November 3, 2009 was a good day for the GOP. Several strong wins for key governorships, a clean sweep of state officers in Virginia, and yet a historical loss in NY-23 which has been Republican since 1867.
So where is America going?
— Women voted Democratic in both the New Jersey and Virginia governor races. Men voted Republican. Both sexes favored their candidates by the simplest of majorities: 51-52%.
— Young voters did not turn out in huge numbers, but voters under the age of 30 voted Democratic in both New Jersey and Virginia by a simple majority.
— The majority of voters were between the age of 45-60, an age group which favors Republicans.
— Black Americans stayed home in Virginia. Only 15% went to the polls. Democrats worked hard to mobilize minority voters and women to oppose a demonized Republican candidate. Women did vote Democratic but the question is whether the Democrats should have focused on issues rather than ‘we know we got your vote if we could just get you to the polls’ — obviously, a failed strategy.
— Atlanta has a white population of 38% yet has given the edge to its first white mayoral candidate since 1973. A runoff is required so stay tuned for the final outcome.
— Coloradans rejected the power of government to seize people’s cars just because they drive without a license.
— Maine referendum repeals last year’s law legalizing gay marriage: 53% to 47%.
— An openly gay mayoral candidate in Houston, Texas finishes in the lead but must still compete in a runoff.
— Not only conservatives but very liberal organizations turned on Dede Scozzafava in NY-23. Dede was given an award by ‘The Susan B. Anthony List’ for support of abortion rights, but the organization spent $142,000 in advertising attacking her in her bid for NY-23.
— Power of newspapers – does it matter any longer? The Washington Post strongly endorsed a number of candidates in Virginia’s election. Some would say the Post went out of its way to target those that it didn’t endorse. Candidates getting the Post’s endorsement lost.
— Were the Virginia and New Jersey governorship races a decision on President Obama’s performance? Obama remains popular in both states well above the 50% mark. Voters in both states said their #1 concern was the economy: New Jersey 90% said economy, and 85% in Virginia.
Independents Picked The Winners
The biggest story really is that it was independent voters that decided 2009’s winners and losers. Not only were there a number of strong independent campaigns, but independents picked the winners while party partisans overwhelming voted for their own.
Exit polls in Virginia showed that 94% of Republicans voted Republican and 95% of Democrats voted Democratic. With an edge in registered voters then you would think that the Democrats would have won.
New Jersey and Virginia exit polls show that independents overwhelmingly voted Republican. Virginia’s McDonnell got 62% of independent votes, and Chris Christie got 58% in New Jersey.
If 2009’s election was an indication of things to come in 2010 then the message was clear: reach out to your base, but if you don’t win the independent vote then you WILL NOT WIN.
Independents vote issues. If you want their vote then you, we, someone needs to answer these questions: How is this good for America? How is this good for me?
This blog by Bill Golden, Bill4DogCatcher.com, an independent fed up with party politics but friendly to the concept of smaller government, maximum personal freedoms, Main Street over Wall Street, fiscal responsibility and community first.