It always takes a few days for the CW to settle on one particular theory, but one part of the CW will certainly be that Junior had a rough night. Republicans did very poorly in both VA and NJ, worse than was expected. Was this Junior's fault? Not really, but his negative poll rating are helping to demoralize the party, and a demoralized party doesn't turn out on Election Day. It has created a real problem for the WH. I think that they have figured out that they won't be able to significantly improve their poll numbers merely by taking on issues that their Conservative base wants, it turns off too many moderates who are increasingly questioning everything they one believed (or wanted to believe) about Bush. But by tacking to the center, the base doesn't become energized. Its a catch-22.
Virginia has to be especially worrisome to the GOP. Their vaunted GOTV didn't seem to have a noticeable impact, the typical strategy of pointing at the opponent and calling him a liberal fell flat and even though they won the Lt. Gov.'s race (and it looks like the AG's race as well, although that race is only about 2,000 votes apart right now) both races were closer than they should have been. (Leslie Byrne is as liberal a statewide candidate that the Democrats have run in 15 years.) With the growth of the northern suburbs around DC, this election may signal Virginia may be about to move into the category Ohio is in for national politics: leans Republican, but the right Democrat can make it competitive.
Corzine's 9 point victory was bigger than recent polls had suggested. I think that Forester's ex-wife ad backfired and although it may have raised some questions about Corzine in voters minds, it answers some that they had about Forester. At this point, I think that NJ Republicans only hope is that the Democrats simply become so corrupt that the public can't stomach it.
California wisely rejected all of their ballot questions. (I say wisely not because I am particularly familiar with any of the, but because I abhor governing by ballot questions. We like in a Republic, not a Democracy.) If anyone is feeling worse than the WH right now, it is Ahnuld. This became a referendum on his term as Governor, and he lost big time. Luckily he has a year to try and improve his standing, although I think that there will now be serious questions asked about whether he even runs for a second term.
And in a vote that I didn't even know about, the voters in Dover PA, voted out all 8 incumbent school board members
after the Board voted to include "Intelligent Design" teaching in Science classes, which resulted in a Court challenge and making the town look pretty silly.
(Just for the record, I went 7 for 9 on my election predictions
. I missed on Va and Detroit.)
Other reactions from around the web:The Carpetbagger
feels good after Election Day for a change.Kevin Aylward
thinks the VA results had everything to do with Kilgore and nothing to do with a grand Democratic victory.OTB
thinks the Mark Warner is in a good place, Junior less so, but warns that these were all local elections.Joe Gandelman
disagrees and thinks last night was a clear angry message by voters.Electoral Math
runs down the good, bad and ugly.Decision 08
thinks 2005 should be a wake up call, but says not to overreact.Brendan Nyhan
also believes that the initiative process is a disaster.Erza Klein
says you can't argue with results.Tom Maguire
approves of the voters decision in Dover, PA.Captain Ed
calls it a good night for Democrats and hopes the GOP understands why they lost.The Bull Moose
calls Mark Warner a red-hot commodity.McGhee
doesn't see what the big deal is.Polipundit
thinks that the GOP needs to reconnect with their voters.
My favorite quote: "Republicans on Capitol Hill are so scared already. This is just going to make them more fearful that 2006 could be a disaster." - Charlie Cook