Does Conservatism need to be reformed?

Two factions continue to vie for control of the conservative movement.  The first, led by conservative firebrands in Congress argue conservatism is just fine and the reason it loses is because the GOP sells out on conservative principles. The other faction does not necessarily believe conservatism needs to change but that it needs to be explained in such a way as to win over new voters.

The stars of the modern GOP often cut across these factional lines however.  Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio exhibit many of the characteristics of both factions.  GOP Governors such as Nikki Haley, Scott Walker, Rick Scott, Brian Sandoval and Susana Martinez also exhibit these trends.  Few conservatives n each camp would admit this however.

The truth is that conservatism has steadily been losing ground since the 1980’s.  Ronald Reagan’s election was supposed to usher in a new conservative era and in some ways it did.  His reforming of the tax code was a conservative goal since the 60’s and his tough on the USSR stance brought conservative foreign policy to the forefront. But once Reagan left office those successes were quickly overshadowed by Republican and Democratic promises of limited governments and reducing the debt with few results.

Conservative successes at the ballot box dating back to the 40’s have not been based just on conservative appeals but also populism.  In 1946 the GOP made gains in Congress because of their populist appeals against Truman’s top-down approach to the post-WWII era economy.  The GOP Revolution of 1994, primarily based on the Contract with America, was far more populist than conservative.  In 2010 the GOP wave that resulted was because of a unique blend of strong Republican candidates and their ability to communicate conservative ideas in a populist form.

This is in direct contrast to a Democratic Party that is increasingly lacking any populist views or candidates and is increasingly becoming based on technocratic government.  For the time being this might attract young and minority voters invested in a minority President, but come 2016 and beyond this message could fail to appeal to an increasingly young and diverse electorate.

Conservatives should be wary of rejoicing however.  The state of conservatism is anything but healthy.  The election of 2012 showed that conservatism by itself  cannot win elections.  Strong candidates and a strong national party are needed to communicate it in such a way to win over voters.  But better communication is not going to fix the ideology’s problem alone.  Rather, conservatism has increasingly become the ideology of the wealthy and thus it has been easy to label Republicans who identify with it as only wanting to protect the rich.  This is also why the phrase “trickle down economics” has become so ingrained in political circles.

Now, I and many other conservatives would argue against this caricature.  But it exists and it has worked successfully in two straight Presidential elections.  There are ways to mitigate these attacks.  Conservatives would be smart to point out the inconsistency of liberalism.  For example, liberalism promises to lift the poorest out of poverty and instead usually makes them no better off then they were before.  On education, liberal cries of providing more money for teachers, thus unions, has not improved education and instead has directed the extra money to administrators and union hacks. Minorities are the primary victims in this sham.

The best proponents of conservatism know its strengths and its weaknesses.  They also know that it does not offer the answer to every problem the country faces.  But at times it can and has been modified to suit the needs of the country.  Consider President Reagan’s Tax Reform plan.  Though Reagan raised taxes on the wealthy he also eliminated burdensome regulations and fees on businesses and thus freed up economic capital.  As a result the economy was booming by 1984.

Conservatives would also be wise to consider how their beliefs play with different segments of the public and on what issue.  An example of this would be school choice.  In many states conservative Governors have pushed expanded school choice options for minorities and low-income individuals.  Yet, this has not led to conservatives gaining more of their votes.  Part of this is due to the campaign message most conservatives put out on the campaign trail.  But it also may point to the fact that conservatives do not know or at heart do not want to engage in wedge issues (other than abortion and gay marriage).  They should and with a passion.  This would allow the GOP in time to start to peel off blocs of the Democratic coalition and expand conservative ranks in the future.

Despite its problems the future of conservatism is bright.  It has a number of young standard-bearers  that can push it forward and remake its image to the public through actions and policies.  Conservatism has also shown incredible resurgence in trying times.  In 2009 when it was being written off, it took only a few issues for the ideology to be reignited.  More than lip-service will be needed for it to survive in the 21st century but it still has many believers.  It is time those who believe in it stop just paying lip-service to the ideology and 1) hone the conservative message and 2) actually deliver on that message.  This country will be well served by a conservative ideology guiding it forward.

 

How is the GOP’s outspoken conservatism still playing with the public?

In 2010 the GOP was buoyed by a wave of conservative support that gained them 63 House seats, 6 Senate seats and multiple governorships and state legislatures.  In 2012, conservatism suffered a major setback as fewer conservatives came out to the polls and far more moderates and liberals reelected President Barack Obama.

These are of course a mere two data-points that say only a little.  But it is clear the public was far more receptive to a conservative message when a progressive Democratic Party controlled all levers of the federal government.  Once Republicans and conservatives took control of the House the way they were viewed by the public shifted.  Instead of being able to just rail against leftist policies, conservatives had to find a way to govern.  The way they have governed has seen mixed views by the public.

Much of the GOP’s conservative turn can be attributed to the RSC (Republican Study Committee), created in the mid 1970’s, as an answer to the Democrat’s new Progressive Caucus.  The RSC has always had few members, partly because most GOP members were mainstream and represented swing districts.  But the RSC’s early weakness also had to do with the fact that the Congressional GOP was stuck in the minority from all through the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s.  As a result, GOP power was consolidated at the Presidential level.  Of course this changed in 1994 and an excellent article on the RSC’s history can be found here.

The RSC’ has a long history of pushing ideology over electoral victories and has played a major part in the GOP’s governing struggles since 2010.  Early in 2011, the RSC which represented a solid majority of the freshman Republican class, and the Republican Caucus overall, pushed John Boehner to confront the President and Democrats over the debt.  The result was the Debt Ceiling debate of 2011 where the sequester was born.  The RSC also quietly promoted many conservative GOP candidates for Senate and House seats in 2012.

When GOP leadership moved even slightly to the left on an issue it was the RSC that pushed back.  For leadership this created many issues in trying to appeal to the public and by the time of the election the GOP had a favorable rating among the public of about 35%.  Democrats buoyed by a reelected President took 2 new Senate seats and 8 House seats.

Conservatives were not initially moved by public opinion and the election.  The result of this was GOP opposition to John Bohener’s last-ditch “Plan B” during the Fiscal Cliff debate.  When it was voted down Obama and the Democrats were able to fully push their tax hikes and the result was higher taxes on individuals earning $400K and a couple earning $450K and above.  According to the IRS, over 10 years this would generate over $600 billion in revenue.

The GOP loss on the issue prompted leadership and the RSC to finally initiate a cease-fire and map out a legislative strategy at their retreat in Williamsburg, Virginia.  The GOP decided to let the sequester kick in with slight modifications and they also decided to have the battle over spending and debt be waged in August/September when the next debt ceiling hike would be needed.  So far the public has not softened their view of the GOP according to polls.  Yet, many in the party and among conservative circles feel like they have turned the corner.  Instead of having internal battles between conservatives, conservatives vs. moderates and conservatives vs. the GOP they are all working together.

The President’s scandals could turn the new GOP/conservative strategy on its head.  Conservatives could overreach and see the President as weakened by the time the debt ceiling debate rolls around.  They also could repeat the mistakes of the GOP when the impeachment of Clinton was ongoing.  For now though, while polls may not show the public views the GOP better, the party and conservatives feel they are in a better position.  And for 2014 and beyond that could be half the battle.

Why Abortion Rights Advocates are the NRA of the Left

I will be straight up on this.  I believe that life begins at conception.  I cannot imagine myself ever encouraging somebody to get an abortion except in the case of the mother’s life being threatened.  But I am practical.  I also know that women will get abortions because they do not want the child or they will find monsters like Kermit Gosnell.  The party I usually support, the GOP, is undergoing soul-searching on the issue and whether to de-emphasize social issues such as abortion.  Fortunately, if the party does, science and modern technology will carry on their cause.

Roe vs. Wade in 1973 established one of the most bitter and controversial issues in America.  The social right grew out of the ruling and the modern abortion rights left came out to challenge the social right.  Today, partial-birth abortion is legal at six months.  This is radical by even most developed nation standards.  France, Germany, Norway and Italy all make abortion illegal at three months.  The clinics that perform abortions are covered by rules and regulations.  Only a health of the mother exception, getting multiple doctor referrals and sometimes going before a medical board allow this rule to be sidestepped.

In the US the opposite exists.  Despite modern science showing that babies are alive, can feel pain and actually can be born and kept alive under six months the partial birth abortion ban stands at six months.  The groups that stand behind defending a women’s right to choose are the equivalent of the social right or the NRA in terms of loyal supporters and money.  Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, Moveon.org, National Organization for Women are just a few of the organizations that command the entire allegiance of a party, billions of dollars and millions of voters.

In the last two years these groups have squared off against Republicans and pro-life groups in at least a dozen states. In North Dakota three new pro-life laws were passed.  One of them is facing a court challenge by the Center for Reproductive Rights.  Arkansas recently passed a law making abortion illegal at three months instead of six.  In Texas, legislators de-funded Planned Parenthood and Arizona soon followed suit.  While some of these actions are obviously unconstitutional others are not, yet abortion advocates cry as much as much as the NRA does about any encroachment on the 2nd Amendment.

Consider North Dakota being sued by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRA).  The law North Dakota is being used over does not ban abortions but actually seeks to protect the lives of women seeking abortions.  Put simply, the law requires that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at local hospitals at least thirty miles away.  The law is designed to ensure that the Gosnell’s of the world cannot perform these operations. Instead, trained doctors would.  But talk to abortion rights supporters and this is an encroachment on the right to choose.  In fact, any regulation on their right to choose is an infringement.  Even if it is for safety.

Of course the issue of abortion is not quite that simple.  There will always be a grey area on the issue where many Americans fall.  But that has yet to stop abortion advocates from every coming down to Earth.  It is noticeable that while the social right has yet to tone down its language the left has.  The Left was deathly silent on Gosnell, and when they did say something it was the equivalent of calling him a lone wolf.  At the DNC in 2012 and when President Obama addressed Planned Parenthood in April 2013 the word “abortion” was noticeably absent.  Instead, words like “choice” and  “reproductive rights” were the order of the day.  Perhaps this is in response to the public’s revulsion of what Gosnell did or the fact that recent surveys, such as that from Gallup, have found a majority of Americans identify as pro-life.  Whatever the reason it has not dampened the abortion rights supporters from fighting any new rule on abortion.

It is sad to the left doing exactly what the right is doing but somehow thinking they are better.  More and more Americans are seeing a middle ground on the issue and while terminology and words can change, apparently actions cannot.  Until the left recognizes that that do what the right does on many issues they will forever be hypocrites   Some regulations and laws on abortion go to far, others are rational and fair.  But abortion rights advocates refuse to see this.  In time it is my belief that the partial birth abortion ban will be lowered to five months due to science and medicine. Further, new laws and rules and abortion procedures and operators will be ruled Constitutional or passed in state legislatures.  The Left can deny it all they want but the politics of abortion is changing.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/06/abortion-rights-community-has-become-the-nra-of-the-left.html

What chance does Gabriel Gomez have in the Massachusetts Senate Special Election?

Democrats remain haunted by the GOP’s 2010 Senate special election victory.  Then state senator Scott Brown rode a wave to defeat Attorney General Martha Coakley.  This time around Democrats vow a different result and their candidate has the name ID and money to do it.  Congressman Edward Markey has been in the US House of Representatives since the 70’s and has not faced a difficult race in decades.  He beat a more conservative Democrat in the primary and came out relatively unscathed.  On the GOP side a three candidate primary produced a near Scott Brown rerun.  Gabriel Gomez, a former Navy Seal has the wow factor that Scott Brown did.  But to win this race he may need something more.

Until recently national Republicans remained unsold on Gomez.  Despite his down-home speaking style and military record they had not seen any data stating he had a shot.  That is until recently.  A new poll taken by PPP showed Markey up by a mere 4 points, 44%-40%, while a Gomez campaign poll found him down 46%-43%.  This has given national Republicans a feeling they can play in this race.  Gomez has already contributed close to $600,000 of his own money in the campaign and he truly needs this outside support to be viable.  Markey on the other hand is sitting on over $3 million in cash he has yet to use to define his opponent.

Republicans hope that Gomez can be the Scott Brown of 2013.  Brown not only was a terrific and dedicated campaigner but he also appealed to moderates in the state and conservatives nationwide.  Like Brown, Gomez has already shown a willingness to buck standard GOP orthodoxy.  While he opposes limits on campaign finance and says he is a fiscal conservative he also supports gay marriage and abortion.  If ever another Republican were to win a statewide race in the state this is the script they likely must follow.

Whereas Brown ran at a time when the President was unpopular and the Democratic brand in deep-blue Massachusetts was tainted Gomez has no such luck.  His saving grace may be in how liberal Markey is.  In the most recent PPP survey more voters called Gomez ideologically right for the state and Markey to liberal for the state. Indeed, Markey has been safely ensconced in his district since he won a special election in 1979.  However, Gomez is just as raw a candidate as Markey is the dean of the Massachusetts congressional delegation.

Gomez’s rawness on the stump shows.  He laces his talks to voters with profanities and uses the word “like” more than many other candidates.  On the other hand it seems to play well with voters or at last certain kinds of voters.  In surveys Gomez wins voters in the Southern tip of the state and the Boston suburbs.  However, he looses big in metro Boston and the Eastern potion of the state.

Few Republicans have won statewide in recent decades in the state.  These Republicans were Weld, Cellucci, Romney and Brown.  Each cultivated a unique base of support for their victory.  Weld ran as a decidedly progressive Republican, even for the 90’s, and actually out-lefted his Democratic opponents.  This allowed Weld to win the Boston suburbs and get cross-over voters.  Cellucci, on the other hand, ran as a populist champion and won Southern Massachusetts as well as many conservative independents in two elections.  Romney won on the same base of support as Weld.  Brown’s support was the broadest in terms of the coalition he held.  He won conservative and moderate independents in the suburbs, conservatives in Southern Massachusetts and cross-over voters in Western Massachusetts.

For Gomez to win he likely has to cultivate one of these three bases of support.  Brown’s support seems the easiest to follow for the candidate.  Afterall, unlike Weld Gomez does not support gun control, putting him at odds with many voters in metro Boston and Western Massachusetts.  Gomez is not a populist like Cellucci which appeals more to downscale white voters.  Instead, his ideology and views better match up with Brown and his base of support and in surveys Gomez’s support closely matches Brown’s.

The problem for Gomez is that he is not winning Independents by the two-one margin Brown did and he also is winning fewer Democrats.  The electorate is also likely to be more liberal than what Brown faced thanks to national Democrats and Markey campaign efforts to mobilize their supporters.  Gomez, for his part, has played the part of the happy warrior in much the way Brown did.  It helped explain how Brown won in 2010 and cultivated such a broad base of support.  But whether it is enough remains to be seen.

Republicans are downplaying the results.  They expect Gomez to play but not to win.  Democrats seem to be expecting a Markey win.  But they also expected a Coakley win in 2010 as well.  Despite the differences between 2010 and this election there remain similarities.  An experienced, insider Democrat facing a novice, not well-known Republican.  Democrats expecting a win and the GOP a loss or close loss.  The largest unknown in the race is the President.  In the state Obama currently sits at 55%-60% approval.  When Brown won in 2010 Obama was at or under 50% approval.  Perhaps the recent scandals involving Bengahzi, the IRS and the AP/Fox News will drag down Obama’s approval and make voters support Gomez to send a message to the White House.  Gomez if he won would be up for a full term in 2014.  Only time will tell but right now the smart money is on a close Markey win.

Political Events Have and Always Will Impact Generations Views

Saturday night I sat watching “We were Soldiers.”  For those who have not or do not want to see the movie it is based off the book “We were soldiers once, and young.”  The movie chronicles the battle in the Ia Drang Valley, the first major engagement between American forces and North Vietnamese regulars in the Vietnam War.  Americans won, losing 57 soldiers to hundreds for the NV’s, but the victory fed false hopes the US could stop the spread of Communism in the region.

The movie led to me thinking about the political differences between the generations on domestic policy and especially foreign policy.  The Greatest Gen/Silent Generation grew up during a time when Hitler, Stalin and Japan were conquering large swathes of territory and committing atrocities unmatched in history.  Despite this generation being incredibly liberal domestically (think War on Poverty, Great Society, etc.) they were extremely interventionist in terms of foreign policy.  This generation gave FDR 4 terms in the White House, Truman 2, and Eisenhower 2 terms.  All these Presidents practiced interventionist policies in the fullest sense.

The Silent Generation’s views stood in stark contrast to those of their kids.  The baby-boomer generation is best known for protests against the Vietnam War, Woodstock and an extremely nuanced view on foreign policy.  This generation came of age during a time when the Vietnam War raged and their political views hardened as the war became worse and worse.  Today, the baby-boomer generation is more conservative than it has ever been but that does not equal being conservative on foreign policy.  Indeed, many boomers are more worried about domestic issues (Social Security, wealthy inequality, Medicare) than North Korea or Iran.

