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Virginia Elections and Immigration

FRIDAY, NOV 03, 2017

Leading up to Election Day, explore Social Explorer’s historical election results maps. One hotly contested race is Virginia’s gubernatorial election. Taking place just one year after the presidential election, the race is seen as an indicator of political party power in both the state and the nation.

Current Lieutenant Governor, Ralph Northam, is running against former chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ed Gillespie.

The Virginia constitution limits governors to one consecutive term, forcing regular turnover of the office and in recent years a rotation of parties. (In 2009, Republican Bob McDonnell won the Virginia gubernatorial election after Democrat Tim Kaine. In 2013, Democrat Terry McAuliffe won.)

Many commentators are viewing this race as a test of Donald Trump’s appeal, with issues like confederate statues and immigration at play. (Visit our recent blog post, for a look at race in Virginia after the Charlottesville confederate statue protests and deaths earlier this year.)

Regarding the immigration controversy, Gillespie’s campaign ads portray Northam’s vote against banning sanctuary cities as a move to empower illegal immigrants and criminals. (Vivid television ads depicting the violent El Salvadorian street gang MS-13 are stoking fears these fears.)

Using Social Explorer, we took a look at where the foreign born population lives across the state. These interactive maps from 2000 and today show where immigrants live in Virginia.

The 2000 Census shows that 8.1 percent of Virginia residents were foreign born--less than the national number of 11.1 percent. According to the 2016 American Community Survey, that number increased by over 50 percent to 12.3 percent, but still lags behind the rest of the U.S. (13.5 percent).

The following side-by-side maps of the 2008 and 2016 presidential elections show variations in the state at the county level. Click around to see which red areas got redder and which blue areas got bluer.

The immigrant population tends to be larger in cities, which also have more Democratic Party voters.

Looking deeper at the map reveals more about voting patterns, especially because population density varies greatly from county to county. The following bubble map offers more detail. The size of the bubble indicates the number of votes and the shade of the bubble indicates the percent difference between the two major political parties.

Learn more about Social Explorer’s election maps, and get started making your own. 

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