another way, in those three ultra-red precincts, Eric Cantor’s vote dropped from 829 to 383 while the anti-Cantor vote went from 211 to 1002.


It wasn’t Democrats who defeated Eric Cantor.  It was the reddest of red Republicans who sent Cantor packing, and that’s a big warning sign to every single incumbent Republican anywhere in America who thinks they “can’t lose.”

Rick Shaftan is a pollster and media consultant based in New Jersey.  His firm prepared Independent Expenditure Radio Commercials and Web Ads in opposition to Cantor and in support of the Brat campaign.




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Comment by Rick Shaftan on June 17, 2014 at 11:03pm

The 34-point lead was accurate among those who had voted in one of the 2012 primaries as of a week or so out.  Eric Cantor's crash is unprecedented because of what we in the business call a FU vote, where people decide they don't like someone and it becomes a viral thing.  Brat's job is to win this safe Republican district, which won't be a problem, and then use the status he has obtained by slaying the giant to become a leader for the fight for freedom and not a one-hit wonder.

Comment by Jeff Dover on June 17, 2014 at 10:52am

The author is being generous here.  I believe that the "34-point lead" was just more disinformation designed by stalwart GOP Establishment types to lure conservatives into the belief that their candidate couldn't win.  For sure there were "errors", but I'm equally sure the "errors" were deliberate.  Just as I am sure that we will see far more of this leading up to the 2016 elections.

If the "polls" aren't for strictly internal use, they are simply conducted to generate headlines (publicity) and influence voter opinions prior to the elections.  After all, won't we all see what the real numbers are following the election?  So why the "poll" in advance of the election if not to influence voters?

Ignore polls telling you who is ahead.  Just vote for who you like the best and you'll find out who's ahead when it's over.

Comment by Jerry Cook on June 17, 2014 at 10:23am

Donald, the irony on the ground in VA07 was that Cantor blanketed daily the district with an assortment of glossy mailings characterizing Brat as a "Tim Kaine liberal college professor," all buzz-words chosen to elicit an emotional response.  Rest assured that the vast majority of democrats are, as Rush and others observe, "low-information voters".  Anyone who chose to look at facts saw the Cantor campaign lies for what they were.  The result, Cantor was exposed as approving ads containing blatant lies; democrats who would otherwise have no interest, may have been enticed to vote by Cantor's accusations.  In a sense it was the perfect political storm brought to pass by Cantor.

D.B.S. - no argument from me on any of the points you make.  We must play on the field as we find it. 

Comment by Blackwater Buckeye on June 17, 2014 at 8:52am

What happened to Cantor is proof that people can and will choose for themselves. The tea Party message is getting thru and many are waking up--at the right time in my opinion because the elections in November will soon be here.

Comment by Rick Shaftan on June 17, 2014 at 8:44am

The reality is being played out in Mississippi where Thad Cochran is making a desperate appeal for Democrats to vote in the June 24th Runoff.  The precedent for that is Fob James's 1998 runoff win where Black Belt counties produced 10x the vote of the first primary.  James then lost to the only Democrat to serve as Governor since George Wallace.

Comment by Donald L. Buchanan on June 17, 2014 at 8:40am

Common sense tells you that it was not the dimorats.  They hate everything that Brat said he was for. Cantor is much closer to their views.

Comment by Vern Shotwell on June 17, 2014 at 6:34am

Still looks like a case of 20/20 hindsight.

While the numbers quoted may be correct, there is not even an attempt to quantify the Democratic cross-over vote, nor is there a description of how or when such a predictive analysis should be applied.

In other words, it's pretty much a useless analysis.

Comment by robert barnes on June 17, 2014 at 6:23am

Maybe just maybe more people are waking up to the truth about your real enemys listed at www.commieblaster.com And the fact that the communist have been taking over the government run school system since the 1960s And using the same brain washing methods of Hitler and Joseph Gerberls. If we could turn the democrat pawns from communist into to real americans and dump the RINOs, we might avoid a civil war. God help us all.

Comment by Sonie Thomson on June 17, 2014 at 5:46am
This is happening before our eyes.....not about Dem or Rep, but an Islamist Caliphate. Please share. http://www.westernjournalism.com/obama-caliphate/2/#jBfUwaZq61TyZ0k...
Comment by Jay Walker on June 17, 2014 at 1:55am

I appreciate the detailed explanation.  The Republican leadership has been making stupid excuses for years, while refusing to recognize that we are more than fed up with their duplicity, dithering, and faithlessness.  They tend to "say the right things" on occasion, but in the long run mostly back down and stab us in the back.  They may even believe that they represent something other than America-destroying "progressivism" (i.e., Marxism) but in the end they vote like the communist weasels they profess to oppose.  Beyond their anti-American policies, perhaps the most incredible evidence of their engrained stupidity is that they appear to follow the advice of "liberals" on how to bring more voters into their mudpen, that is, by abandoning what few conservative principles they ever claimed to hold dear.

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