The historical map of presidential elections shows that Virginia was for decades a red state till 2008, when Obama won this state. Interestingly enough, since then it has always voted for Democrats. What's the reason behind this sudden and dramatic change?

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    It should be noted that in 1976, 1992 and 1996 even though Republicans won the electoral votes they did not get over 50% of the votes in the state. 270towin.com/states/Virginia
    – Joe W
    Commented Aug 23, 2022 at 18:00
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    "was always" Only seems to go back to 1964. Also with the US election system designed the way it is, it might not really be a dramatic change, even subtle changes (say from 49 to 51%) might result in that observed behavior. Commented Aug 23, 2022 at 19:04
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    @Trilarion The civil rights act was passed in 1964 and that lead to members of the Democratic party switching to the Republican party. history.com/news/…
    – Joe W
    Commented Aug 23, 2022 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


Mostly the Federal Government, centered in Washington DC. Fairfax County, (which sits across the Potomac from DC) for instance overwhelmingly went Democrat in 2020

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This one county represents about 20% of the entire state's population. This is Farfax county's trend (Presidential contests, pulled from here)

Year Republican Democrat
2000 202,181 196,501
2004 211,980 245,671
2008 200,994 310,359
2012 206,773 315,273
2016 157,710 355,133
2020 168,401 419,943

It's helped Virginia turn bluer, but it's far from a lock. VA has had two Republican governors in that time as well (2009 and 2021).

  • But Virginia already turned blue in 2008 (says the question). Was it also Fairfax County in 2008 that overwhelmingly turned Democrat? Commented Aug 23, 2022 at 19:05
  • @Trilarion It's trended bluer. In 2004, 245k voters went for John Kerry. In 2008 310k went for Obama. The last Republican to carry the county was Bush in 2000 with 202k.
    – Machavity
    Commented Aug 23, 2022 at 20:05
  • The county also must have increased its number of votes/size/population substantially (Biden + Trump=587k) while Bush 202k win means that there likely weren't more than 404k votes in 2000. Commented Aug 23, 2022 at 20:10
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    So wrt to the title question "Why did Virginia turn blue after G.W.Bush?" the answer is really suburban D.C. population growth.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Aug 24, 2022 at 8:23

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