Thursday, November 10, 2011

Election Results Show Voters Move to More Rational Positions; More Positive for Democrats

Difficult to Forecast a Trend as Local Issues Dominate

The 2011 elections were an interesting group of primarily local issues that many people will try to interpret on a national level.  The Dismal Political Economist focused on four races, and here is what he thinks one can take away from the results.

The election with the most likely national implications was the effort in Ohio to repeal a Republican enacted law that essentially removed collective bargain rights from public employee unions.  The measure to repeal won by a large margin.

Ohioans voted Tuesday night to repeal a Republican-backed law that restricted collective bargaining for public workers, a victory for Democrats and labor organizers both nationally and in the state.

AP has declared Issue 2 (as the law was called on the ballot) dead. As of this writing, with about 75 percent of precincts in, repeal led by a whopping 62 to 38 percent margin.

Look for Conservatives like the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal to place the blame for the loss on the large amount of money spent by labor supporters, supposed mis-information and everything else except the merits of the issue.  However the large margin combined with the publicity and a fair amount of anti-union money in the race can only mean that the public simply did not want Republicans to take away collective bargaining rights from public employees.

Democrats will try to make this a statement for their prospects next November, but the truth is this was a local Ohio issue.  Ohio will be a key state in 2012 and at this time it is a complete tossup, regardless of the vote on union bargaining rights.

The other race with potential national implications was for control of the State Senate in Virginia.  Republicans control the Governorship and Assembly, and winning a majority for the State Senate would have given them control of a key swing state.  As of this moment the issue is undecided and may remain so for some time to come.

When the ballot-counting ended for the night, longtime Spotsylvania incumbent Sen. R. Edward Houck (D) was 86 votes behind Republican challenger Bryce E. Reeves. Absentee ballots have been counted, and an unknown number of provisional ballots will be counted Wednesday.

If Democrats lose that seat Republicans will have won control of the State Senate.  This is not necessarily a bad outcome for Democrats. Given the lack of Democratic party organization, lack of funding, and lack of a cohesive message it is amazing that Democrats in Virginia are even competitive.  The major hope for Democrats in that state, as in many others is that Conservative Republicans will over-reach and Democrats will benefit from the backlash, and a complete Republican control of the state may bring that result.

Either way, Virginia remains a divided state and it will be a divided state that is heavily contested in the 2012 Presidential and Senate races.

In Mississippi a ballot measure asked voters to determine that an embryo was a person.  Voters said no.  This was not an anti anti-abortion vote or an anti-Conservative vote.  It was a vote for common sense and intelligence. 

Finally in Kentucky voters returned the Democratic governor to the statehouse.  This race had no national implications.  Kentucky will be a solid Republican vote in the 2012 election and the race for Governor was solely determined by local issues.  The Dismal Political Economist does not understand Kentucky, but then he really doesn’t need to, does he?

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