Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What 2009 Means for 2010, 2012

Even before last nights results flooded in, national prognosticators were speculating on what this year's gubernatorial race (as with New Jersey's) would mean in the grand scheme of things. To head off any over-analyzation, several news outlets warned not too read too much into the tea leaves. The pre-set meme to be utilized, voiced here by the Washington Post:
But White House and Democratic Party leaders know that a loss in either state this fall will be interpreted as a setback for Obama. Republican victories in either state will boost a beleaguered party that is searching desperately for signs of renewal.

Virginia and New Jersey will be important for another reason. A lingering question from the 2008 election is whether the enthusiasm surrounding Obama's candidacy was singularly focused or transferable to other Democrats when he is not on the ballot. His candidacy was fueled by the passions he engendered among his followers and by the strongly anti-Bush sentiment in the country. To what extent did the results in 2008 signal affirmative endorsement of the Democratic Party?

But as the Post article opens:

Off-year elections rarely predict the future -- except when they do. That's why Democratic and Republican leaders will be closely watching the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and especially Virginia between now and November.
Echoing that voice, Salon's Mike Madden believes that off-year elections provide only little help, if any, to make larger claims for or against the Obama Administration:

Local elections can provide small glimpses of what each party is doing right – or wrong – but looking for a deep national significance in the result is just the latest example of the Washington political establishment's thinking that everything that goes on around the country has to do with something happening inside the Beltway.
In a similar manner, NPR admits the political obsession to make transcendent claims from the results of these elections:
But we, the political cognoscenti, have this ingrained and annoying habit of over-interpreting elections. That's especially true of off-year elections, like this year's gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey, or special elections ...
Sometimes, off-year elections or special elections do signal larger trends, but generally we should not over-analyze the results:
So sometimes we do learn something in these isolated elections. But for the most part, attempts at reading tea leaves and extrapolating results into a BIG MESSAGE are often just silly.
Mental note.


Hokie Guru said...

I really don't think it means much... for 2010 and 2012...

As incredibly weak as Corzine is in NJ, I think he survives... and I think our guy Creigh wins :-)

In 2010, I expect the Democrats to gain 1-2 seats in the U.S. Senate and hold even or maybe lose as many as 10 seats in the U.S. House.

But if there's a second crash coming in the mortgage market (like some of those adjustable rate mortgages that are coming around), then all bets are off.

That's my take, Drew.

Hokie Guru said...

You might want to check out the ABSOLUTE BEST Senate blog on the 'net: