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Note on Party Identification

Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 7, 2007

Bottom line: the reported party identification in this poll does not impact the assessment that Virginia may be in play in 2008.

In this poll, 33 percent of Virginians identify themselves as Democrats, 27 percent as Republicans and 29 percent as independents. Among registered voters who cast ballots in the 2006 congressional elections, the party identification breakdown was 32 percent Democratic, 31 percent Republican and 29 percent independent.

The 2006 Virginia exit poll - which is also a survey with a margin of sampling error, etc. - reported 39 percent Republican, 36 percent Democratic and 26 percent independent/other.

The exit poll and telephone polls are not directly comparable on party identification. Exit polls occur directly after voting, which reinforces partisan affiliation, even if it's transitory. It is also conceivable that the shift away from Republican identification that has been detailed at the national level has also happened in Virginia.

Re-weighting the current data to correspond to the party identification estimates from the exit poll, does not change the 2008 outlook.

The adjusted 2008 voter preference numbers are 41 percent Democratic candidate, 37 percent Republican. Virginia has the potential to be a swing state, regardless of any exacting party breakdown. When recalculated, 57 percent say they'd seriously consider voting for a Democratic presidential candidate, 53 percent said so about a Republican one.

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