Bellwhether Communities

the demographics of presidential bellwether jurisdictions between 1956-2020 were significantly different
the demographics of presidential bellwether jurisdictions between 1956-2020 were significantly different
Source: Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), Presidential Bellwethers

By 2020, the city of Staunton had become a barometer for predicting election results that was "scary accurate for Virginia statewide numbers." As far back as 2014, a former member of the House of Delegates from Staunton noted:1

Not only has Staunton been consistent with picking the winner, but her accuracy over the last EIGHT state wide elections with the spread and actual percentage vote for BOTH parties and third parties is...well...amazing.

However, between 1956-2020, Westmoreland County held the record for voting most consistently with the national winner in presidential contests. Out of 17 contests, it voted for the winner 15 times. In every race starting in 1964 through 2016, Westmoreland County voters chose the winner. That streak was broken in 2020, when the majority of voters supported re-election of President Donald Trump. Next in line as a presidential bellwether was the City of Radford, with 14 elections (including 2020) matching the ultimate winner.2

In the 16 elections for Governor between 1961-2021, Democratic candidates won nine times and Republican candidates won seven times. The City of Fairfax held the record for the longest continuous streak of picking the winner in races for Governor, picking the winner in 15 consecutive elections between 1961-2017. That streak was broken in 2021, when the Republican candidate won the election but City of Fairfax voters gave the Democratic candidate 64% of their votes.

Prince Edward County voted for the winner yet again in 2021. After that election it had the longest current streak, with 13 straight decisions in which county voters matched the statewide winner for Governor. Including the 1961 election, Prince Edward County had voted for a losing candidate only once through 2021. In 1969, the county supported William Battle over Linwood Holton by a 50-48% margin, but Holton won that election.3

Republican Victory Statewide in 2021

The Fighting Ninth Congressional District in Southwest Virginia

Nominating Candidates of Political Parties in Virginia

Third Party Candidates and Independents

Virginia Political Parties



1. "Virginia's Most Accurate Locality," Chris Saxman blog, November 4, 2014,; "Saxman: Post Election Observations," Bearing Drift blog, November 5, 2020,; "Record Turnout in Virginia," Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP),; "How Donald Trump Turned Off Swing Voters in 2020," Sabato's Crystal Ball, August 25, 2021, (last checked August 28, 2021)
2. "Presidential Bellwethers," Virginia Public Access Project, (last checked November 26, 2020)
3. "Gubernatorial Bellwethers," Virginia Public Access Project,; "1969 Governor General Election," Virginia Department of Elections,; "2021 November General," Virginia Department of Elections, checked November 13, 2021)

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