Ventura County's reputation as being something of a bellwether county -- solidified by the fact that its voters have picked the winner in presidential elections more than 95 percent of the time over the last century -- took a beating on Tuesday. It appears, at least for the moment, that the county has reverted to its Orange County-like conservatism of the Reagan years, when the only thing that kept its bellwether reputation intact was the fact that the rest of the country was enamored of Ronald Reagan as well.
In Tuesday's vote in the governor's race, there was an 18-point variance from the statewide result. Meg Whitman carried Ventura County 50 percent to 45 percent, while Jerry Brown carried the state 54 percent to 41 percent.
There was a decided Republican tilt to the Ventura County vote in the previous three gubernatorial elections as well, but nothing like last night. In 2006, the variance was 5 percentage points; in 2002, 9 percentage points; and in 1998, 10 percentage points.
The evidence is pretty clear that in Ventura County yesterday, Democrats largely stayed home -- conceding back to Republicans the dominance they have enjoyed, with a very brief interruption, since the early 1980s.