Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Defeating Bush

That's obviously the goal for Democrats and the dominant media. Try to create the impression that everything that happens that's undesireable for Republicans is a referendum on Bush. Thus after the elections yesterday you have articles like this one:

Democrats Win Elections in N.J. and Va.

Democrats cleaned up big in off-year elections from New Jersey to California, sinking the candidate who embraced President Bush in the final days of the Virginia governor's campaign.

And an article from Chris Cillizza in the WaPo, who intimates that NJ might not have been a rejection of Bush, but Virginia, in his view, was:

Unlike this year's other major off-year race, in which Tim Kaine won Virginia's governorship in a Republican-leaning state, Corzine relied on his state's natural Democratic edge -- with the result that his victory carries less of a clear message about the political strength of President Bush or the national parties.

But Michael Shear, also of the WaPo disagrees:

Virginians elected Democrat Timothy M. Kaine yesterday as the state's next governor, choosing him to continue the centrist legacy of popular Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) and rejecting the Republican candidate for the state's top job a second time in four years.


Democrats' easy successes did not extend to the other statewide races.

Despite those caveats Howard Dean was crowing:

"I believe national Republican politics … really had an effect in Virginia and California," said Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean. Voters "don't like the abuse of power, they don't like the culture of corruption. They want the nation to go in a different way."

Unfortunately for Dr. Dean, exit polling does not bear this out, at least in New Jersey:
Poll: No Bush factorMost voters said President Bush was not a factor in their choices Tuesday, according to the survey conducted Tuesday by the AP and its polling partner, Ipsos. The survey was based on interviews with 1,280 adults throughout New Jersey who said they voted in the governor’s election.

So here's what we have. We have Senator Corzine, who's already been elected statewide once as a senator, defeating Douglas Forrester, who's never been elected to anything statewide, in New Jersey, a fairly solidly "blue" state, a state that went for John Kerry by about 7% (53%-46%), a state where voters themselves said it wasn't a referendum on Mr. Bush.

And we have Mr. Kaine winning in Virginia, a "red" state in general, but one that's had a Democratic governor for 4 years, a governor who was very popular as a centrist, and won in 2001 by ... 52%-47%, the same margin as this year. This margin did not carry to other statewide offices, where Republicans won.

Referendum on President Bush and the Republicans? More like voter disinterest. They appear not to have been influenced either for or against these candidates based on national events.

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