Dr. Kidd and Dr. Bitecofer go to Washington

The Wason Center put CNU on the national stage

Just a day after votes were cast for the 2018 midterm elections in Virginia, the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy was on the move. Travelling to D.C. to report on the election and the data collected at Christopher Newport University, Dr. Quentin Kidd and Dr. Rachel Bitecofer, the Director and Assistant Director of the center respectively, represented CNU on a national stage. They appeared on Sky News, provided their voice to WAMU and visited NBC/MSNBC on behalf of the center.

The 36 hour long trip was tightly scheduled. Bitecofer recalled a time in which she only had 18 minutes to make it from one end of the D.C. to the other. Succeeding in the trip, she said, “I always joke that, when needed, I can bend space and time and now my CNU team knows it.”

According to Bitecofer this election was similar to the 2017 Virginia elections, but there was a question of the scope of this similarity. “We knew that backlash to Trump would shape the elections and change the electorate, but were not sure of how much it could change,“ she said.

For this election in particular the Wason Center chose to focus on competitive House races, specifically those in Congressional Districts 2, 7 and 10, rather than the Senate race which featured incumbent senator Tim Kaine.

Their data and forecasting models predicted the flip of the tenth and seventh districts. They also reported that the second district could flip if there was a democratic surge of voters.

This was exactly the case for the election with Bitecofer stating that a change in demographics affected the vote. 

“Like in races nationwide, turnout among college educated women and suburban voters broke decisively in favor of Democrats and led to a large Blue Wave in the House,” Bitecofer said.

These were among some of the topics discussed on their tightly packed trip around the journalism world in D.C. on Nov. 7.

As the midterm elections have ended, the Wason Center will turn their focus to state legislative elections as well as their annual Assembly policy survey. They will also start to explore, as Bitecofer stated, “the impact of the Trump presidency on the balance of power in Richmond after the fall 2019 elections.”

The Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy was established in 2007 in order to provide non-partisan scientific policy and political information. This information is collected through polling done by CNU students. The center is frequently cited by local papers in the area and has previously been cited in major national publications like the Washington Post, NPR, Huffington Post, Business Insider.

The center is currently hiring students part time. Their applications can be found on the CNU Handshake system.


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