Lets see how I did on the predictions...
Prediction: Menino: 61 Flaherty: 39
Actual: Menino 57, Flaherty 43
Not too far off, though Flaherty ran a closer race than I thought...if Flaherty had more money to advertise who knows....Actually, Menino just was not beatable, but this may well be his last term. He will be 70 in 2013 and Flaherty may make another run at this. Bostonians just like their mayors and were not ready to change things up.
Prediction: McDonnell (R) 54 Deeds (D) 46
Actual: McDonnell 59 Deeds 41
Big win for the Republicans and more ominously for President Obama who had campaigned for Deeds; Independents swung back toward the Republican Candidates in The Old Dominion and counties that went for Obama in 2008 did not support Deeds in 2009. Of course this was not a referendum on the president, but it could be an early sign of discontent with his perceived "overreaching" on a number of issues..
Prediction: Corzine (D) 45 Christi (R) 43 Daggett (I) 12
Actual: Christi 49, Corzine 45, Daggett 6
I was wrong, but I did call it a toss-up...Bigger win for Republicans as NJ is a pretty deep shade of blue. The general loathing of Corzine by many voters and the fading of Daggett's independent run propelled Christi to the Governor's mansion. The economy and corruption were major issues and Christi won big among men and independents. Another warning bell for the president as he campaigned heavily for Corzine.
NY, 23rd District
Prediction: Hoffman (C) 44 Owens (D) 38 Scozzafava (R) 18
Actual: Owens 49 Hoffman 45 (D) 38 Scozzafava 5
I missed this one. The intra-party warfare of the local Republicans enabled the Democrats to pick up a long-time Republican seat. Also, credit Owens and his organization for getting out their voters. The battle between the Conservatives and Moderates in the Republican Party was openly waged here. I always tell my classes that a party has to have a "big tent" to be successful in the long run. In the Northeast, strict conservative Republicans simply do not play as well as they may in other parts of the nation. This district was Republican, but was not fertile hard-core conservative territory as far as I can tell.
So what does all this mean?
Incumbents did not fare particularly well with Corzine (who spent ridiculous amounts of money) going down. Mayor Bloomberg in NYC barely held on - someone calculated that he spend $166 on every vote he received. Even in Massachusetts, several incumbent mayors (Worcester, Lynn, Brockton) lost their seats. Could this be bad news for Governor Patrick...
Voters are very concerned with the state of the economy. If it does not turnaround there may well be a lot of political bloodletting with an angry electorate one year from now.
Turnout is key, many young voters who came out for Obama in VA and NJ did not come out this time around. Involved people are motivated voters.
Was this a referendum on President Obama? No, local issues and candidates typically dominate these elections, but the White House cannot be pleased with the turnout of events here. These results may force some course corrections in the administration as vulnerable Democrats (especially in red states) may not want to be tied to closely to the president in 2010.
Onwards to 2010...