ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) -- When Virginia’s Eric Cantor officially relinquished his role this past week as House Majority Leader and announced he'd resign from Congress altogether later this month, it served as an interesting juxtaposition with a comprehensive analysis released a couple of days ago by HaystaqDNA.
In it, the comprehensive polling firm showed that despite decided underdog David Brat beating Cantor in the primary with well-chronicled, full-throated support of tea party activists, Virginia’s 7th District – which stretches from the Richmond suburbs to Culpeper – isn’t exactly a bastion of tea party activism.
Of the many theories as to why Cantor -- long thought to be the next Speaker -- lost the seat he had held since 2001, here are the main three:
• Brat and his tea-party based backers rode the anti-all-things-D.C. wave.
• Brat’s supporters came out in force while more establishment GOP types in the 7th assumed Cantor would win easily and stayed home on election day.
• Cantor simply had become disconnected from his home base, and voters noticed.
Haystaq’s analysis shows that the first point is highly questionable, the second less so and the third looming as the most accurate.
For example, it shows tea party support in most of the 7th relatively low. Henrico County was tabbed with a 23.1 percent tea party approval rating; Chesterfield, 26.9; Hanover, 29.8.
On a larger scale, the HaystaqDNA analysis shows that the tea party lacks strength in areas where Senate seats need to be won by GOP for power shift.
That backs up what many but not all political observers thought all along: Cantor’s loss was an outlier.
Here’s a link to the interactive map, with national analysis by Talking Points Memo: http://bit.ly/1k5rVvx