Following the Boomers came Generation Y.  This Generation came of age at a time when the Watergate Scandal had demolished Americans trust in the Executive Branch.  They also began to incorporate the debates of their age (Roe vs. Wade, Civil Rights, deregulation  taxes, etc.) into their political paradigm.  This generation saw the successes of the Reagan administration as well as its failures.  Today, Generation Y appears to be the strongest generation in terms of support for the military and defense spending.  This is likely a legacy of growing up under Reagan’s tenure.

The Millennial Generation is by far the most liberal generation since the Silent Generation.  They have handed Barack Obama 68% and 60% of their votes in 2008 and 2012.  They have also railed against foreign intervention and worry more about problems at home than abroad.  In both the Democratic and Republican Parties, the tail-end members of Generation Y and beginning of the Millennial Generation argue the US military is overstretched and should focus more at home.  Among the GOP these members include Senator Rand Paul (KY), Ted Cruz (TX) and to a lesser extent Marco Rubio (FL).

Now one can believe that whichever party promotes a “home-first” agenda will win Millennial voters.  But in truth their political views have yet to be fully formed.  It took the Baby-boomer generation well into the 70’s to become entrenched in their views.  Generation Y did not until the 90’s.  The Silent Generation firmly adopted their views early on, likely because of the massive impact of the Great Depression on their lives.  However, the Millennial Generation is a generation seeing the country undergo a massive change.  The Internet, social media, growing wealth inequality, gay marriage Iraq, Afghanistan, the breakdown of two-parent marriage is impacting them in ways obvious and not obvious.

The growing diversity of America bodes well for arguments between the age cohort theory and racial diversity theory.  The age cohort theory, of which I am a fan, argues that voters political views and attitudes come into being under the reigning President.  For the Millennial Generation that would be President Bush and to a lesser extent President Obama.  For Generation Z it would be Obama and the next President of the country.  The racial diversity theory argues that voters attitudes are heavily influenced and determined by their race.  In other words, if you are a minority, odds are good you will be a Democrat and if you are white you will likely grow up to be a Republican.  The racial diversity theory however assumes that racial political attitudes will stay stagnant and that neither political party will ever shift.  Tell that to the GOP and Democratic Parties who have shifted on immigration reform in order to court Hispanics and Asians.

How Generation Z goes is anybody’s guess.  Generation Z, to which my niece belongs, is a question mark.  Every single child of this generation is to young to vote and will have to navigate the pitfalls of a struggling society and growing technology.  Not surprisingly this generation has been named the Facebook Generation.  How social media impacts this generation could influence heavily their political views.  Social media could drive them to be more accepting different standards, desensitize them to violence (it does btw) and encourage isolationism abroad.  On the other hand current evidence suggests they will be more interventionist than their parents as threats abroad percolate, Al Qaeda regroups, North Korea becomes more belligerent, Iran develops the bomb, and Israel continues to be threatened.

The one thing these generations all have in common is that their political views will or did come of age in a time of political or geo-strategic crisis.  It has heavily impacted their views not just at home and abroad.  Vietnam left an indelible mark on this country.  The first counter-culture was born, American invincibility was dealt a serious blow and Watergate soon followed, smashing faith in governmental institutions.  Every generation has come of age at times like these and every generation into the future will as well.  The impact of these views on young voters attitudes should not be forgotten.

 

The Socially Conservative Case for Gay Marriage

Nothing these days seems more controversial than gay marriage.  In recent days and weeks Minnesota and Delaware have legalized gay marriage.  In less than two months the Supreme Court is set to rule on California’s Prop 8.  A lot will come to a head on the issue soon.  But that is merely background.  This article will be an illustration of why I, a social conservative who opposes abortion and supports traditional values, is rooting for the gay marriage movement to continue to succeed.

The idea of equality is firmly rooted in American culture.  As a result it should come as no surprise that many gay Americans who get to watch the Mark Sanford’s of the country get political redemption wonder why they are not allowed to marry those they love.  They have committed no crime, have not squandered tax dollars nor been unfaithful to the one they love.  Yet, they must watch the Sanford’s of this country get salvation and fervently say he believes in traditional values.

