Blame Weak Candidates, Not Obama

Polling guru gives a post-mortem on last night's elections
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2009 8:36 AM CST
Republican Gov-elect Bob McDonnell, left, and Lt. Gov-elect, Bill Bolling wave to the crowd during their victory party in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2009.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
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(Newser) – The numbers are in, now it's time to make sense of them. Nate Silver breaks down last night's election results:

  • Don’t blame Obama; Creigh Deeds and Jon Corzine were probably just weak candidates. In New Jersey, 57% of voters approved of Obama, but 27% of those supporters voted Republican anyway. In Virginia 20% of those who approved of Obama voted GOP.
  • Democrats had turnout problems in Virginia; the voters who came out last night supported McCain 51-43 in 2008, a mirror image of that year's margin.

  • Bill Owens’ win is “a reminder that all politics is local (sometimes).” Doug Hoffman’s support mostly came from outside the district, but he was too conservative for the center-right NY-23.
  • Gay marriage loses in Maine, thanks to an urban-rural divide, a factor Silver says should be considered in addition to a state's religiosity. The enthusiasm gap is closing on the issue, but it's still getting the right out of the house and to the polls.
  • Mike Bloomberg’s win was really narrow, despite voters approving of his performance 70-29. Why? Because 58% said his decision to extend his term limit influenced their vote.
(Read more Election 09 stories.)