American Thinker: Election 2009 Forecasts
November 02, 2009
Election 2009 Forecasts
By Richard Baehr
On Tuesday, there will be special elections in four states: two governorships and two U.S. House seats, all of whose constituencies were won by Barack Obama in 2008. Republicans or Conservative Party candidates are poised to win two or three of the four races, but in each of them, the Democrats will significantly underperform the results from the 2008 elections. While the White House may argue on Wednesday that there is no national meaning to such a result, the extent of the Democrats’ drop-off from 2008 — roughly 15% or more in each race — may be a warning sign for moderate Democrats in the House and Senate wavering in their support of the health care reform bill or the cap and trade bill, both of which were drafted by the more left-wing elements of their caucus.
Virginia governor’s race
Virginia’s governor can serve only one term, so every race is an open-seat race. Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine won the last two gubernatorial races by 5% and 6%, respectively. Democrats also won the last two Old Dominion Senate races with Jim Webb besting incumbent George Allen in 2006 by less than 1% and Mark Warner winning an open seat race by 31% in 2008. Barack Obama won Virginia in 2008 by 7%, the first victory there for a Democrat in the Presidential race since 1964. Democrats also picked up three Virginia Congressional seats in 2008.
It would have been fair to say based on these results that once-red Virginia had become purple, leaning more toward blue than red. But now Republicans are on the eve of a sweeping statewide victory in Virginia. Their candidate for Governor, Robert McDonnell, has opened up a huge lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds of about 14% according to the RCP average of the latest poll results.
Republicans are also leading in other statewide races and are poised to pick up seats in the state legislature. The shift from Democrats to Republicans from 2008 to 2009 in Virginia appears to be over 20% (a 7% Obama win, a 14% McDonnell win). Virginia has been more Republican in presidential election years than in off-year elections prior to 2008. The White House has been of late trying to distance Obama from the race, telling reporters that Deeds ran a poor campaign. But a blowout loss in Virginia is an embarrassment for the White House after their intense and successful organizing effort there in 2008.