Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Election Day 2009

Summary: Happy Election Day - will political predictions come true?

It’s the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November - and although it’s not an even-numbered year this year, today is still Election Day.

With polls closing in Maine, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia in less than 12 hours we thought we’d bring you some Election Day analysis from pundits across the news media and blogosphere.

From NBC Political Director Chuck Todd:

“We know that whether Jon Corzine wins or loses, he won't get 50 percent, meaning more than half of the state voted to oust him in a very blue state.

We know that the Republican Party has to deal with two rifts, one that is ideological, the other a battle between the establishment and grassroots. The two rifts are not interchangeable.

We know that not being associated with either political party is a net plus with many voters — from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s expected victory, to Chris Daggett's influence in New Jersey, to Doug Hoffman's rise in New York's 23rd Congressional District.

And we know that the president's coattails have gotten shorter…

…Let's start with what should be the biggest lesson: The return of the angry independent.

The one thing Daggett and Hoffman have in common is that they both have anti-establishment, anti-political party credentials. And both used those attributes to gain credibility.

While lots of folks want to paint 2010 as either a midterm election like 1994 (Democratic over-reach backlash), or 1982 (economic angst), let me suggest that things are looking more like 1992, when a billionaire gadfly galvanized the radical middle…

…there are a few other things about [the Virginia] race that shouldn't be overlooked.

First, McDonnell avoided a divisive primary and didn't have to "run right" before running to the middle in the general. In fact, McDonnell got to run to the middle the entire year — his ads project a pragmatic problem solver who can work with both parties. It should be a model for Republican gubernatorial candidates in 2010, and perhaps for any Republican pondering a presidential run in 2012…

…Second, McDonnell was of course helped by the inept campaign run by Democrat Creigh Deeds. But the irony is this: Deeds is the most centrist/moderate Democrat the party has nominated this century. He is to the right of Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, and Jim Webb, but he was painted as someone more liberal than any of those three. These mistakes are on Deeds and his campaign. It's a good reminder that campaigns matter.”

From Newsweek’s Howard Fineman:

“President Barack Obama believes in the saving grace of the federal government.

But do the American people?

In a time of economic uncertainty and fear, that is the core question implicit — and sometimes explicit — on Election Day 2009…

…It's always dangerous to extrapolate national trends from scattered local elections such as these.

And of course, as I write, we don't know the results — only which way the polls were heading in the final days. But I think in this case the message is already clear: Voters, who launched the Obama Era with so much hope a year ago, are still hopeful but they're also skeptical.

And they are once again impatient with Washington, and with big shots of any stripe — on Wall Street or the nation's capital — who seem more interested in increasing their own power than truly solving problems.”

From MSNBC host and former Rep. Joe Scarborough:

“A big Republican win in Virginia will not be an earth mover, but instead confirm that the home of Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee is a toss up state that still swings Republican. A Bob McDonnell victory will be seen by most in the media as reflecting a rising discomfort with the explosive growth of Washington, but also, perhaps more importantly, the weakness of the Democratic candidate…

…Every Democratic consultant I've talked to over the past few days has let loose involuntary groans every time they talked about [the New Jersey] race. Many Democrats began quietly predicting the collapse of the independent candidate at the end of last week and assumed that factor would help Christie.

Last minute polls suggest they may be right.

Still, I believe the Democrats' turnout operation should keep this race tight all night. If the race is instead a blowout, that can only be bad news for the Democrats.

And for those second guessing the president's active involvement in Corzine's race, the fact is that Barack Obama had no choice but to jump head first into the Jersey fight. All the president's men know that a Republican sweep in New Jersey and Virginia will strike fear in the hearts of those swing state Democrats who now hold the future of health care in their sweaty moderate hands…

…Hoffman's ascendancy in NY-23 is less about Barack Obama than it is about a decade of bloated and corrupt Republican leadership in Washington, D.C. This race gave the same conservatives who helped drive Ronald Reagan's victory and the 1994 Republican Revolution something to cheer about for the first time in a long time. It also gave them an opportunity to stick it to an incompetent GOP Establishment…

Here are my predictions a little more than 24 hours before the polls close:

Virginia-- Bob McDonnell by 10+
New Jersey-- Chris Christie by 1
New York 23-- Doug Hoffman by 7

…(Despite my prediction, I still have a hard time seeing Jon Corzine losing this race.)”

Also, be sure to check out Politico’s “5 Things to Watch for” in Virginia, New Jersey, and NY-23, as well as a good article on the gay-marriage referendum in Maine.

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