The 2010 midterm elections were a landslide victory for the Republicans. By winning 60 seats in Congressional races, the Republicans gained 21 more seats than they needed to gain control of the House of Delegates and while they did not get a majority in the Senate, they still gained 6 seats. Like in the rest of the country, the outcome in our local Congressional District Race had Republican Rob Wittman defeating Democrat Krystal Ball and independent Gail Parker by margins of 64% to 34.8% against Ball and 1.2% against Parker. At the College, Professor Ronald Rapoportâ€™s Political Polling and Analysis classes conducted an exit poll at local polling places and recorded some interesting results regarding the opinions of local voters.
The results of the poll showed that, of the voters interviewed, a higher percentage of them voted for Ball than over the average percentage in the district. Wittman was still ahead in these polls, but the percentages were only 52% for Wittman and 46.8% both for Ball and Parker. Typically one would simply attribute Ballâ€™s higher percentage to the fact that many students vote in this area and are more liberal than other demographics, but that was not the case. Of the more than 400 people interviewed, only 37 people were students. So even with a bulk of the interviewed people being over 50, a cohort that's typically more conservative, they were still more liberal than the rest of the district as a whole.
In an effort to get an idea of the amount of support for the Tea Party in the area, a question was posed that asked the voter to identify with the group. The result was that 31% of the people who answered the question identified themselves as Tea Party supporters. It was also discovered that a small portion of those who supported the Tea Party were also Democrats, which is a combination that is rarely seen.
In regards to President Obama, many of the people polled reflected the same views as the nation overall and were not all together pleased with his performance so far. Even with this lack of enthusiasm more participants would still vote for Obama if he were running against Sarah Palin and possible Independent candidate Michael Bloomberg. In fact, more people would vote for Obama in this situation than voted for him in the last election, according to poll results.
While the Republicans easily won the seats needed to control the House and our own Congressional District, it appears that our immediate polling district is less conservative than others, even with a high population of retirees. More than 76% of voters polled in our area claimed to closely follow the U.S. House races and at the same time almost half consider themselves Independent voters. This paints a picture of voters in Williamsburg and James City County that are aware of what is going on in politics, but not completely confident in either of the major parties.