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VA: Indie warning signs for Dems

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Democrats should heed a warning inside the numbers in the Virginia gubernatorial race -- independent drift and a significant drop off among young voters.

In 2008, candidate Obama won independent voters in Virginia, 49%-48%, according to exit polls. But the exits in this year's contest show that independents abandoned Creigh Deeds (D) and went overwhelmingly for the Republican, Bob McDonnell, 65%-34%.

Voters, age 18-29, made up more than one in every five voters in 2008 (21%) in Virginia. This year, they made up just 10%. They broke 60%-39% for Obama, but went for McDonnell, 54%-45%.

By contrast, older voters (65+) made up more of the electorate this time around in Virginia. In 2008, voters 65 and older made up 11% of the electorate; in 2009, 18%. They broke for the Republican both times -- in 2008, 53%-46% for John McCain; in 2009, 59%-41% for McDonnell.

Additionally, there was a five-point dropoff among black voters from 2008. Black voters made up a whopping 20% of all Virginia voters when Obama was on the ballot. This time, though, they made up 16%.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The exit poll data have been updated after a third wave; the above post has been adjusted accordingly.]