So if Mark Sanford can be forgiven for such actions why cannot gays be allowed to marry?  In a country where marriage is increasingly taking place at a later age and fewer are getting hitched it only seems to make sense to support monogamous marriage.  It has been well established by research that a stable two-parent family has psychological benefits for both parents and children.  In a study of heterosexual couples it was found that men who were married and had kids worked harder than single men.  The same phenomenon in a more recent study was found among married, working women in a household with kids.  It does not seem a stretch to say that future research may find the same thing in gay, married couples.  In the African-American community, the drop in marriage rates and more out-of-wedlock babies has coincided with stagnant income levels and increases in violence and drug use.  Thus, the importance of marriage cannot be overstated.

While many gays will identify as agnostic or atheist that should come as no shock.  Many of the most ardent opponents of gay marriage claim it goes against God’s word.  The socially conservative right has been the strongest voice against gay marriage.  But these social conservatives should realize that gays may not have the same religious beliefs but their views on tradition and the importance of marriage matches with theirs.  In the Bible-Belt, many states have higher divorce rates than states such as Massachusetts, New York State and Delaware indicting that legalizing gay marriage will not lead to higher overall divorce rates.

Unlike Time Magazine I do not believe the gay marriage debate is over.  It may take decades for the movement to see marriage equality in all fifty states if the Supreme Court does not rule it so in June.  But that may give gay marriage more legitimacy than ever.  It would allow younger social conservatives such as myself to explain why gay marriage is a good thing for this country (currently a majority of all Americans and almost half of all social conservatives under 25 support gay marriage).  It would also give the public a chance to see the societal benefits of allowing gay marriage.  These benefits would be the strengthening of the institution of marriage, more two-parent families and rising incomes.  All these things are positives and in time I believe the American people will see it as well.

Polls Begin to Diverge in Virginia

As the Virginia gubernatorial race rapidly approaches a series of new polls have come out showing divergent results.  The most recent survey from Quinnipiac showed Terry McCauliffe leading Ken Cuccinelli (R) 43%-38% among registered voters.  Surveys taken in late April by the Washington Post and NBC/Marist among likely voters showed Cuccinelli ahead.  So what explains this difference?  I have a few thoughts on this.

First-off, it is a little early for many surveyors to be using likely voter models to predict turnout for the race.  Yet, both the NBC and Washington Post surveys are using them.  Since off-year constitutional elections tend to have lower turnout than other elections it is no surprise the survey is showing more devoted conservative Republican voters participating.  According to the Washington Post’s internal numbers 28% of likely voters identified as Democrats, 26% as Republicans, about 30% as Independent and the rest as other or did not answer.  Contrast this with Quinnipiac’s survey which looked at a larger sample of 1,200+ registered voters.  Among those sampled well over 30% identified as Democrat, only about 25% as Republican and the rest as Independent or other.  So Quinnipiac’s survey leans more to the left by default.  This is a national trend as many occasional voters register as Democrats and thus tend to skew registered voter samples compared to the actual electorate.

Another factor is where the Independents lean in each survey.  In the Quinnipiac survey Cuccinelli and McCauliffe attract about 35% of Independent support.  In essence this creates a net draw among key swing voters and base turnout determines the race.  If this is true than McCauliffe has an edge simply by the fact there are more Democrats in the electorate than Republicans.  The NBC survey also showed the candidates deadlocked among Independents and thus base turnout is giving Cuccinelli the edge in the survey.  In the Washington Post survey which found Cuccinelli up five among probably likely voters and 10 among those most likely to vote Cuccinelli has a wide lead.  Independents seem to be leading the difference in polling results.

Lastly, ideology is playing a role in each survey.  In the Washington Post survey a majority of respondents said the Federal Government was doing too much and conservatives made up about 35% of the electorate.  In the Quinnipiac and NBC surveys those numbers were very different with fewer voters identifying as conservative or believe the Federal Government is doing too much.  Voters who are conservative and believe the Federal Government is doing too much fueled GOP victories in 2009 and 2010 and could help fuel a Republican victory in Virginia in 2013.

There could very well be other reasons why the survey results are diverging.  It could simply be random chance or the way the pollsters are weighting the results.  Regardless, survey results are starting to diverge and that is sure to fuel debate well into the future about who is going to win the Virginia race but more importantly, how polling should be handled in an ever-changing political and demographic environment.