Primaries are hard to predict and nearly impossible to poll with a great deal of accuracy. And I have seen polls or heard about polls that have Dave Brat up by a point or two, other polls say it is a dead heat and one has Eric Cantor with a lead.
This race is not easy to predict by polls. We know it is not a landslide for either side. But I promise you, Eric Cantor is nervous and has every reason to be. And Dave Brat should be cautiously optimistic – and has every reason for the optimism.
We can poll people who have voted in previous primaries in the 7th District, which have been few and far between.
Two years ago, Floyd Bayne managed to get 21% of the primary vote against Eric Cantor. And while that means that Eric Cantor got 79% of the vote, we know we can start with a base of 21% of the people in the 7th District that are not going to vote for Eric Cantor. And I think it is safe to say that everyone that turned out to vote for Bayne in 2012 will turn out to vote for Dave Brat, including Floyd Bayne.
I can say with 100% certainty that the people who turned out in 2012 and voted for Eric Cantor will not be doing so in 2014.
A majority of Dave Brat’s supporters voted for Eric Cantor in 2012. And there are quite a few Cantor supporters that are unhappy with Cantor’s stance on Amnesty, his failure to take away funding from Obamacare and Cantor’s lack of participation in the community. Many of Cantor’s supporters are angered and embarrassed by Cantor’s use of “slating” to disenfranchise Republican voters. And many of them feel Cantor does not deserve their vote. So they will stay home.
Now Eric Cantor’s die hard supporters will turn out and are blissfully ignorant of Cantor’s failures and deceptions.
But I think it is a safe bet that the 37,000 votes Cantor received in 2012 will be far more than he will receive tomorrow.
And there is a decided enthusiasm gap between the two camps. Eric Cantor’s camp seems to be just “going through the motions”. Cantor sent out an email begging for people to man the polls for him. They sent down a bus load of people from Washington DC last Saturday that left the RNC at 310 1st St., SE Washington DC and arrived at Cantor’s HQ at 10 AM. Some of these people attended the Strawberry Faire in Ashland and several friends asked them when they got off the bus at the Faire about their trip from DC.
On the other side of the fence, Dave Brat has a highly enthusiastic group of volunteers working tirelessly.
Nobody that plans to vote for Eric Cantor is really enthusiastic. How could they be? Their vote is more out of loyalty than heartfelt. If you vote for Eric Cantor you are happy with the way things are going in Washington. There is no hope that Eric Cantor will change anything because he is a cornerstone of the status quo in Washington. How could that be appealing for anyone?
But here are some numbers to digest that are the most telling.
In the 7th District Primary, Eric Cantor’s guy, Linwood Cobb lost by 4%.
In last Saturday’s Convention in Roanoke, the establishment candidate and Eric Cantor supporter and friend Ed Gillespie won.
But the numbers from the 7th District were a dead heat. And that is a telling sign that this race is going to hinge strictly on turnout.