Even I didn’t expect him to be the main factor in local races, but here are the numbers for those who did.
Still, majorities of voters in both states (55 percent in Virginia and 60 percent in New Jersey) said President Obama was not a factor in their vote today. Those who said Mr. Obama was a factor in New Jersey divided as to whether their vote was a vote for the president (19 percent) or against him (20 percent). In Virginia, slightly fewer voters said their vote was for Mr. Obama (18 percent) than against him (24 percent).
Among Corzine supporters in New Jersey, 38 percent said one reason for their vote was to express support for Mr. Obama, while 39 percent of Christie voters said it was to express opposition to Mr. Obama.
In Virginia, among backers of the Democratic candidate, Creigh Deeds, 38 percent said their vote was in part to support the president, while 42 percent of McDonnell voters said their vote was in part to oppose the president.
He won by six points in Virginia last year, remember. Two thoughts here. One: You would think that a guy who appeared multiple times on the trail in two states that he carried just a year ago could generate enough excitement that the number who voted to show some support for him would exceed the number who voted to show opposition. But you would be wrong, wouldn’t you? Two: The problem with asking whether Obama was a factor in someone’s vote is that there’s a disconnect between the man himself and his policies. CNN noted it this morning: “The survey suggests that the president’s approval rating remains over 50 percent even though most Americans disapprove of how Obama is handling the economy, health care, Afghanistan, Iraq, unemployment, illegal immigration and the federal budget deficit.” And in fact, in tonight’s exit polls we find this eye-popper:
A majority of voters in both states said they are worried about the direction of the nation’s economy over the next year. 85 percent of Virginia voters said they are worried, as are 90 percent of voters in New Jersey. These percentages were similar on Election Day in 2008.
A year later and no Change. Was that a “factor” in people’s votes tonight? I’m going to guess, since we’re cracking 85 percent on the low end of those who are worried, that it was. Oh, one other polling number from CNN worth noting: The Democrats’ lead on the generic ballot among registered voters is down to six points, the lowest it’s been since 2004. The last poll taken by CNN before the 1994 elections showed the Democrats by three. Perspective.
Update: Economy, economy, economy: 46 percent of Virginians and 31 percent of Jerseyans say it was their most important issue. Recall that Rasmussen found today among likely voters that 45 percent say Obama is now responsible for the state of the economy versus 49 percent for Bush, a trend that’ll get worse for The One with each passing day.
25 percent of Virginians and 18 percent of Jerseyans say their number one issue is ObamaCare.